Doing Business With Lee County
Board of County Commissioners
The purpose of this guide is to explain the purchasing process by which the Division of Procurement and the County's delegated purchasing agents supply needed commodities and services to county departments and divisions.
It is the intent of the County to procure the necessary equipment and services at the lowest possible cost, consistent with the quality needed to meet the requirements of government. In addition, we want to ensure that the taxpayers receive the maximum value for each dollar expended. Every purchase should be made in the public's interest and provide all vendors a fair and equal opportunity to compete.
It is requested that all vendors stop by the Division of Procurement prior to meeting with Lee County personnel regardless of the product. We welcome your visit to our office since we need to stay current regarding new product lines and items and we can also direct you to the department that could benefit from your products. It is preferable to make an appointment in advance of your visit to ensure that you receive as much time as required.
How Do Vendors Find Out About Quotes?
Advertised in the Ft. Myers News-Press (when applicable) - all Formal Projects are advertised on Fridays
New Projects are posted to our web site on Fridays
Or click here for Quote/Proposal Information
A listing of vendors, classified according to materials, supplies, and services, is maintained by the Division of Procurement. A prospective vendor interested in doing business with the County will need to fill out an Vendor/Bidder/Consultant application found on our webpage. Upon return of a properly completed application (including a completed and signed W-9 Form), the vendor will be added to the bidders list under categories selected on the application. Currently the formal level is over $100,000.00.
Gifts and Gratuities
County policy prohibits acceptance of gifts at any time, other than advertising novelties. Employees must not become obligated to any supplier and shall not participate in any County transaction from which they will benefit directly or indirectly.
Types and Methods of Purchasing
Fair and Open Competition:
The Lee County Board of County Commissioners promotes free and open competition through its bid specifications. In addition, the County strives to design specifications for compatibility with standard trade practices and to use procedures in accordance with the law and prudent business practice. Potential bidders are encouraged to advise the County - Division of Procurement if they feel any language and/or requirement of a specification inadvertently restricts or limits competition; or if, in their judgment, specifications do not comply with standard trade practices or impose an impractical or unreasonable procedural burden.
Informal Quotes ($50,001 - $100K) - Procurement at this dollar level may be processed via one of the following two methodologies:
Informal Telephone Quotes:
Goods or services may be purchased through informal telephone quotes. Informal telephone quotes will be taken by Procurement staff. For this process, a minimum of three vendors will be contacted, given specific information as to the item or service sought, and asked for pricing and delivery time. The purchase order will be issued to the vendor offering the lowest price while meeting all specified requirements.
Informal Written Quotes:
Goods or services may be procured using informal written quotes. For this process, a written specification setting forth all requirements of the purchase is prepared and made available to all interested vendors. The quotes are opened on a specified date and time and award is made to the lowest quoter meeting all specification requirements.
Formal Processes ($100K +) - Procurement at this dollar level may be processed via one of the following methodologies:
Formal Written Quotation:
When the item(s) or service(s) to be procured is estimated to cost over $100,000.00, a specification package is developed and made available to all interested vendors. The sealed quotes are received on a specified date and time and are evaluated for compliance to the specifications, delivery time, and price. Award is normally recommended to the lowest quote meeting specifications.
The proposal process is used when no fixed criteria exist for a purchase. The process is similar to the formal written quote process with the exception that award is based on predetermined evaluation criteria rather than solely on price. An evaluation committee will review and rank the proposals received for each of the evaluation factors. A tabulation of their scores will determine which vendor will be recommended for award of the proposal.
Lee County is a member of the Southwest Florida Cooperative Purchasing Consortium. The purpose of this consortium is to jointly quote items common to all members in order to obtain volume discount pricing.
Most of our specifications include the provision for other governmental entities to be able to "piggyback" on the prices obtained/awarded.
Per Florida Statute (287.057), if less than two responsive bids or proposals for commodity or contractual services purchases are received, the department or division may negotiate a contract on the best terms and conditions. The department/division shall document the reasons that such action is in the best interest of Lee County in lieu of resoliciting competitive sealed bids or proposals.
The competitive sealed bid process is used for construction type projects requiring a contractor license and for projects over $100,000.
