Overview of the Contracting Process

Contract Administration Sections

  • Construction & Engineering
  • Goods and Services
  • Professional Services, Information Systems & Services
  • Airports, Aviation & Airport Construction

Whom the City Buys From

The City of Chicago buys from any technically and financially responsible business entity, and practices equal opportunity/affirmative action in all areas of the marketplace.  The Department of Procurement Services is specifically targeted to manufacturers, dealers, sales agents, and any technically and financially responsible businesses.

  • The City does NOT have a preferred vendors list.
  • Vendors do NOT need to be pre-registered or register with the City to submit a bid or proposal.


Four laws help business people understand the role and responsibilities of the Department of Procurement Services:

  • The Municipal Purchasing Act, 65 ILCS 5/8--10-1, et seq.
  • The Municipal Code of Chicago, Chapter 2-92
  • The McLaughlin Ordinance, Sections 2--92--330 and 2--92--390
  • The Chicago Residency Ordinance, Sections 2--92--330

Types of Solicitations

The City buys goods and services in the following ways:

  • Formal Competitive.  Contracts with a value of greater than $100,000 must be let by free and open competitive sealed bidding or competitive negotiation after public advertisement.  Any financially responsible company can bid on a contract.
  • Informal Competitive.  Contracts valued at less than $100,000 are solicited by mail, fax and/or web posting.  Bid Solicitations are made without public advertisement.  They are subject to the same terms and conditions as Formal Solicitations.  Any financially responsible company can bid on a contract.
  • Non-Competitive Procurement.  Per the Illinois Municipal Purchasing Act 65 ILCS 5/8-10-4, non-competitive procurement is a method to procure goods and services which by their nature are not adapted to competitive bidding as specified in the Illinois Municipal Purchasing Act.  A non-competitive procurement can be for, but not limited to, patent or copyright restrictions; exclusive or unique capabilities; highly specialized skill, qualifications or technical expertise; or single source.
  • Emergency.  Per the Chicago Municipal Code and Illinois Municipal Purchasing Act, Chapter 65, Section 5/8-10, emergency contracts that are awarded to meet a bona fide City emergency need, and do not exceed $500,000, are solicited without public advertisement or competitive bidding.

Sister Agency Procurements

The City of Chicago Department of Procurement Services does NOT procure goods and services for Sister Agencies.  We recommend you visit the Sister Agencies for complete details on their procurement and business procedures.


Contracting Process

The Specification

A specification is a formal statement of our needs.  The specifications contain the description of the goods and/or services the City desires to purchases.  If revisions or clarifications to a specification are required, the Department will prepare an addendum, which will be sent to all bidders who are listed on the bid take out list.  The bid take out list contains those firms that have picked up the specifications prior to the issuance of the addendum.  A cancellation of a bid is also issued to those firms on the bid take out list.

The Bid Proposal

Your next step is to complete your bid or proposal.  The bid/proposal is your offer on items or services requested.  Be sure your proposal is correct and that it is signed and notarized in all of the appropriate places.  You must also be sure that all other signatures have been notarized where required.

The complete bid or proposal must be submitted to the Department of Procurement Services before the date and time specified.  If a bid deposit is required, it must be in the form of a cashier’s check or money order.  NO CASH IS ACCEPTED.

The public is invited to view all bid/proposal openings.  All proposals received will be reviewed and tabulated by the Contract Administration Division and are subject to correction.

Notice of Acceptance of Bid Proposal

The successful bidder/proposer will receive notice of an acceptance of the bid/proposal.  On formal bid contracts, an acceptance notice is issued within sixty (60) days or ninety (90) days when federal or state funds are involved.  Additional time may be requested by the City in order to evaluate all bids/proposals