Finance Department - Purchasing Division
Doing Business with the City


Thank you for your interest in doing business with the City of San Antonio. Your involvement as a provider of goods and services for the City is critical in meeting its operational, mission, and service delivery requirements.

The Purchasing Division serves as your primary point of contact when the purchase of goods and services are required for the City. This section will help you navigate and understand the City’s procurement processes, including how to pursue City contracts. It will also highlight the most relevant and beneficial rules, regulations, and laws that govern the City’s procurement process to ensure you successfully compete and succeed as a vendor for the City.

In an effort to be responsive to future changes in rules, regulations, and laws, this section will be updated periodically.

Purchasing Division

The Finance Department's Purchasing Division is charged with providing strategic and material management services to all City departments. The Purchasing Division is also responsible for the procurement of all supplies, materials, and equipment as well as professional services necessary for the delivery of municipal services.

It is important for vendors to know that the Purchasing Division is the only entity within the City of San Antonio that is authorized to contract for goods and non-professional services which cost more than $3,000 up to and including $50,000 without City Council approval. It is also the only entity within the City government authorized to issue solicitations for goods and non-professional services valued at more than $50,000.

The Purchasing Division is comprised of two teams, each headed by a Procurement Administrator (PA). Each team is aligned by service delivery type. The Administrators are the key contacts for vendor inquiries regarding any procurement-related issues. Staff is also available to assist vendors and answer any questions regarding all aspects of the procurement process.

The Purchasing staff purchases goods and services on a daily basis, however, a major focus throughout the year is the management of more than 1,000 annual contracts. These contracts are established to provide an efficient method for the City to purchase goods and services that are needed on a repetitive basis or that may realize substantial savings by aggregating City-wide requirements. Most of these annual contracts are typically for goods and non-professional services where providers are widespread thus giving vendors a number of opportunities to submit bids and obtain contracts with the City. Most of the annual contracts carry a three (3) year initial contract period and are posted on the City’s webpage, San Antonio electronic Procurement System (SAePS), and TVSA Cable Channel 21 as well as published in a local newspaper when a new solicitation is required.

Vendors are encouraged to monitor the Purchasing Division website on a regular basis for access to City solicitations, valuable procurement-related information, and names of staff members assigned to the various commodities and services purchased by City departments.

The Purchasing Division is located at:

Riverview Towers
111 Soledad, 5th and 11th Floors
San Antonio, Texas 78205

Telephone Number: 210-207-5734

Fax Number: 210-207-7270

Business Hours: Monday - Friday, 7:45 am – 4:30 pm Central Time

Policy Statement

The Purchasing Division values the relationship between City government and the vendor business community and works toward maintaining mutual goodwill at all times. Toward this end, the Purchasing Division strives to:

  • Communicate clearly to vendors and help simplify the City’s procurement process
  • Build trust between customers and suppliers
  • Handle all supplier questions and concerns in a fair, prompt, and courteous manner
  • Encourage healthy competition and maximum participation among vendors for City business and maintain an open and fair solicitation process
  • Involve suppliers in the development of clear, fair, and complete specifications and standards necessary to meet the City’s product and service requirements
  • Observe strict truthfulness and highest ethics in all transactions and correspondence
  • Assist vendors and departments with contractual problems and other issues related to contractor performance, product delivery, and payment disputes or delays
  • Assist in resolving problems in a creative, fair, and prompt manner
  • Encourage participation from local, small, minority, veteran-owned, and women-owned businesses for City contracts
  • Conduct vendor outreach, advertising, web broadcasting, and networking with the business community to increase vendor participation in City contracting
  • Pursue and utilize procurement methods that are efficient in meeting the needs of the City

Vendor Information

Small Business Economic Development Advocacy (SBEDA) Program

To make it easy and convenient for entrepreneurs and existing businesses to learn more about conducting business with various branches of the government, the City’s Economic Development Department provides a full range of business services. Vendors are encouraged to contact the Small Business Office at 210-207-3900 or visit their office at 100 West Houston, Suite 1900, for more information. In addition, the Small Business Liaison Office, housed in the Cliff Morton Development and Business Services Center at 1901 South Alamo, offers valuable assistance to entrepreneurs and existing businesses.

