Frequently Asked Questions about the Purchasing process


  • What is the Difference between a bid and a proposal?
    Bids, known as competitively sealed bids or Invitation for Bid (IFB), refer to a contracting method in which sealed bids are publicly solicited, opened, and a contract is awarded based on price to the lowest responsive and responsible bidder. Proposals refer to a contracting method in which a solicitation is made through a Request for Proposal (RFP), and between receipt of proposals and award, discussions with vendors may take lace, which may result in price changes.
  • Where can I locate bid documents for Purchasing opportunities?
    Depending on the opportunity type, the Invitation for Bid or RFP may be available for download on the Purchasing website. If not, you will find contact information for the buyer assigned to that particular opportunity, who can provide the necessary documents.
  • How do I submit a bid?
    Advertised sealed bids must be received and are opened publicly on the date and time of the bid opening as stated in each bid. Bids must be delivered to:

    Suite 324, City Hall, 101 North Main Street, Winston-Salem, NC 27101

    Vendors must submit their bid to the City of Winston-Salem no later than the date that the bid opens. It is the bidder’s responsibility to ensure that the bid is submitted in a timely manner and received in the Purchasing Department prior to the bid opening. If the bid is sent by courier or mailed it is recommended that the bid be sent early. It is recommended that the bid arrive at least one business day before the bid opens to ensure timely receipt.
  • What is the basis for award on bid opportunities?
    Bids are awarded to the lowest responsive, responsible bidder. The Purchasing Department, in their sole discretion, may reject all Bids, if deemed in the best interests of the city. The Purchasing Department determines the responsiveness of potential bidders by reviewing the submitted bid documents to ensure compliance with bid requirements. Additionally, a bidder’s responisbility may be determined prior to the bid opening through a prequalification process. For opportunities that are issued as a Request for Proposal (“RFP”), the award may be based upon other criteria and not solely based upon prices. The selection criteria are detailed in the RFP, and may include such things as a respondent’s past experience or financial capacity.
  • What were the results of a particular bid?
    You will be able to find most bid results on the Purchasing website shortly after the bids for that project are opened. If you do not find the particular information you are seeking, you should contact the buyer assigned to the project.
  • Can you explain the meaning of M/WBE? HUB?
    M/WBE refers to Minority and Women’s Business Enterprises.North Carolina State Law (G.S. 143-128.2) requires public agencies including local governments to carry out programs to promote the use of M/WBE’s in building construction and repair projects. These goals or good faith efforts requirements apply to projects where total costs exceed $100,000 funded by state grants or appropriations, or $300,000 for projects using local funds. Projects in the informal bid range ($30,000 to $500,000) are subject to less stringent requirements under G.S. 1143-131(b) to promote M/WBE participation but the City of Winston-Salem strongly encourages all contractors and vendors to utilize M/WBE vendors whenever possible. The HUB office is a state organziation that advocates actions which increase opportunities for Historically Underutilized Businesses and promotes diversity and inclusion in state and local government.
  • Am I required to attend pre-bid meetings for a project?
    This will vary from bid to bid, depending upon the type of project and whether or not the city determines that bidders will need to have information prior to formulating a bid regarding the scope of work or conditions at a job site. Pre-bid requirements will ALWAYS be included with a bid package if indeed a pre-bid is scheduled to be a part of the process.
  • How many days do I have to return a contract if awarded a project?
    The city requests that contractors return signed contracts and other necessary documents no later than 10 days after receipt from the Purchasing Department.As a rule of thumb, however, contractors or vendors should always try to return the documents in as timely a manner as possible. In some cases, time may be of the essence with regard to execution of contracts and purchased orders, in which case there will be a notice to that effect when documents are sent to the vendor for execution.

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