Competitive Bidding Process

For Current Bidding Opportunities

Notices are placed on the City website and in area newspapers and business journals. The City’s newspaper of record is The Seattle Times. Advertisements for bids include the following items:
  • Title of the project
  • Nature and scope of the work
  • Where contract documents (plans, specifications) may be obtained
  • Cost to obtain a set of contract documents
  • Place, date, and time that bids are due
  • Statement that a bid bond must accompany the bid
  • Statements that the City retains the right to reject any or all bids, and to waive minor irregularities in the bidding process

Bid Specification

Bid specifications should incorporate a clear and accurate description of the technical requirements for the material, product, or service to be purchased. Such descriptions should not contain features that unduly restrict competition. When it is impractical or uneconomical to make clear and accurate description requirements, a “brand name or equal” description may be used. The responsibility of demonstrating to the City’s satisfaction that a product is “equal” to that specified shall be on the vendor proposing the substitution.

Requests for Approval of Substitutions

Requests for approval of substitutions must be made with sufficient time to allow the City to adequately review the proposal, including time for vendors to respond to questions and requests for additional information or clarification. The City has no obligation to accept proposed substitutions. Acceptance of a substitute product proposed as an “equal” to that specified will be made in writing. If this acceptance occurs prior to the bid, other bidders will be notified to the extent practical.


The contract will be awarded to the lowest responsive and responsible bidder whose bid meets the requirements and criteria included in the invitation for bids. When a trade-in option exists and is in the City’s best interest, the price offered on the trade will be considered when determining the lowest responsive and responsible bid.

RCW 39.30.040

RCW 39.30.040 allows any local sales tax revenue generated by the purchase to be considered in determining the lowest responsive and responsible bid. Other preferences favoring local businesses are not permitted.


An invitation for bids may be cancelled. Additionally, the City (at its sole discretion) may choose to reject any or all bids, in whole or in part.

Submission of Bids

Bids will be submitted as specified in the invitation for bid by the appointed date and time listed in the invitation. Each bid will be date and time stamped as it is received. Late bids will not be accepted. If the bid is a sealed bid, all qualified bids will be opened and read aloud publicly at the appointed time.

No City representative shall inform a contractor of the terms or amount of any other contractor’s bid for the same project prior to the bid opening date and time. Once bids have been submitted (and opened, if the bids are sealed), the City may not negotiate with bidders. The contract must be awarded to the lowest responsive and responsible bidder, or else all bids must be rejected. A written record shall be made of each contractor’s bid on a project and of any conditions imposed on the bid. Immediately after an award is made, the bid quotations shall be recorded, open to public inspection, and available by telephone inquiry.

Original specifications and the original bid responses will be retained for review and audit as required.

Bid Security

Bid security shall be required for all competitive bidding for public works contracts, and shall be included in the bid package. Security shall be in the form of a bond with a value of at least 5% of the amount of the bid, provided by a surety company that is authorized to do business in Washington State, or the equivalent in cash or certified check.

Bid security shall be required on bids for materials, supplies, and equipment only if it is determined to be necessary. When the invitation for bids requires submission of bid security, noncompliance will result in rejection of the bid.

If a bidder is permitted to withdraw a bid before award, its bid security shall be returned.

Non-Collusion Affidavit

Each bidder shall be required to warrant that their bid is genuine, and that they have not entered into collusion with other bidders, by submitting with their bid an executed and notarized affidavit on a form approved by the City Attorney.


Contracts for public works and professional services shall contain requirements for contractor-provided insurance, as deemed necessary by the City Attorney.

Current and Past Bidding Opportunities

View bid postings and related information here.