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Contracting with Hennepin County

We buy goods and services through a cost-effective, competitive, and fair process accessible to all businesses. We seek vendors who share our commitment to equal opportunity and affirmative action.

COVID-19 response

We are open for business via phone and online, but our office is closed. Full county service impact information.

Public bid opening

Public bids are opened virtually using Microsoft Teams every Tuesday at 2 p.m. Allow up to five minutes for the live bid opening to begin.

After bids are opened, the information read will be posted on Supplier Portal or ProcureWare.

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Goods and general services

All public opportunities are posted on the Supplier Portal.

Human services

All public opportunities are posted on the Supplier Portal.

Professional services

All public opportunities are posted on the Supplier Portal.

Some non-public professional services opportunities are also available through the County’s roster programs. These programs streamline the contracting process and give first consideration to emerging and small businesses certified by Central (CERT) Certification Program.

Learn more about:

Facility construction

Current and upcoming opportunities can be viewed in ProcureWare. Register to receive notifications of new opportunities. To learn more:

Transportation construction

Current and upcoming opportunities can be viewed in ProcureWare. Register to receive notifications of new opportunities. To learn more:

Contracting with diverse vendors

We are committed to promoting contract opportunities for small and emerging small businesses (the smallest of the small firms). We use several methods for reducing disparities through contracting. These methods are aligned with legal constraints to make sure our purchasing practices remain fair.

What vendors should know

We look for vendors from small, minority-owned, and women-owned businesses on the Central (CERT) Certification Program. Make sure you are registered.

Setting goals and incentives

For contracts over $100,000 the county may set a goal that a percentage of the contract work be performed by small, minority-owned, or women-owned businesses or add a small business enterprise (SBE) incentive (where vendors can earn more evaluation points based on greater SBE participation). Goals or incentives can be met through self-performance or through sub-contracting a portion of the job to other diverse vendors. Note: Setting goals for minority-owned, or women-owned businesses can only be used if there is documented disparity data.

Before the contract is awarded, the selected vendor must submit a subcontractor utilization plan in the county’s contract compliance system. If they cannot meet goals, they must show they have made good faith efforts.

After the contract begins, the contractor must provide regular subcontractor payment data in the county’s contract compliance system. The county monitors their progress throughout the life of the contract.

Other methods used

Exclusive small business opportunities (sheltered markets)

We limit invitations to SBE and emerging small business enterprises (ESBE), as permitted by state statute.

Roster programs with first consideration given to small businesses

Scaling contract opportunities

We break up large contracts into several smaller contracts, or requiring that specific parts of a large contract are subcontracted to small businesses

Vendor outreach

We offer outreach events to SBE and ESBE firms.

Promoting a diverse vendor workforce

Requiring vendors to have affirmative action plans

For all non-construction contracts over $100,000, the county partners with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights to monitor compliance. Contractors with contracts over $100,000 must apply for a Workforce Certificate of Compliance and submit a copy of their certificate to the county.

For construction contracts over $100,000, contractors are required to submit an affirmative action plan, specific to the project, PRIOR to contract award. An affirmative action plan is a set of goal-oriented management policies and procedures to eliminate barriers to employment and increase retention of minorities and women.

Setting construction workforce goals

Because of the nature of the business, construction workers are hired based on the contracted work being done. This gives the county the opportunity to influence who is hired and have a more immediate impact. This is done by setting contract workforce goals to hire a percentage of female and minority workers. The countywide goals are 32% for minorities and 20% for female workforce participation.

Before the contract is awarded the vendor must submit a workforce plan that shows how they are meeting the goals. After the contract begins, the contractor must provide regular workforce data in the county’s contract compliance system. The county monitors their progress throughout the life of the contract.

Related construction documents

Requiring the use of apprentices on contracts

We have a Workforce Entry Program (WEP), which requires the contractor to use graduates of approved job training programs (apprentices) for a portion of the work or demonstrate it has made good faith efforts to do so. The apprentices gain valuable skills and knowledge while working on county projects. WEP's purpose is consistent with the county's longstanding support of providing unemployed and underemployed individuals the means to earn a better living through jobs training programs.

Providing job training to residents on probation

The Community Productive Day Construction Partnership Program was developed to help county residents on probation or under county supervision gain skills and training to secure meaningful employment in the construction trades. Learn more about the program.

Providing resources for small businesses to grow

We have several support programs to help small businesses increase their capacity and compete for contracts more effectively. Highlighted programs include:

Learn more about the county's small business programs.