For assistance with certification as a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE), Small Business Enterprise (SBE), Minority Business Enterprise (MBE), Veteran Business Enterprise (VBE), and Woman Business Enterprise (WBE), the South Central Texas Regional Certification Agency (SCTRCA) can be contacted at 210-227-4722. SCTRCA is a non-profit corporation that represents several public entities in the South Texas area. These entities are committed to enhancing participation for disadvantaged, minority, and woman owned businesses in public/government contracting and purchasing activities.

Presenting Your Products

Purchasing staff is available to review new product or service introductions for various markets. Meetings to present new products or services may be scheduled with the appropriate staff. Visiting hours are by appointment only. Appointments may be scheduled by calling 210-207-5734 or by directly contacting the purchasing member assigned the product or service in question.

Public Advertising/Announcement of Bid Opportunities

Public notices of formal solicitations are available from the following sources:

San Antonio Business Journal * San Antonio Business Journal * San Antonio Express-News * (or other newspaper publication)
SA Observer * (if necessary, rotating) SA Observer * (rotating) San Antonio Business Journal * (if appropriate)
La Prensa * (if necessary, rotating) La Prensa * (rotating) TVSA (Channel 21)
San Antonio Express-News * (if appropriate) San Antonio Express-News * (if appropriate) Trade Publications (if appropriate)
TVSA (Channel 21) TVSA (Channel 21) San Antonio electronic Procurement System (SAePS)
SAePS SAePS City’s Website
City’s Website City’s Website Office of the City Clerk
Office of the City Clerk Office of the City Clerk

* Publication in this newspaper is dependent upon current contract status with the City.

NOTE: It is the responsibility of interested vendors to monitor the City’s website and the SAePS Portal for bidding opportunities. Vendors registered with the City will receive notifications via e-mail based upon the NIGP codes they have selected.

Bid Document Downloads

Purchasing makes available a synopsis of formal solicitation documents at the Bidding and Contracting Opportunities page. All vendors must be registered in SAePS to receive the full solicitation.

Procurement Methods

The City’s Purchasing Division uses the following methods to procure goods and services:

Method When Used Basis of Award
Request for Price Quote (RFPQ) Informal For one time purchase of goods and non-professional services valued at more than $3,000 up to and including $50,000 when requirements are clearly defined and competition exists. Governed by TLGC Chapter 252 Lowest Responsible Bidder
Invitation for Bid (IFB) Informal For annual contract requirements of goods and non-professional services valued at more than $3,000 up to and including $50,000 when requirements are clearly defined and competition exists. Governed by TLGC Chapter 252. Lowest Responsible Bidder
Invitation for Bid (IFB) Formal For goods and non-professional services valued at more than $50,000, when requirements are clearly defined and competition exists. Governed by TLGC Chapter 252. Lowest Responsible Bidder
Request for Competitive Sealed Proposal (RFCSP) Typically used for high technology, insurance, and non-professional service solicitations that are valued at more than $50,000, when the City wishes to consider other factors in addition to price to make an award recommendation. Governed by TLGC Chapter 252. Weighted Evaluation Criteria Including Cost
Request for Proposal (RFP) For discretionary contracts such as consulting services and revenue-generating contracts, when factors other than price are evaluated and negotiations are desired. Respondent is expected to provide innovative ideas as opposed to following published scope of services. Governed by TGC Chapter 2254 with respect to professional services. Weighted Evaluation Criteria Including Cost
Request for Qualifications (RFQ) For discretionary contracts for architectural, landscape architectural, engineering, and land surveying services. May also be used for consulting services if price is not a primary concern. RFQs are used to gather information regarding the firm’s capabilities, qualifications, and competence. Governed by TGC Chapter 2254 with respect to professional services. Selection is made solely on the skills and qualifications of the consultant. Cost is not a factor until after a consultant is selected.

Submission of Bids

Bids and proposals must be received at the location specified in the solicitation document prior to the due date and time or they will be considered non-responsive. Bids and proposals received after the due date/time will not be accepted.

Informal Bids

In general, informal bids are due to the Finance Department Purchasing Division by 10:00 am Central Time and may be submitted by hard copy in person or mail or an electronic submission through the SAePS Portal. It is the responsibility of the bidder to confirm that all bids are submitted in accordance with the solicitation document.


Formal bids are opened as specified in the bid request. Bids are typically due to the Office of the City Clerk at 2:00 pm Central Time on Monday, Tuesday or Friday. Bids will be opened and publicly read aloud at 2:30 pm Central Time on the day bids are due. Bid openings are held at the Purchasing Division, Riverview Towers, 111 Soledad St., 11th Floor, San Antonio, TX 78205.

