​Frequently Asked Questions

1. Who is in charge of buying for Howard County Government? 
Howard County has centralized purchasing; the Office of Purchasing 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 Purchasing
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 Purchasing at 410-313-6370 to find out how to update your information. You may be asked to forward a new IRS Form W-9.


10. When will my invoice be paid?
Questions regarding invoice payment should be directed to the ordering person or the Department of Finance at 410-313-4050.


11. Who should I contact in the Office of Purchasing to obtain information concerning current contracts such as the expiration date, incumbent vendor or contract administrator? 

For information regarding current contracts, please refer to our Current Contracts report. To find further information on a specific contract, please call the main number at 410-313-6370 and ask to speak with the assigned buyer.


12. What number can I call to get more information about the Office of Purchasing?
To receive general information regarding the Office of Purchasing, please call the main number at 410-313-6370.


13. How can I learn more about bid opportunities for other governmental entities?
You may access websites for other governmental entities by clicking: LINKS TO OTHER JURISDICTIONS.


14. Unable to find your question or answer here?
Please email purchasing@howardcountymd.gov or call us (410) 313-6370.