Helpful Tips on doing business with Harris County

How do I submit a bid or proposal?
All formal bids and proposals shall be submitted as specified in the solicitation document. It is the vendor's responsibility to assure delivery of their response to a solicitation regardless of the method chosen for delivery. Submissions must be received by Harris County on or before the published date and time contained in the solicitation document. The time and date deadline will be noted in Bonfire of the respective bid or proposal. If delivery in person the Purchasing time stamp shall be the official time of receipt. Bids and proposals received after the designated date and time will be returned unopened and will not be considered for award.
What is the importance of the NIGP Codes and can I change my NIGP Codes after I register?
The NIGP Code is a type of Standard Industry Code (SIC) used by governmental organizations. It is highly recommended that vendors carefully select the NIGP commodity codes that most accurately reflect the commodities and services their company provides. Bid invitations are sent to those bidders and suppliers who have registered the specified NIGP codes on their profile. You may change your NIGP Codes by logging in and going to the area where you maintain your contact information. If you don't find an exact match to the goods that your company supplies, choose the closest NIGP Code or select multiple codes.
Does Harris County always award to the lowest Bidder?

No, Harris County may utilize the following solicitation methods:

  • Invitation for Bid: awarded to the lowest price, responsive and responsible bidder meeting specifications. If a response to an Invitation for Bids is not responsive, responsible or does not meet the minimum specifications, the price offered is irrelevant.
  • Request for Proposal: Awarded to respondent whose offer is in the best requirements of the County based on evaluation criteria contained in the solicitation.
How do I get on your bid list?
The County has a web-based vendor registration system on its E-purchasing website. Vendors must self-register, and registration is free. The County encourages vendors to participate in county solicitation opportunities. However, it is the vendors' responsibility to keep their registration current and it is their responsibility to modify their registration online whenever any changes occur in their commodities or service, address, ownership, or status as a prospective bidder. Failure to respond to a formal solicitation is defined as a lack of response when invited to bid. The County reserves the right to update and validate the bidders' list periodically and may require renewal of applications on file.
How do I get added to an existing contract?
Unless a solicitation is "Open and Continuous", new vendors may only be added to a contract through participation in a formal solicitation and award. If you are registered with Bonfire, and have selected your notification preferences as well as the appropriate commodity code, you will receive notification when a solicitation for those codes is (re)issued.
How do I find out which buyer I should contact?
Please see the "Department Directory" to locate the appropriate buyer who handles your specific commodity.
Can I meet with buyers to discuss my business offerings?
Buyers are available to meet with vendors from 8:00 A.M to 4:30 P.M., Monday through Friday.  Appointments are required.  
Do you always issue an award?
The County reserves the right to reject or cancel any or all bids or proposals for any reason. The County may or may not reissue bids or proposals if all responses are rejected.
What is the rule on personal gifts from vendors?
Office of the Purchasing Agent employees may not accept gifts, services or gratuities from vendors or potential vendors.