City bid opportunities are published on two internet bid distribution networks.

We do not maintain an in-house bidders’ list and will not send bid notices or documents by mail or fax. To make sure you receive future bid or quote opportunities, subscribe to one or both bid networks.

State of Wisconsin VendorNet System

State of Wisconsin and local agencies bid network. Registration is free.

DemandStar by Onvia

National bid network – Free subscription is available to access proposals from the City of Madison and other Wisconsin agencies participating in the Wisconsin Association of Public Purchasers (WAPP). A fee is required if subscribing to multiple agencies that are not included in WAPP.

Fair and Open Competition

The City of Madison provides all vendors fair and equal opportunities to compete in the procurement process. Product specifications are designed to be nonrestrictive and compatible with standard trade practices.

Bid Thresholds

  • Under $10,000
    Best value judgment is used to purchase low dollar commodities and services
  • Between $10,000 and $49,999
    Quotes are obtained from a minimum of three (3) vendors.
  • $50,000 and up
    Formal sealed bids or proposals are obtained on all purchases for goods and services. Bids and proposals will be posted on DemandStar and VendorNet.

Purchase Methods

  • Request for Proposals
    The City uses Requests for Proposals (RFPs) in situations where price is not the only important variable; quality, schedule, project design, and service may be variables of equal or greater importance. RFPs are most often used for purchases of services greater than $50,000. Vendor proposals are evaluated by panels made up of City staff and outside experts. Vendors may be asked to present their proposal or participate in an interview with the evaluation panel.
  • Request for Bids
    The City uses Requests for Bids (RFBs) in situations where price is the determining factor as long as all specifications are met. RFBs are typically used for purchasing goods and/or services for which the City has a clearly defined scope of work.
  • Request for Quotes
    The City uses Requests for Quotes (RFQs) for commonly available goods with exact specifications where price will be the deciding factor.
  • Informal Bids / Quotes
    Informal bids are managed by the procuring Agency. Agency staff will invite vendors to bid on specific goods or services when the total amount is less than $50,000. These bids are not posted on Vendornet or DemandStar.
  • Cooperative Purchasing Agreements
    The City utilizes available state, university, federal, and national cooperative contracts at its discretion. All contracts must have been competitively bid.
  • Sole Source Negotiation
    Also called noncompetitive negotiation, this method may be used when competition does not exist or would not be in the best interests of the City, for example scientific equipment manufactured by only one vendor.
  • Purchasing Card
    The Purchasing Card (credit card) is a tool for agency employees to make low-dollar purchases (typically under $5,000) for official agency business needs. It allows for a faster and more efficient process of purchasing supplies.

Criteria & Awards

The City will award a bid to the vendor whose bid is most advantageous to the City. In determining the most advantageous bid, the City will consider criteria such as, but not limited to:

  • Cost
  • Quality
  • Expertise
  • Compatibility
  • Standardization
  • Major and minor exceptions to our specifications
  • Superior design features
  • Warranty
  • Delivery
  • Past experience
  • Installation
  • Discount
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Bidder’s past performance or service reputation
  • Service capability

The City may opt to establish alternate selection criteria to protect its best interest or meet performance or operational standards.

Bid Summaries

Purchasing Services will post bid summaries on DemandStar and Vendornet within a reasonable time after the bid opening. Please check the DemandStar and Vendornet websites for bid summaries and award information.

Key Points to Remember

  • City agencies are the principal decision makers. City Purchasing Services helps to facilitate the processes.
  • Read the solicitation for bid carefully, and ensure your firm can comply with all of the requirements before bidding.
  • The City will not consider illegible proposals.
  • Elaborate proposals (i.e., expensive artwork) beyond that sufficient to present a complete and effective proposal, are not necessary or desired.
  • Assisting a procuring agency in determining needs or providing specifications will not be considered a factor in final supplier selection.