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Invitations to Bid

Learn the different ways we solicit bids to work with us, and how you can find out about new invitations to bid.

Our Office of Contract Management (OCM) is responsible for determining how our partners will be selected for service contracts.

Competitive Processes

Most of the time, our service providers are selected through competitive procurement procedures. Announcements of contract opportunities are made available to the public to ensure a fair opportunity to all interested parties to competitively bid on the contract. Bids are:

  • Posted on the City of San Francisco contracts website
  • Published in the newspaper
  • Emailed to current vendors, former bidders, potential bidders, and Local Business Enterprise (LBE) vendors that may have an interest in the contract services
  • Sent to unions representing City and County of San Francisco
  • Made available for pickup at the OCM office on the day of issue

The two most commonly used procurement methods are: Request for Proposal (RFP) and Request for Qualification (RFQ).

Request for Proposals (RFP)

A Request for Proposals (RFP) is an open and equitable bid competition which allows HSA to select amongst a variety of proposals. The RFP announcement includes all of the relevant information you need to apply, including: the scope of work and deliverables for which we are seeking outside help; the minimum qualifications required to be considered for the work; the evaluation criteria and appeal process; and the details on how and when to submit your proposal.

Selection is based on criteria developed to measure the strengths of the proposals. Program design, delivery of services, background and experiences of the respondents, and the project budget must all be included in the response package and are important factors for selection. Price is a factor but not the sole basis for selection.

Request for Qualification (RFQ)

Much like an RFP, a Request for Qualification (RFQ) is an open and equitable competition, but within a pool of specialized providers. The RFQ process determines whether a person/agency is qualified to perform specific services for which HSA needs outside expertise. Selection is made based on the person/agency’s qualifications and experience to perform those services.

Unlike an RFP, pricing may not be included in an RFQ response. HSA will negotiate the pricing and terms with the most qualified respondent or pool of respondents. Evaluation criteria may not be included in the published RFQ, but is used internally for determination of the most qualified respondent.

Sole Source

When the award of the contract is infeasible for competitive bid, noncompetitive awards through Sole Source may be applied.

Sole Source is an exception to the competitive bid process, and must meet the following criteria:

  1. The service is only available from a single source.
  2. There is a public urgency or emergency that will not permit a delay resulting from competitive solicitation.