Bidding Process Information

Governing Law

The City of Boston’s bid processes are governed by the procurement laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and Boston’s City Charter.

Procurement of goods and services at or above $10,000 but less than $35,000 may be done through a written quote process in which the City of Boston Buyer solicits documented quotations from at least three suppliers. Procurements under $35,000 will not require a standard contract.

As outlined by Massachusetts procurement law, procurements that are valued at or above $35,000 must generally be publicly advertised and require a City of Boston standard contract

Types of Bid Events

With the exception of specialized unadvertised contracts, all City of Boston procurement is driven through public bidding. The City of Boston utilizes a variety of bid events to procure goods and services from its suppliers. 

Invitation for Bids or RFx bid events must be awarded to the lowest bid received from a responsive and responsible bidder. The Chief Procurement Officer (CPO) may delegate authority to utilize the Request for Proposal process when the selection of the most advantageous offer requires comparative judgments of factors in addition to the bid price.

Request for Proposal when the Chief Procurement Officer shall determine the most advantageous proposal from the repsponsible and responsive offeror taking into consideration price and the evaluation criteria set forth in the Request for Proposal.  RFPs require the submission of a technical proposal to be separate from a pricing proposal. In the manual bidding process, bidders accomplish this separation of components by submitting two separate sealed envelopes, one containing the technical proposal and one detailing the bid price. Those who submit a bid using the online bidding process will only need to create a single bid response. However, the City assures that price proposals will continue to be evaluated only after all technical proposals have been analyzed.

Request for Information events may be used to perform information gathering to drive business decisions, or to help define a future RFx or RFP event. Business cannot be awarded to a vendor directly based on a Request for Information submission.

Unadvertised Bids are authorized for any good or service that is procured during an emergency situation, where a warranty will be lost if the vendor with whom the City is currently doing business is changed, or if the vendor selected is the sole source of a good or service.

City of Boston Bidding Process

The City Record is the official and comprehensive repository of all bids advertised by the City of Boston. Other governmental bodies, such as MBTA, BPHC, and BWSC may also use the City Record to advertise bids. The City Record is published on Monday of each week and contains all bids that will be available for bid during the upcoming week. Links to an electronic version of The City Record, as well as a searchable listing of all bids published, are accessible from the City of Boston Procurement page. 


The City of Boston is excited to provide the online bidding and contracting to suppliers. The time and cost savings are expected to be mutually beneficial to both parties.  Bid event packets will be published as a .PDF format which is viewable with free downloadable Adobe Reader software.  While the City of Boston encourages all bidders and vendors to utilize the technology, bidders will always have the opportunity to submit a paper response through mail or in person.
Suppliers who use the online bidding process will register on the Supplier Portal to receive a user name and password. Suppliers may also self-categorize by selecting the categories of procurement for which they are interested in receiving solicitations from the City. This will result in a notification each time a related bid is posted. The supplier may login to the Supplier Portal to view open events and submit a bid on behalf of their company.

Once the bid submission deadline has elapsed and a bidder has been selected for an event, an award will be made either to a Purchase Order or Contract. Both the winning bidder and the non-winning bidder(s) will receive an email notification of the outcome of the event. Once the Contract Document has been finalized, the vendor will receive a notification that the document can be viewed and electronically signed from the Supplier Portal. Purchase Orders will be dispatched to vendors via email at the vendor’s request.


Some City of Boston procurement opportunities will only be conducted through a paper process. These will not be available for response on the Supplier Portal. At the bidder’s request, the City will continue to issue manual, or paper, bid packets for all procurement activities, even those that are available for online bidding.

The City may also print out copies of the bid packet for distribution. A supplier may contact the City for more information on how to retrieve the bid information online or stop by the department to pick up a copy of the bid packet. The Non-Electronic Bids page may contain bids that City departments have made available for download in PDF format.

Since bid opportunities may or may not be posted electronically, suppliers should diligently check the City Record for a listing of all open bids.


Online bids and paper bids are both subject to the same guidelines, legal requirements, and deadlines.

The method of bid submission will not affect the chance of being awarded business with the City of Boston. All bid events will be awarded to the lowest priced bid received from a responsive and responsible bidder. In the case of a Request for Proposal, the Chief Procurement Officer shall determine the most advantageous proposal from the responsible and responsive offeror taking into consideration price and the evaluation criteria set forth in the RFP.