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Frequently Asked Questions


Q.  How does a vendor get information related to current contracting opportunities?

A.  Current information may be obtained on the City of Columbia Procurement website, Bid Online. You may access this link by clicking on the Bid Online icon below. Additional contracting opportunities, including bid solicitations released by other governmental entities, can be accessed through the "Procurement Opportunities" link found on our website.

PURCH Bid Online gif file 01 28 13

Q. How are informal purchases handled?

A. Departments have been delegated authority for informal purchases for total single orders costing up to $5,000.00. For purchases greater than $5,000.00, the applicable procurement guidelines based on dollar values will apply.   Departments also have the ability to make purchases on their Procurement Cards up to an assigned single purchase spending authority.  Procurements with a total potential value greater than $25,000.00 will be handled through the City of Columbia's Purchasing Division and properly advertised in accordance with policy.


Q. Does the City allow telephone quotes?

A. Telephone quotes are allowed for small dollar valued items and services.  Telephone quotes may be requested by City of Columbia departments or by a buyer in the Purchasing Division in accordance with the City's procurement guidelines.


Q. Does Procurement Division buy for all City offices?

A. The Purchasing Division handles procurement for all City Of Columbia offices except the following:

Engineering handles requests for bids and proposals in regards to professional architectural or engineering services and construction of capital projects included in the annually adopted Utility Capital Improvement Budget.  The Utilities and Engineering Department can be contacted by calling 803.545.3400.


Q. How do I contact the Purchasing Division? 

A. The City of Columbia Purchasing Division can be reached by calling 803.545.3470.


Q. What are your office hours?

A. The Purchasing Division's standard office hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding observed holidays.


Q. What are the bonding requirements?

A. There are several types of bonds that may be required - Bid Bonds, Performance Bonds and Payment Bonds. See information in the "City of Columbia Procurement Manual Policies and Procedures". Bonds are normally not required for projects.  However, Procurement may require a bond if it is believed to be in the City's best interest. Bonds may be issued by an approved surety firm, or be in the form of a cashier's check.


Q. How do I get information regarding previous contracts?

A. You may request information about previous contracts by calling the Public Relations Office at 803.545.3020. You may also contact the Procurement Division at 803.545.3470.


Q. What if my bid is late?

A. Bids received after the stated due date and time will not be accepted. The Purchasing Division releases most competitive bid solicitations through Bid Online.  This is a fully automated procurement system.  All bidders must submit their responses online, by the deadline and in accordance with all other terms and conditions, for the bid to be reviewed and deemed responsive.


Q. How can I access bid results and tabulations?

A. You may access bids by clicking on the Bid Results tab located on the left side menu bar.


Q. Is there a City of Columbia local business enterprise preference?

A. Yes

"Local" is based on the Columbia-Newberry Combined Statistical Area (CSA).  The CSA is defined by the Office of Management & Budget and may be modified at any any time.  As of October, 2011, the following counties are considered "local":  Calhoun, Fairfield, Kershaw, Lexington, Newberry, RIchland and Saluda

A company must be certified PRIOR to bid openings.  A business is NOT considered an LBE unless it has been certified by the LBE Compliance Team. For additional information regarding the City of Columbia's LBE certification program, please click on the link below or contact Eric V. Cassell, Compliance Administrator, Department of Utilities and Engineering at (803) 545-3369.

Local Business Enterprise Program

Q. Is the City of Columbia exempted from sales taxes?  

A. No


Q. Can a contractor or vendor employ illegal immigrants?  

A. In accordance with the South Carolina Illegal Immigration Reform Act, 2008 and the South Carolina Code of Laws prohibits covered persons from entering into covered contracts unless the contractor agreees either (a) to verify all new employees through the federal work autorization programs (and rquire the same from subcontractors and their subs or (b) to employ only qualifying workers as defined by the Act.

 South Carolina Illegal Immigration Reform Act: (A280,R327,H4400 - South Carolina Code of Laws, 1976 as amended) PURCH Adobe small icon 01 28 13


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