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Doing Business with the City

Chattanooga Purchasing Division

Frequently Asked Questions

How does the City of Chattanooga do business? This is primarily determined based upon the amount of the purchase:

  • Under $1,000, the City Departments are able to use the City Purchase Card for certain purchases.
  • $1,000 and $25,000-the City obtains (3) comparative quotes.
  • Over $25,000-the City publishes a solicitation document on its website. Vendors submit sealed responses, at a designated day and time.
  • To learn more about the types of processes used by the City, please select "Purchasing Manual".

Vendor Registration

  • How do I register as a Vendor? Select "Vendor Registration" on the Purchasing Website.
  • Do I have to register with the City, in order to bid? No. However, registration is recommended, so that you may be notified of opportunities that may match what your business is able to provide.

How can I market to the City?

  • Please schedule an appointment with the Purchasing Division-select "Vendor Assistance".

What are Vendor Responsibilities?

  • Professionally communicate directly with the Purchasing Division.
  • Follow all the procedural direction of the Purchasing Division.
  • Proactively engage with the City by (1) Register as a Vendor-complete all requested information  (2) Obtain any needed process education, and follow all process steps (3) Ask any clarification questions, if you can't find the answer.

How can I learn more about the bidding/solicitation process?

  • Select "Purchasing Manual" on the Purchasing website. The Manual includes definitions of procurement terms.
  • Schedule "Vendor Assistance" Purchasing is available to explain the process and documents with Vendors, but may not assist with the actual solicitation completion.
  • Review Vendor educational resources and attend informational events by reviewing the Purchasing website for future updates and going to Connect with Chattanooga.

Where Can I find current public solicitations?

  • Select "Bids and Solicitations" on the Purchasing website.

What can a vendor expect at a Pre-Bid meeting?

  • The purpose of the meeting is to review the procedure and specifications for the specific bid or solicitation.
  • Vendors are able to ask clarification questions.
  • Not all bids and solicitations have a pre-bid meeting, and attendance is not mandatory, unless specified.

How does the City Select a winner of a contract?

  • Quote or Bid- (1) The City first determines the lowest bid that is able to meet the minimum specified requirements that are stated by the City (specifications). (2) The City is then able to incorporate any Best Value factor that is specifically in the best interests of the City of Chattanooga.
  • Request for Proposal (RFP) or Request for Qualifications (RFQ)- The solicitation document will list the evaluation criteria that is relevant, for the particular item.

What if I respond to a solicitation, and am not satisfied with an award recommendation?

  • Vendors must only communicate with the Purchasing Division, through contract award.
  • If the responder is not satisfied with the Purchasing Division recommendation, its recourse is to initiate a Bid Protest procedure, within (7) days of the letter of award recommendation. (See documentation required in "Purchasing Manual")
  • Vendors must not make frivolous use of the Protest process, or that which lacks merit or is filed with the apparent purpose to disrupt the procurement process.

Current City Contracts

  • Access the Blanket Contract List by selecting "Award Information" on the Purchasing website.
  • Typical contract length-one (1) year with two (2) optional one-year renewals.
  • Award is only an estimate of use, not a guarantee.
  • Contract Document Review-Schedule appointment with Purchasing. No photocopies or pictures are allowed (please see Open Records).

What resources are available to Diverse Business Enterprise vendors (DBE)?

  • The City has an Internal DBE Certification process, regularly conducts educational opportunities, and may refer vendors to other supportive community resources.
  • City of Chattanooga Supplier Diversity
  • At this time, the City is not able to incorporate DBE status into the evaluation of contract awards.

City of Chattanooga-Open Records Request

  • Obtain a copy of Purchasing Documents, through the City Attorney's Office by placing a TN Open Records at Office of the City Attorney
  • Responding vendors should be mindful that all documentation submitted may be subject to open records, upon award recommendation.


Photo by Billy Weeks