Contracting basics for suppliers

Get a basic overview of the City's contracting process and learn what types of contracts we award.

Solicitation methods

The City generally must procure goods and services through a competitive procurement, or solicitation.

Competitive solicitations can take a variety of forms. The three most common are:

  • Low Bid
  • Request for Proposal (RFP)
  • Request for Qualification (RFQ)

Interested businesses should respond to the document by following the solicitation's instructions.

Contract categories

Although the City's needs vary, contracts with the City and County of San Francisco fall into 1 of 5 general categories:

  • Commodities
  • Construction
  • General Services
  • Professional Services
  • Grants

Award types

One-Time Purchase Orders

One-time purchase orders are for purchases of a set amount of goods or general services. City departments may issue purchase orders directly for up to $10,000 (including tax and shipping).

Citywide Term Contracts

We use citywide term contracts issued by the Office of Contract Administration (OCA) when one or more departments need to buy a large volume of products or services. Term Contracts can last anywhere from three to seven years. Examples include: fuel, office supplies, and janitorial services.

Departmental Contracts

A departmental contract is generally issued by a department for services that are considered professional in nature. Examples include: software solutions, engineering services, and medical services.

Last updated March 6, 2023