Goods and general services

What they are

Goods are materials and equipment including:

  • Uniforms
  • Furniture
  • Office equipment
  • Vehicles

General services are services that can be purchased based on the lowest price including:

  • Snow plowing
  • Lawn maintenance
  • Planting
  • Interpreting
  • Translation
  • Janitorial
  • Electrical

How we buy them

Goods and general services are typically purchased using quotes or formal sealed bids. The contract is awarded based on the lowest quote or to the lowest responsive, responsible bidder.

Human services

What they are

Human services are services to individuals or families to enhance safety, stability, self-reliance, and well-being. For example:

  • Social programs (such as food support, emergency shelter, and cash assistance)
  • Protective services for adults and children
  • Services for persons with disabilities
  • Services for seniors
  • Services for veterans
  • Behavioral and chemical health services
  • Child support
  • Employment services

How we buy them

New service providers are typically added through a competitive vendor selection process. Methods of solicitation include:

  • Requests for Proposals (RFP)
  • Requests for Qualifications (RFQ)
  • Requests for Information (RFI)
  • Solicitations of Interest (SOI)

Contracts are awarded based on evaluation factors included in the solicitation documents, including price. Learn about human services contracting.

Professional services

What they are

Professional services are highly technical services that often involve licensing requirements and require the use of professional discretion in the performance of the contract. Examples include:

  • Architectural
  • Engineering
  • Medical
  • Accounting
  • Auditing
  • Legal
  • Real estate
  • Consulting

How we buy them

A competitive vendor selection process is typically used to purchase professional services. Methods of solicitation include:

  • Requests for Proposals (RFP)
  • Requests for Qualifications (RFQ)
  • Requests for Information (RFI)
  • Solicitations of Interest (SOI)

Contracts are awarded based on evaluation factors included in the solicitation documents, including price.

Facility construction

What they are

Facility construction includes alteration, repair, remodeling, rehabilitation, improvement, extension, conversion or demolition of buildings and other structures.

How we buy them

We purchase these services through formal sealed bids or requests for proposals (RFPs). Bids are awarded based to the lowest responsive, responsible bidder. RFPs are awarded to the vendor whose proposal is most advantageous to the county based on several evaluation factors (including price) included in the solicitation documents.

Construction contracting with Facility Services (VIDN) (YouTube) —This brief video is an introduction to construction contracting with Facility Services. It goes beyond the terms and conditions of the construction contract to help you understand how to manage your project when doing business with Facility Services.

Businesses providing facility construction work or services can introduce themselves to the Facility Services Department at 612-596-6949.

Project safety

We require contract vendors to complete one or more of these forms before starting applicable work:

Bidders should be aware of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency's pre-demolition rule.

Road and bridge construction

What they are

Road and bridge construction services include alteration, repair, remodeling, rehabilitation, improvement, extension, conversion or demolition of roads, bridges, bike paths, and other transportation related structures.

How we buy them

These services are purchased through formal sealed bids and are awarded to the lowest responsive, responsible bidder.

Road and bridge construction businesses can introduce themselves to the Transportation Department at 612-596-0420.

Find an opportunity that seems right for your business on the Supplier Portal or ProcureWare. For an overview of the opportunity, click the event name.

Steps to prepare and submit a bid or proposal

Step 1

Review the important dates and contact information.

Step 2

Carefully review the bid or Request for Proposal (RFP) documents.

Step 3

Let us know you are interested in a bid or RFP to receive notifications of any changes.

Step 4

Attend the pre-bid or pre-proposal meeting that is typically held virtually or at a local library.

  • This is an opportunity for prospective vendors to learn more about the solicitation and to ask clarifying questions.
  • A short presentation is often made to highlight important aspects of the bid or RFP
  • Attending is a good idea, but it is not required.
  • Questions and answers from the meeting are usually captured in an addendum and posted in the online systems.

Step 5

Submit any questions in writing by the date and methods specified in the bid or RFP.

  • All vendor questions and the answers will be posted in an addendum in the online systems.
  • If you indicated you are interested in the bid or RFP, you will receive an email notification when the addendum is posted.
  • Questions asked after the deadline may not get answered.

Step 6

Prepare your bid

Plan ahead and read the bid documents carefully. Every solicitation is different, and the required forms change.

  • Make sure you are registered in the online system a day or two before you are ready to bid.
  • Often you only need to provide pricing for bids in the online systems. Gather that information when you are ready to submit.
  • Bid documents usually require that your unit price includes ALL costs to provide the good or service. Make sure you consider this before determining price.
  • Submit your bid prior to the bid end date. Once the date and time passes, the bid will disappear. You will not be able to submit a bid after that.
  • Complete all required forms. Failure to submit a properly completed form may result in no further consideration of the bid by us. 

