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Department of Finance

  • Doing Business with the City

    The City's Purchasing division has both formal and informal procurement procedures. Informal procedures are used when the City makes purchases less than $25,000 and formal procedures are used when purchases exceed $25,000.

    Formal Procedures

    There are two types of formal procedures: Competitive Bidding and Competitive Selection.

    Competitive Bidding is used to procure labor, materials and supplies in excess of $25,000. The major features of Competitive Bidding include:

    • Use of Specifications which include standard "boilerplate" & technical requirements
    • Contract award is based on lowest RESPONSIVE & RESPONSIBLE Bidder 
    • Bid Security usually in the amount of 5% of the bid price is required 
    • 1% Local Pasadena preference for Material & Supply purchases 
    • No negotiation of contract terms is permitted 
    • City Council approval is required if the contract is greater than $75,000 
    • Contractor may be required to provide Performance and/or Payment Bonds 
    • General liability and workers’ compensation insurance may be required

    Competitive Selection is used for professional or unique service in excess of $25,000. The major features of Competitive Selection include:

    • Use of Request for Proposals/Request for Qualifications 
    • Contract award is based on a variety of factors e.g. experience of firm, experience of project team, references, price 
    • 5% Local Pasadena preference 
    • 5% Small/Micro business preference* 
    • Negotiation of contract terms is permitted 
    • City Council approval is required if the contract is greater than $75,000 
    • Professional Errors & Omissions Insurance as well as general liability and workers’ compensation insurance may be required.

    *Proposers that have been certified by the State of California as a small or micro-business shall receive a 5% preference. Vendors can apply for certification as a small/micro business by obtaining an application on the State of California, Department of General Service's website, www.dgs.ca.gov/pd. The City of Pasadena only accepts small business certifications from the State of California. Proposers must provide evidence of certification from the State if claiming such preference.

    Informal Procedures

    Informal procedures are used whenever the City contracts for labor, materials, supplies or services less than $25,000. 

    • Informal quotations obtained via phone, fax, e-mail or through our electronic bidding system. For purchases less than $3,000 only one quote is required. Three quotes are required for purchases between $3,000 and $25,000. 
    • Selection may be based on criteria other than price 
    • 5% Local Pasadena preference 
    • 5% Small/Micro business preference 
    • General liability and workers’ compensation insurance may be required

    The city has two ways of handling informal purchases, either through the issuance of a purchase order or with a city purchasing card.

    Purchase orders are approved and issued by the Purchasing Division. Each purchase order indicates what is being purchased, the price and terms and conditions. For purchase orders, the standard payment terms are net 30.

    Purchasing cards work just like a MasterCard® credit card. However, certain dollar limits and merchant category restrictions apply. There are a significant number of purchasing cards in use by city staff.

    How to introduce your product or service

    The first place to start is with the Purchasing Division. Staff is available to explain the City’s purchasing procedures as well as to assist in getting you on the vendor list. Often times, you will be provided names and telephone numbers of people in the various city departments who utilize your specific goods or services.

    How to find out about bid opportunities

    The Purchasing website lists upcoming and current bids for contracts in excess of $25,000. The city makes so many purchases less than $25,000 that the best way to find out about these purchases is to remain in contact with the Purchasing office and the various user departments.