Bidding 101

Understanding the Bidding Process

If you are a business that wants to sell your products or services to New York State you need to go through a competitive bidding process to show you either have the lowest price or that your product or service is the best value. Here’s some simple things you need to know about the bidding process.



Seven Tips for a Successful Bid

Successful bids include the following elements:

  1. Participation in activities seeking bidder input like Requests for Information (RFI), Requests for Comment (RFC), and pre-bid conferences.
  2. Paying close attention to mandatory vs. optional requirements in the solicitation.
  3. Carefully reviewing specifications, bid packaging, delivery instructions, and the calendar of events.
  4. Actively looking for solicitation updates and amendments.
  5. Not waiting until the last minute.
  6. When in doubt, reaching out directly to designated solicitation contacts. 
  7. Post-bid submission, participating in bidder debriefings.

Evaluating Responsible and Responsive Businesses

To do business with the State you must be able to demonstrate your ability to provide the goods and services before a contract is awarded. You must be responsive to all bid requirements and maintain responsibility throughout the term of the agreement. To make this determination, Procurement Services uses the CLIP review:


Procurement Services considers a responsible and responsive bidder to be a business that has the skill, judgment and integrity, and that is found to be competent, reliable, experienced and qualified financially. A responsive bidder is a bidder whose offer meets the specifications or requirements provided in the bid document or solicitation.

All state bid opportunities are posted on the New York State Contract Reporter. New opportunities are posted every day by government organizations. State agencies are required to post all their bids and most local governments in New York are as well.
After finding a bid you may be interested in, you need to decide if you want to bid yourself, or if you want to become a partner instead. Some bids are written to encourage subcontracting or joint partnership opportunities between businesses. Subcontracting is when you do business with an organization who already has a contract, while partnering together with another business to respond to a bid is called joint partnering. Keep in mind too that for Minority and Women-Owned Enterprise businesses and Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned businesses, there are certifications and resources available to you to help make your bid response more competitive.
Before bid requests are even submitted, there are often activities that may take place that businesses must participate in. Some of these are mandatory so make sure to read the bid carefully. These activities may include:

• Pre-bid conferences
• Request for Comment (RFC), Request for Information (RFI), or Request for Quote/Qualifications (RFQ)
• Notice of Intent (NOI) or Invitation/Intent to Bid (ITB)

All of these are different depending on the type of bid and should be explained in the bid notification. Failure to participate in mandatory activities may result in disqualification of your bid.
The following are examples of common bidder mistakes to avoid:

• Late bids, missing forms, or no price information
• Blank USB drives or CDs
• Failing to follow directions by providing the wrong number of copies, improper labeling or using the wrong version of the bid documents
• Failing to provide the required certification.
Actively participating in the bid evaluation process is being a responsive bidder. The bid evaluation process can involve a variety of procurement tools and techniques including:

• Interviews
• Reference checks
• Product or service demonstrations
• Requests for clarifications

Contract awards are generally made on the basis of lowest price for commodities or best value for services. In situations where none of the bid submissions met their needs, a government entity may also choose not to award a contract.
Following the bid opening a decision will be made to either award or not award the contract based on the responses received. The final decision is typically provided to each business who submitted a bid. After that a bid debriefing provides you with an opportunity to discuss what you did well and what you need to work on for your bids. If your business is selected, there’s a few additional steps before the contract is awarded:

• Contract negotiations
• Drafting and reviewing the contract
• Completion of various administrative forms

For state agency contracts, you will also need to obtain a vendor ID in order to sign up for receiving payments through the Statewide Financial System (please see below).
Additional Information for Bidding on State Contracts

Administrative & Policy Requirements

To successfully bid on a state contract there are several legislative and administrative requirements that must be followed. OGS Procurement Services has developed a guide to provide you with the information you need. 

Understanding the Restricted Period

Procurement lobbying laws in New York say that the period of time between when a contract solicitation begins and the contract is awarded or the decision to not pursue an award is made, the Office of General Services (OGS) Procurement Services staff, other than the designated contact, cannot discuss the contract with you. This is often called the restricted period. A complete listing of bids currently in the restricted period can be found on our website on the Restricted Periods page.

Obtaining a Vendor Identification & Registering with the VendRep System

Before being awarded a contract, your businesses must have a ten digit vendor identification number from the Office of the State Comptroller. We will work with OSC to get this on your behalf, but in order to do so we need you to complete the OSC Substitute W-9 form that must be returned to OGS Procurement Services staff.   

Once you have your vendor identification number you can go online to complete your Vendor Responsibility Questionnaire by registering with the VendRep System to ensure that your business evaluated fairly during the competitive bidding process.

Dispute Resolution

Should you have complaints, inquiries or want to dispute solicitations, contract awards or contract administration a formal policy has been developed for you to follow. OGS Procurement Services encourages you to seek informal resolution before submitting a formal dispute by speaking with the Contract Manager listed on the contract page.