Bid openings are public except where Request for Proposals or Request for Qualifications are solicited. Members of the public are welcome to attend, whether or not engaged in bidding.

The Office of the City Clerk is located at:

Physical Address:

Office of the City Clerk
100 Military Plaza
2nd Floor (City Hall)
San Antonio, Texas 78205

Mailing Address:

Office of the City Clerk
P.O. Box 839966
San Antonio, Texas 78283-3966

Bid Security - Bonding

In order to protect the interests of San Antonio taxpayers, the City may require surety bonds on bids and contracts depending on the dollar amount and risk involved. In particular, payment and performance bonds may be required for public works contracts which are defined as the construction, alteration, or repair of any public building or completion of any public work. Bonding requirements for public works contracts are dependent upon the dollar amount of the resultant contract.

Bid or Proposal Security

A bid or proposal security, in the form of a cashier's check, certified check, or bond may be required by the City depending upon the risk, complexity or dollar value of the contract. In addition, a bid or proposal security will be required in those instances where a performance bond will be required after contract award. The amount of the security is usually five percent (5%) of the bid or contract value; however, the amount of the security may vary depending on the specifics of the solicitation.

Performance and Payment Bonds

In accordance with State statutes, Performance Bonds are required on any public works contract of more than $100,000 in value. Payment Bonds are required on any public works contract of more than $50,000 in value. The City may also elect to require performance and payment bonds for contracts other than public works contracts.


The City may contractually require that parties doing business with the City maintain certain insurance coverage(s). If subcontractors are utilized in the performance of the contract, the prime contractor may be required to pass along these insurance requirements to its subcontractors.

A copy of all applicable insurance certificates and endorsements must be submitted to the City in accordance with the contract prior to the start of any work. The certificate(s) of insurance must contain:

  • Name of insurance company
  • Policy number
  • Inception/expiration date
  • Description of types of coverage and limits

Policies typically contain:

  • Naming of the City as additional insured (property and liability policies)
  • Provision affording notice to the City of cancellation or substantial change in coverage
  • Waiver of subrogation in favor of the City on certain types of coverages

Evaluation & Award

It is the policy of the City to purchase from suppliers that have adequate financial strength, management and service capabilities, high ethical standards and integrity, the ability to provide materials and/or services that consistently meet the City's requirements, and are otherwise qualified and eligible to receive an award under applicable laws and regulations. All contracts in an amount of more than $50,000 must be approved by the City Council.

Identical Bids

For awards made based on price alone, when two or more responsible bidders submit the lowest responsible bids, and these bids are identical in both amount and nature, the City will enter into a contract with only one of the responsible bidders selected in a manner provided by state law.

Award of Contract

Contracts for goods or nonprofessional services exceeding $50,000 in price must be awarded to the lowest responsible bidder or to the bidder who provides goods or nonprofessional services at the best value for the City.

In determining the best value, the City may consider the bidder’s purchase price, reputation, quality of goods or services, the extent to which the goods or services meet the City’s needs, past relationship with the City, impact on the ability of the City to comply with laws and rules relating to contracting with historically underutilized businesses and nonprofit organizations employing persons with disabilities, total long-term cost to acquire the goods or services, and any relevant criteria specifically listed in the request for bids or proposals. If the City intends to award on the basis of best value, the solicitation document will indicate this fact and will contain evaluation criteria.

The City may reject any and all bids.

Identifying Winning Vendor

The City uses a two-step approach when evaluating bid responses to determine the "lowest responsible bid." The first step is to determine which responses meet or exceed the published specifications. Bidders that take "exceptions" to any of the terms, conditions or specifications contained in the solicitation may be deemed non-responsive and their bid disqualified from further consideration at this stage.

After bids that are responsive to the City’s specifications have been identified, the City seeks to determine the bidder’s responsibility. Factors that can be used to determine responsibility include, but are not limited to, past performance issues, manpower, experience, equipment, and financial ability to perform the contract. If we determine that the lowest bid meets or exceeds the published specification and it was from a "responsible" vendor, then we will recommend that bid to City Council for the award of the contract.

Local Preference Program (LPP)

The Local Preference Policy took effect on May 1, 2013. The revised Local Preference Policy Ordinance (LPP) took effect on December 15, 2013.

