This guide is to explain how vendors may participate in the market created by the needs of Escambia County, Florida. The demand for goods and services generated by Escambia County government results in a continual need for a wide variety of items. Chances are, Escambia County government will be in the market for the item you sell.
The Office of Purchasing hopes this guide will help you become acquainted with its policies and procedures for procurement and help you present your product to Escambia County. The content of this information is intended to serve as a very general guide. However, if your question is not covered in this guide, do not hesitate to call the Office of Purchasing to receive an answer.
How Does Escambia Purchase Goods and Services?
All competitive purchases are normally purchased on the basis of written detailed specifications. These specifications are advertised in the local newspapers with notices sent to all prospective bidders on the vendors list for that particular commodity. These bids are known as "formal sealed bids." Formal sealed bids are opened publicly at a specified time and place. These purchases are $50,000 or more or involve a term contract.
Formal quotations are obtained in writing and do not require the formal solicitation process. These purchases are under $50,000 but over $1,000. You will be given written specifications to determine your bid price. Your written response is then used to determine the lowest, most responsive and responsible bidder.
In some cases, purchases between $1,000 and $50,000 may be handled by telephone quotes. The date, telephone number and the name of the person giving the quote are recorded and made a part of the file. A minimum of three quotes are required for each purchase.
Emergency purchases are sometimes necessary due to the breakdown of equipment or other unforeseen event which may affect the operation of the county. When this happens, the using department is issued an emergency purchase order to allow it to proceed with the necessary action for the emergency.
As a vendor, and for your protection, you should always make certain that a written purchase order or a purchase order number has been issued to your firm prior to delivery of materials or services.
Small Business Enterprise Initiative
Escambia County adopted a Small Business Enterprise Ordinance in July 2014 to establish a Small Business Enterprise program with the purpose and intent of providing the maximum opportunity for increased participation of qualified small businesses in the county’s procurement processes. Information on the SBE Initiative and application form are available here.
The Office of Purchasing maintains a vendor list by specific category. Business firms on the vendor list are notified that formal quotations or formal sealed bids are being solicited for a commodity in which they may be interested. To have your firm's name placed on the vendor list, tell us by mail, in person, by telephone, or online via the vendor form. The office will need your name, address, telephone number and the type of commodity you sell.
The first step to do business with Escambia County is to become a registered vendor. The Office of Purchasing conducts a two-step registration process. Vendor registration requests basic information about your business that the Office of Purchasing must have on file. You are also asked to provide a written description of the goods and services you can supply, which will be reviewed by the purchasing staff in order to identify the appropriate commodity class listings to send you in the second phase of the registration process.
Fill out the Vendor Registration Form online. Please fill out entirely, or it cannot be processed.
The second part of vendor registration will be an assignment of the five-digit commodity codes within the commodity classes identified by the purchasing staff. You will then have the opportunity to select the specific commodity codes for registration based on the goods and services you provide. Since the vendor notification system utilized by the Office of Purchasing is commodity-driven, the selection of the correct commodity codes is extremely important. View a list of commodity codes and commodity class items here.
Changes in Vendor Information
It is your responsibility to contact the Office of Purchasing with subsequent changes to be made to your vendor file, such as company name, address or the goods and services you are able to provide. Requested changes must be stated in writing and provided on official company letterhead. Bids received with a different address than that on file will not be considered an official change.
The county has adopted the Visa Purchasing Card Program, which allows the cardholder to purchase approved commodities and services directly from the vendor that accepts the Visa card.
The Visa Purchasing Card may be utilized for single purchase transactions (not to exceed $999.99).
Where is the Office of Purchasing located?
All purchasing is handled through the Office of Purchasing, located at 213 Palafox Place, in the Matt Langley Bell, III Building next to the Old Court House Building in downtown Pensacola.
Specifications for formal sealed bids, formal quotations and informal written quotations may be picked up in the Office of Purchasing, or we will be happy to mail them to you. Business hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday. Your visit is welcome; it gives us a chance to learn about your service or product and an opportunity to direct you to departments that may be interested in purchasing your products or services.
Escambia County encourages the participation of local vendors.
Qualifications of Bidders
Qualifications of bidders are not reviewed prior to placement on the bidder list, and placement on the mailing list does not mean that the Office of Purchasing considers your firm to be a responsible bidder.
The Office of Purchasing, together with the using department, determines the necessary qualifications of bidders for each project, and vendor responsibility is reviewed on a bid by bid basis.
Where to Find Bid Information
You may learn of an invitation for bid or request for proposal from the advertisement in the Pensacola News Journal, from trade associations or bid reporting services.
A listing of our invitations for bid and requests for proposal are updated as required on this site. Addenda to our invitations for bid and requests for proposal are added as they occur. Notification of posted awards and master term contracts are updated as they occur. Open solicitations, awarded solicitations and continuing contracts can be found on this site.
The bid opening is public, and we invite the public and those who have submitted bids to be present. This permits those who have entered bids to become better acquainted with our policies and procedures. The bids are read aloud and are available for public inspection.
The county is exempt from taxes imposed by state or federal government. Tax exempt numbers are on the face of each purchase order.
Shipping Point and Delivery
All Escambia County purchases are F.O.B. Destination to a designated delivery point assigned on the purchase order. The P.O. number should appear on the shipping or delivery ticket and on packages or containers.
Code of Ethics
County employees may not accept personal gratuities from the private sector or associate with the vendor for personal gain.