This guide is designed to assist you in understanding the basic procedures of centralized purchasing in Howard County Government. Howard County welcomes vendors to do business with the County and will provide any assistance and information that may help you to better understand our procedures.
Howard County Government seeks to fulfill its needs for commodities and services through open competitive bidding wherever practical and possible.
The Legal Environment
Howard County Government is bound by purchasing laws which are set forth in the Howard County Charter, the Howard County Code and the Purchasing Manual. These publications are available for review at the Office of Purchasing.
Who Purchases for Howard County
The Office of Purchasing is responsible for procuring all commodities and services required by Howard County Government. This office also administers the procurement of professional services and construction for capital projects. All purchasing contact with County Government agencies must be made through the Office of Purchasing located at:
6751 Columbia Gateway Dr.
Columbia, MD 21046
Phone (410) 313-6370
Fax (410) 313-6388
TTY (410) 313-2323
Visiting County Offices
Vendor sales efforts to a county agency are not prohibited and may be the best way to achieve small sales (i.e., sales less than $10,000). County agencies often request product and service information to keep current with the latest technologies, materials, sources of supply, etc. Furnishing sales literature or other product information is considered normal sales effort. However, such requests do not imply that you will receive an agency's order. Depending on a number of conditions, an agency's final requirement may result in a solicitation being issued by the Office of Purchasing.
Similar to sales visits, product demonstrations are considered normal sales efforts. Vendors often have a product or service that may be of interest to many agencies within Howard County government. In this case, the Office of Purchasing can make arrangements for "product demonstrations" where a number of similar vendor products or services may be demonstrated in one central location (similar to a "product expo"). You should contact the appropriate buyer for additional information.
How to Do Business with Howard County Government
Suppliers are encouraged to frequently view our Current Solicitations for formal bid opportunities. Suppliers may also want to register on PlanetBids Vendor Portal and eMaryland Marketplace Advantage (eMMA). Howard County does not maintain a Bidder's List.
Formal solicitations for commodities, contractual services, professional services and Capital Projects are advertised on this website. To view, please click on Current Solicitations on the left side of this page.
The Howard County Office of Purchasing subscribes to the Code of Ethics of the National Institute of Governmental Purchasing, Inc. and is a charter member of the Maryland Public Purchasing Association, Inc. Further, acceptance of gifts or gratuities of any kind is prohibited by governmental purchasing ethics, Howard County Charter Sec. 901, and Howard County Code Sec. 22.204.
It is the policy of Howard County to encourage participation in the Equal Business Opportuni