The original ordinance established the Local Preference Program, allowing the City to grant contracting preferences to local businesses in circumstances when price alone determines the winning bid for personal property, non-professional services, and construction services, and the procurement is governed by Title 8 of the Texas Local Government Code. Under the program, a contract is awarded to a business within San Antonio City limits in instances where the City receives a bid from a local business that is within a certain percentage of the lowest bid price received from a non-city business. Additionally, provisions were included in the original ordinance granting preferences to local businesses for professional service contracts that are not governed by statute.

The amendment to the LPP expands the application to any contract for goods and non-professional services where the City chooses to conduct a solicitation process and to award on the basis of price. For example, the preference would apply to procurements utilizing the health or safety exemption found in Chapter 252, Texas Local Government Code, when the City seeks offers from multiple suppliers. It would also apply when the City seeks offers from multiple vendors that have contracts with cooperative purchasing organizations.

The amendment also expanded the application to concession and other revenue-generating contracts in addition to professional service agreements not governed by statute as originally contained in the ordinance.

The Finance Department administers the program and produces quarterly reports summarizing the dollar amount of procurements awarded to local businesses under this program.

A local business (a.k.a. a City Business) is defined as a business headquartered within the incorporated San Antonio city limits OR one that meets the following conditions:

  • Has an established place of business for at least one year in the incorporated limits of the City:
    • From which at least 100 of its employees OR at least 20% of its total full-time, part-time, and contract employees are regularly based


    • From which a substantial role in the business’s performance of a commercially useful function or a substantial part of its operations is conducted by those employees

"Headquartered" is defined as the place where an entity’s officers direct, control, and coordinate its activities.

A. The Local Preference Program applies to the following;

  1. Personal Property (Goods/Supplies): Within 3% of the lowest non-local bidder for contracts of $50,000 or more
  2. Non-Professional Services: Within 3% of the lowest non-local bidder for contracts of $50,000 to under $500,000
  3. Construction Services: Within 3% of the lowest non-local bidder for contracts of $50,000 to under $100,000, excluding contracts awarded using alternative delivery methods
  4. Other Discretionary Solicitations not Governed by Statute:
    • 10 evaluation points for a local businesses headquartered within the incorporated San Antonio city limits


    • 5 points for local businesses not headquartered within the incorporated San Antonio city limits

B. Exceptions

  1. The LPP does not apply to contracts less than $50,000 in value, or other types of contracts not described by the ordinance
  2. The LPP does not apply to any contract funded in whole or in part by the federal government or where the City acts as a conduit for federal money
  3. The LPP does not apply to contracts where the Managing Department or City Council has determined that it would not be in the best interest of the City
  4. In accordance with Texas Local Government Code §271.9051, the LPP does not apply to the purchase of telecommunications services or information services, as those terms are defined by 47 U.S.C.A. §153

NOTE: The Local Preference (LPP) Ordinance does not replace and is a separate program from the Small Business Economic Development Advocacy (SBEDA) Program Ordinance.

Insurance/Bonding Requirements

Solicitations issued by the City of San Antonio may contain insurance and bonding requirements. THE BONDING AND INSURANCE REQUIREMENTS CANNOT BE WAIVED. The awarded bidder will be required to furnish the City with an insurance certificate satisfying ALL requirements stated in the solicitation document. It is advised that potential respondents consult their insurance agent prior to submitting a bid to determine whether or not you will be able to secure the necessary insurance if awarded the contract.


Unless the bid document specifies otherwise, the Purchasing Division reserves the right to make an award on the basis of low line item, low total of line items, or in any other combination that serves the best interest of the City.

Reservation of rights

The City expressly reserves the right to:

  • Waive any informality
  • Waive any defect, irregularity or informality in any offer of solicitation procedures
  • Reject any and all bids or portions of bids
  • Reissue a bid request
  • Extend the bid opening date and time
  • Procure any item by other means
  • Increase or decrease the quantity specified in the bid invitation, unless the bid specifies otherwise

Bid Tabulation

The City will tabulate formal bids received and will post a draft of the bid tab to the City’s web page as soon as possible.

Protest Procedures (Formal Bids)

For solicitations for goods and non-professional services valued at more than $50,000, once the Notice to Award has been posted to the City’s Intent to Award web page, bidders will have seven (7) calendar days to submit a written protest to the Director of Finance. If the vendor does not file a written protest within this time, the vendor will have waived all rights to formally protest the intent to award. It is the vendor’s responsibility to check the City’s website posting.

