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Procurement Process

On this page

  • Requests for Proposals (RFP's)
  • Contracts/Agreements
  • Requisitions and Purchase Orders (POs)

First, check if the City already has an on-call agreement set up with the contractor/consultant

All executed agreements that have been through the City Clerk’s office are on the Public Records Portal. Visit the Search for Agreements page for how to use the Portal.

RFP's (Requests for Proposals)

What is an RFP?

A Request for Proposal, or RFP, is a document that a business, non-profit, or government agency creates to outline the requirements for a specific project or services. RFP's should be used for all public works projects, and may be used for professional services when competitive bidding is sought.

Structure of the RFP document

Use City letterhead template

  1. Introduction: Overview of the RFP.
    Ex. The City of San Rafael (City) hereby requests proposals for ________________ from a qualified
    _________________ business that is duly registered and licensed with a _________________________ license in the State of California.
    The introduction section should also include the date, time and manner bids should be received by. Finally, the introduction should summarize how the contract will be awarded (lowest bid or review of qualifications etc.). THe introduction should also be a description of the good or service requested. For goods, this may include dimensions, tolerances, model numbers, manufacturer names, colors, sizes, performance characteristics such as speed and storage capacity, or the specific functions to be performed.
  2. Table of Contents
  3. General Requirements, Licensing and Labor, Work Standards, etc.
  4. Proposal Requirements
    Ex. The proposal shall consist of... Cover letter signed by the Contractor which includes name, address, etc., bid proposal, Bidder’s bond, List of personnel, List of equipment........
  5. Bid Award Process
    Ex. The City will award one contract for ___________ to the lowest responsive and responsible bidder, provided that the Bidder is determined to be qualified based on the requirements listed herein.
    Include a link to BidExpress if that's where contractor's will apply. Also include the date/time proposals will be opened (can be over zoom).
  6. RFP Addenda
    Ex. All requests for clarification for this RFP must be made in writing.  All questions relating to the RFP shall be presented at least 96 hours prior to the due date. All addenda will be posted to the City’s website.
  7. Attachments
    Ex. Attachment A - Scope of Work, Attachment B - Bid Proposal, Attachment C - Draft Contract
    The latest version of the relevant City Attorney contract template (Professional Services, Informal Public Works project, Formal Public Works project) should be included as an attachment to the RFP.  Drawings, maps, pictures, sketches (if applicable) may also be appropriate to include as attachments.

Other considerations for your RFP

  • Installation or site preparation requirements
  • Compatibility requirements with existing equipment or programs
  • Maintenance requirements (service location/response times)
  • Warranty requirements
  • Estimated cost (for capital projects this is called the "Engineer's Estimate")

RFP Examples

Advertising the RFP

To advertise an RFP:

  1. Post it on the City website as a news post
  2. When appropriate, post the RFP to BidExpress
  3. When appropriate, set a date/time proposals will be opened and send out a zoom link for the meeting.
  4. Email the link to the City website news post to all known current and prospective contractors/consultants that could qualify for the RFP.RFP's (Requests for Proposals)


Setting up a contract start to finish

  1. Solicit bids appropriately (see above) and select contractor
  2. Draft the contract, in Word, using the appropriate contract template. All current contract templates can be found on the City Attorney's website.
  3. Send the City Attorney's office an email with the drafted contract in Word, any attachments/exhibits (i.e. RFP, scope of work, etc.), and a contract routing form.
  4. After the City Attorney's office reviews the contract, they will send it back with edits and revisions (if any) and the latest updated contract routing form. Send the City Attorney-approved electronic version of the contract, with the attachments and routing form, to the Department Director for review and approval.
  5. Once the Department Director signs off, save the contract as a pdf. Send it, along with any attachments, to the contractor for signature. Do not send the routing form to the contractor - this is an internal tracking device only.
    Email to contractor/consultant: "Please sign and return three copies of the attached agreement to the following address. Please leave the date on the first page clear.
  6. Once received, route the contractor-signed agreement (with the most updated contract routing slip) to City Attorney for City Hall signatures.
  7. Once the fully executed contract is returned from City Hall, send a copy to the contractor/consultant.

Requisitions and Purchase Orders (POs)

All executed agreements which are set up for a discreet amount/scope (on-call services being excluded), as well as major purchases of supplies, materials, equipment, should have a corresponding PO set up. See "Purchase Order" section in the "Everything Invoices" page for details on how to set up a PO with the Finance Department.

What does a purchase order do? Essentially, PO's encumber (e.g. "set-aside") budget for purchases of supplies, equipment, and services that we plan to make. So, as we continue to expend funds within a fiscal year, a PO ensures that the pot of money for your agreement remains untouched unless an invoice is specifically coded to it.

What is a Requisition? Requisition = caterpillar, Purchase Order (PO) = butterfly.  To make a purchase order, you must first create a requisition in Eden.

One Finance approves the Requisition, they turn it into a Purchase Order (PO).  The PO will be an official PDF document which lists the vendor, the amount, the good/service being purchased, and the expense code it will be charged to. Importantly, each PO has a unique number. This PO document is a legally enforceable contract.

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