A Guide For Vendors

The following information has been prepared to help you become better acquainted with us and our policies and procedures. Purchasing policies are approved by the board of supervisors. If you need additional information, or have questions about our policies and procedures, please direct them to the Purchasing Department staff who are ready to assist.

How Does the Imperial County Purchasing Department Buy?

The Purchasing Department buys almost exclusively through a competitive process. The techniques and procedures vary depending on the nature of the materials or services to be purchased, however all procedures for these purchases are designed to encourage maximum competition. Purchasing records are available for public inspection at our office, upon request.

Where estimated costs are below $50,000, bids may consist of telephone or written quotations. Where estimated costs are $50,000 and over, sealed bids are typically solicited. Specific forms are supplied and must be used and signed. Bids are due at a specified time and are opened publicly.

How to Get Started?

If you wish to do business with Imperial County, you are encouraged to register online. Upon completion of the vendor registration, you will receive information about solicitations for applicable products and services.

Local Vendor Preference

A local preference of 10% for qualifying Imperial County businesses will be permitted when evaluating bids for supplies, equipment, materials and personal services that are not of a public project. Please visit our website for details.

Some Things to Know

Make your sales investment wisely. Sometimes a vendor may devote considerable time and money to presenting a product to an individual County Department in hopes of making a sale. If you do this, remember that the purchase may eventually be made by competitive bid. All specifications are carefully reviewed by the Purchasing Department to eliminate undue restrictions or other limitations unnecessarily reducing competition. The purchase will eventually be made from the lowest responsible vendor meeting these objective specifications. Your investment of time or other resources that you provided the County in delivering their purchase request cannot be considered in the award process.

What We Need and Expect from our Vendors
  • Dependable products, service and delivery.
  • Service work competed on schedule.
  • Competitive pricing.
  • Good communication with buyers to keep them informed on new products and changes within the vendor organizations.
  • Opportunity for buyers to visit vendor facilities to increase their knowledge of products, personnel and operations.
  • Suggestions for substituting products or material of equal performance to reduce cost.
  • Settlement of warranty claims on a timely basis.
Ethical Standards

It is the policy of Imperial County to promote integrity and guard against even the appearance of impropriety by prescribing the following essential standards of ethical conduct:

County employees shall discharge their duties impartially so as to assure fair competitive access to governmental procurement by responsible vendors, and to foster public confidence in the integrity of the County procurement system.

County employees shall not solicit, demand, accept or agree to accept a gratuity or an offer of employment in connection with any decision, approval, disapproval, recommendation, or preparation of any part of a project requirement, specification standard or contract.

County employees shall not participate directly or indirectly in a procurement where there is an actual or potential conflict of interest.

Insurance and Bonding Requirements

Insurance and bonding requirements vary, depending on the product or service being purchased. While there are cases when bid bonds, payment bonds or performance bonds are required by statute or by policy, Imperial County is committed to the prudent use of bonds. In the event there is a bonding requirement, it will be stipulated in the Request for Quotation or Request for Proposal.

What the County Buys

Imperial County serves approximately 180,000 residents from its border with Riverside County to the Arizona state line and Mexico to the south. Cities within the County include seven cities (Brawley, Calexico, Calipatria, El Centro, Holtville, Imperial and Westmorland) and eight unincorporated communities (Bombay Beach, Heber, Niland, Ocotillo, Palo Verde, Salton City, Seeley and Winterhaven). It is helpful to look at the functions of the County in order to understand what it must purchase to fill its needs. The County is responsible for:

  • Maintenance of buildings and facilities which require janitorial supplies and equipment, plumbing and electrical products, lights and control, HVAC equipment, office machines and supplies, and filing, printing and mailing equipment;
  • Offices which require furniture, computers and related equipment, telecommunications equipment, office machines and supplies, and filing, printing and mailing equipment;
  • Institutions which require personal and professional services, laboratory and medical supplies and equipment, clothing, bedding, food and food-processing items;
  • Parks and grounds which require landscape maintenance equipment, fencing, seed, plantings, and fertilizer;
  • Car and truck fleets which require fuel and lubricants, replacement parts, tires, batteries, and body and engine servicesRoads and highways which require road materials, signs, markers and heavy equipment;
  • Law enforcement and public safety operations which require communications equipment, firearms and ammunition, fire apparatus, rescue equipment, forensic investigation supplies, emergency medical and safety supplies, and boat parts; and
  • Design and construction of buildings, roads, and facilities which require architectural, engineering and environmental services, and construction services.
Fair Contracting Policy 

Any actual or prospective vendor or contractor who is aggrieved in connection with the solicitation or award of a contract may appeal to the Purchasing Agent as prescribed in the Purchasing Manual available on the Purchasing Department website.

All bids must be made without any previous understanding, agreement or connection with any person, firm or corporation making a bid for the same project and is in all respects fair, without outside control, collusion, fraud or otherwise illegal action.

The County reserves the right to take any action available if it discovers inappropriate or illegal actions by a vendor, including but not limited to, a determination that the vendor should be declared non-responsible and/or non-responsive, and/or suspension or debarment of the vendor.