Award Notification

Official notification of award can only be made by the Purchasing Division for the purchase of goods and non-professional services of more than $3,000. Notice of award given by any other City department may be premature and inaccurate. The successful bidder(s) of an annual contract is notified of award by letter from the Purchasing Division. Other City departments may issue purchase orders for annual contracts for which an award letter has been sent.

Public Accessibility to Bids and Proposals

Bid and Proposals are subject to the Texas Public Information Act, Chapter 552, Texas Government Code. They are public documents and open to inspection and/or copying. Parties who believe their bids or proposals contain information that is exempt from disclosure under the Act, such as proprietary or confidential information, must indicate the portion of the bid or proposal they believe should not be disclosed. If a request for the document is made, the City will submit the issue to the Texas Attorney General for an opinion on whether the information may be withheld from release. The party submitting the information will be notified and have an opportunity to present its arguments for nondisclosure. If nothing is marked, the City will disclose the entire bid/proposal to the person requesting it without consulting the party who submitted the bid/proposal.

The Texas Public Information Act provides an exemption from disclosure for information related to competition or bidding. As such, the City will generally seek to withhold bids and proposals from public disclosure until after a contract is awarded, with the exception of bids that are based on price alone and opened publicly. To do this, the City submits a request for a ruling to the Texas Attorney General. It typically takes in excess of 30 days to receive a response from that agency.

Supplier Performance

The City expects high-quality products and excellent service performance from its vendors. Vendor performance is a key factor when the City evaluates bids for contract award and is always subject to evaluation by the City’s using department(s). The Purchasing Division maintains Vendor Performance files for all vendors doing business with the City and requires Vendor Evaluation Forms to be completed by using departments. All parties involved in the purchase, acceptance and payment of goods and services will have the opportunity to evaluate the vendor’s performance.

Delivery Dates

Failure to meet a specified delivery date reflects on vendor performance and could be a factor in consideration of future awards and contract extensions. It is the supplier's responsibility to notify the Purchasing Division when a delay in the delivery schedule occurs or is anticipated. At this time, the supplier must indicate the new anticipated delivery date and the reason for the delay. It should be noted that failure to deliver within a contractual delivery schedule may result in the supplier being declared in default and assessed liquidated damages, if permitted in the contract. Default may also lead to early termination of your contract.

Quality and Service

Unsatisfactory product quality or service performance also reflects on a supplier and could be a factor in consideration of future contract awards and extensions. Such performance can increase the City's operating costs and may be taken into consideration in determining whether a bidder is responsible.

Invoicing & Payment

All invoices for payment of goods or services rendered must be submitted to:

City of San Antonio
Attn: General Accounting
PO Box 839976
San Antonio, Texas 78283-3976

Invoices must be itemized as to quantity, part number, description, applicable discount, department or division for which the goods or services were rendered, and a purchase order number. Any deviations will delay payment.

Payment Terms

The City’s payment policy requires that payment is made within 30 days after receipt of a correct invoice or acceptance of goods or services, whichever occurs later. Any discount available to the City for prompt payment must be notated on the invoice. Unless otherwise notated, discounts will be calculated from the date of delivery or the date of the invoice, whichever is more recent. Any invoices with terms "Payment upon receipt" or "Payment upon completion" are paid same as net 30 days.

NOTE: Payments made by the City to take advantage of discounts offered will be at the City’s discretion and do not constitute the contract’s required payment terms.

Prompt Payment Discount

Provided the bidder meets the requirements stated in the bid document, the City shall take the bidder’s offered prompt payment discount into consideration in determining the low bidder. The evaluation will not be based on the discount percentage alone, but rather the net price as determined by applying the discount to the bid price. However, the City reserves the right to reject the discount and will not consider discounts that provide fewer than ten (10) days to receive the discount.

Vendor Payment Information Form

Once a vendor has been awarded a contract, the vendor must complete and submit the Vendor Information Form (pdf) and a W-9 Form (pdf) via fax to 210-207-0118 or via e-mail to Vendor Support. This information enables the City to issue a payment.

Payment Inquiries

Please direct any payment questions to the mailing address noted above, or e-mail Accounts Payable or call 210-207-2064.

Tax Exemption

The City is exempt from payment of federal excise and transportation taxes, as well as Texas State or local sales and use taxes. If it is determined that the price quoted and recorded on any order or invoice rendered include any such taxes, the amount of the taxes will be deducted from the total of the invoice. The City will furnish the payee a certificate of exemption upon request.