The CN process is used to solicit professional services for construction projects. Process used for 1) Construction estimate over $325,000 or 2) Planning or study activity over $35,000.
Request for Qualifications:
The RFQ process is used for all other professional type services not covered under the CN process; fees are negotiated. Used for "Other" Professional Services over $100,000. Vendors are selected based on qualifications and may involve interview/presentations. No pricing is involved under this process until a firm has been selected and the County enters into contract negotiations.
Request for Proposals:
The RFP process is used for all other professional type services not covered under the CN process; fees are included as part of this process. Vendor selection is made on qualification, experience and prices.
Steps to Competitive Quoting
Specifications are detailed descriptions of the intended purchase, establishing the minimum acceptable standards. They are included in the quote documents. If you have any questions, concerns, or objections regarding specifications, contact the person indicated in the quote proposal, in Procurement, or make inquiries during the pre-bid conference. The County reserves the right to request that questions concerning interpretation or modification to plans, specifications, or contract documents be submitted in writing to the Procurement Director.
Changes to the specifications shall be made in writing in the form of an addendum circulated to all potential bidders. These changes become an integral part of the quote/proposal and must be acknowledged on the price page. Note: Vendor responsible for checking webpage for an addenda(s).
Pre-bid conferences are held on most written quotes and proposals. The purpose of the pre-bid conference is to provide a forum in which vendors may ask questions about the quote document. If there are any discrepancies, concerns, or suggestions this is the time they should be brought forward. Please do not wait until after the quotes are awarded and a recommendation to award has been made to point out a deficiency in the specification documents.
Quote/Proposal/Bid, etc.. Opening:
All formal quotes/proposals/bids are to be received in a sealed envelope bearing the name and number of the project, and the date and time of the opening, prior to the stated deadline. The quotes and proposals are opened and read publicly by the Procurement Director (or designee) on the date and time shown in the invitation to quote. A cordial invitation is extended to vendors, salespersons, the media, and the interested public to attend "quote/proposal openings."
Proposals, however, are not made public record until 10 days after the opening date. This is for review and evaluation purpose.
Tabulations and Awards:
All formal quotes, proposals, bids are tabulated by the Division of Procurement. The tabulations are available for review on our website at www.lee-county.com/procurementmanagement.
A thorough review of all tie bids shall be conducted by the Division of Procurement. Award recommendations shall be based upon delivery dates, reputation of the vendors involved, past performance, and location of the vendor. If all factors and conditions relating to the bids are equal, then the tie bid will be awarded to the vendor with a Drug-Free Workplace Program, Florida Statutes Section 287.087. If both vendors have a drug-free workplace then the bid will be awarded to the local vendor if the other vendor is not local or by a coin toss. The coin toss will be conducted by the Division of Procurement with one witness from outside the Division of Procurement.
Late Quotes/Proposals/Bids, etc..:
If a quote/proposal/bid is received after the date and time stated as the deadline for receipt of quotes/proposals/bids, the quote/proposal/bid will be returned unopened via certified mail to the vendor submitting the quote/proposal/bid. If there is no return address or any indication of the company submitting the quote/proposal/bids, the package will be placed unopened in the quote file and will not be considered for award.
Local Vendor Preference:
Lee County Ordinance No. 08-26 adopted by the Board of County Commissioners on Nov. 25, 2008. The Board acted in concert with Collier County to stimulate the local economy of each county by extending the scope of the local preference created by Lee County Ordinance No. 00-10 to qualified Collier County contractors and vendors and thereby encourage contractors and vendors to bid on contracts and work in the adjoining county. This was done under a Reciprocity Agreement.
"Local Contractor/Vendor" shall mean: a) any person, firm, partnership, company or corporation whose principal place of business in the sole opinion of the County, is located within the boundaries of Lee/Collier County, Florida; b) any person, firm, partnership, company or corporation that has provided goods or services to Lee County on a regular basis for the preceding consecutive there (3) years, and that has the personnel, equipment and materials located within the boundaries of Lee/Collier County sufficient to constitute a present ability to perform the service or provide the goods.
Lee County at its sole discretion may choose to award a preference to any qualified "Local Contractor/Vendor" in an amount not to exceed 3 percent of the total amount quoted by that firm.