Prepare your proposal

Plan ahead and read the RFP documents carefully. Every solicitation is different, and the required forms change.

  • Make sure you are registered in the online system a day or two before you are ready to bid.
  • Proposals take longer to prepare and usually require you to complete documents outside of online system. Plan ahead and allow enough time.
  • A good proposal clearly explains how it meets the technical requirements and demonstrates it is the best solution for the county.
  • Differentiate your proposal from your competitors. General marketing and sales literature may detract from your proposed solution. Your proposal should be creative, not appear as a “canned” response.
  • The order of your proposal contents should follow the order of the requirements in the RFP. This allows the evaluators to know that you have addressed all aspects of the RFP requirements.
  • Complete all required forms. Failure to submit a properly completed form may result in no further consideration of the proposal by the county. 

Step 7

Log in to the online system and complete the bid or proposal. Before submitting, review and acknowledge all addenda. Make sure your bid or proposal responds to any changes.

If you are selected to move forward in the contracting process, we will verify some information about your business. You may be asked to provide additional documentation prior to contract award. These requirements vary by type of contract. If you fail to meet the verification requirements or provide requested documents by the due date, the county may not award you the contract.

Secretary of State registration

Every non-government vendor that contracts with the county must be registered with the Minnesota Secretary of State, regardless of the vendor’s location. Your company must appear as “Active/In Good Standing”.

The legal address where your company is registered is the address that will be listed in the header of your contract.

Debarment checks

There are federal and state requirements that an organization must not be suspended or debarred from doing business with the government. The county will verify this by checking the federal exclusions database and the state debarred vendor report. If your company appears on the list, you will not be awarded a contract.

Signature authority confirmation

Before a contract is awarded, you may be asked to provide documentation showing who has authority to sign contracts for your company. Documentation varies and may depend on how your company is organized (i.e., LLC, corporation, or partnership). Examples of documentation include:

  • A resolution from a board of directors, board of governors, or partnership
  • Corporate bylaws
  • Operating agreement
  • Partnership agreement

Signature authority documentation is not required for a sole proprietor.

Insurance

Vendors must have the appropriate level of insurance in place to enter into a county contract. Standard insurance requirements and terms vary by contract type. Any exemptions or variances to standard insurance requirements must be approved by our County Risk Manager prior to the contract being awarded. Learn more about standard contract terms.

A certificate of insurance will need to be on file with the county before the contract can be fully executed. This level of insurance must be maintained throughout the entire contract term.

Avoid these common certificate errors:

  • Failure to list Hennepin County as additional insured
  • Failure to list Hennepin County as the certificate holder
  • Certificate is not signed by the insurance agency
  • Date on the certificate is not current (should not be older than 2 months from current date)

Diversity and inclusion

Contracts over $100,000 have diversity and inclusion requirements, which vary by contract type. You may be asked to provide documentation that are you meeting the requirements. Learn more about the county’s efforts to reduce disparities through contracting.

Payment and performance bonds

Many construction contracts require payment and performance bonds issued by a licensed surety. Bonds must be:

  • Completed on bond forms provided by Hennepin County,
  • Signed by the surety and an authorized signer for your company,
  • Notarized by a notary public, and
  • Accompanied by a completed power of attorney form.

Upon receipt, the county will verify the bond by emailing the surety.

Additional documentation

Some contracts may also require vendors to submit financial records, proof of licensing, registrations, or employee qualifications.

Contract performance

It is a good idea to reread the contract documents before performing work. Make sure you understand the requirements and have a plan to meet them. For more complicated contracts, the county may schedule a kick-off meeting with you to facilitate staff introductions and review the key elements of the contract.

Good communication is key to a successful contracting relationship. Make sure to check in with your county contract manager, meet contract deadlines, and submit any reporting requirements on time.

Getting paid

Before contract award, you may be asked to submit a W-9 to us. The county uses the information on this form to make payments to the vendor and report those payments to the IRS when required. After a contract is awarded, the county will issue a purchase order. A purchase order is required for almost all purchases. Invoices should reference the county’s purchase order number. Learn more about getting paid.

Goods and general services

Bid documents, along with the winning vendor’s bid, become the contract document. Bid documents include:

Professional services

Standard terms and conditions (PDF) 

Human services 

Contracting guide (PDF)

Facility construction

AIA 201 — General conditions (PDF)

Road and bridge construction

Standard terms and conditions (PDF)

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