​Frequently Asked Questions

1. Who is in charge of buying for Howard County Government? 
Howard County has centralized purchasing; the Office of Procurement and Contract Administration is responsible for procuring all goods and services required by Howard County Government (excluding Howard County Public Schools, Howard Community College and Howard County Library). Links to the schools, community college and other procurement jurisdictions are available here:


2. What are the County's thresholds for issuing solicitations?
See VENDOR GUIDE, Procurement Procedures.


3. How can I get on the County's bid list for construction contracts?
The County does not maintain a bidders list. Bid opportunities are publicized on this website, eMaryland Marketplace Advantage, and our ebidding platform PlanetBids.


4. How can I find out about current bid opportunities in the County?
Current formal solicitations are posted on Purchasing’s website under CURRENT SOLICITATIONS.


5. Do I have to read the entire solicitation package, including all the attachments and fine print?
Yes, read the solicitation documents thoroughly so you understand them and can comply with all the instructions and conditions. Improperly completed bids/proposals may be considered non-responsive. Please submit your bid/proposal well in advance of the deadline because late bids/proposals will be rejected.


6. Can I attend bid/proposal openings?
Yes. At the dates and times noted in solicitations, the County will publicly open all timely bids/proposals at the following location:

Howard County Office of Procurement and Contract Administration
Gateway Building
6751 Columbia Gateway Drive, Suite 226

Columbia, MD 21046


7. How can I obtain bid results?
Bid results may be obtained on this website under BID RESULTS, or on PlanetBids.


8. Do you have any preferences or set-asides for minority or women-owned business?
The County does not have preferences or set-asides for minority or women-owned businesses. However, the County does have a 15% Equal Business Opportunity subcontracting goal for any contract exceeding $50,000.00 annually in value that can only be met by using certified minority, women, veteran or disabled owned businesses. The County also has a certification program for minority, women or disabled owned businesses. The Equal Business Opportunity Program Coordinator will be happy to provide information on how to compete for County business, and can be reached at 410-313-3694.


9. What should I do if there is a change in my company’s status, such as a change in ownership, business name, address, contact information or Taxpayer Identification Number?
Changes in your business could have an impact on our obligation to report information to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). You may call the Office of Procurement and Contract Administration at 410-313-6370 to find out how to update your information. You may be asked to forward a new IRS Form W-9.