Procurement Procedures and Information

Electronic Procurement

Polk County Invitations to Bid, Requests for Quotes, Requests for Proposals, and Requests for Qualifications are open to the general public and will be posted and administered via BidNet Direct at

Vendors of goods and services interested in obtaining information regarding specific solicitations and/or intending to submit a response will be required to register as a BidNet Direct vendor via the link above.  There is no cost to register or to submit responses to Polk County solicitations.

Procurement Methods

Requests for Quotations (Informal)          

Competitive quotes will be used to obtain best value products on smaller cost items ($10,000-$49,999 total cost) such as food, office supplies and equipment, custodial supplies, special printing needs, and other miscellaneous items. Purchase orders are issued by the buyers.  

Requests for Proposal (Formal) and Invitation for Bid (Formal)   

Request for Proposal (RFP) and Invitation for Bid (IFB) are procurement methods used to procure a variety of products and services ($50,000 +) on higher cost purchases, services, and/or construction projects following the State of Iowa Code and Polk County internal policies. All RFPs and IFBs will be posted for the public via the Polk County Procurement page on BidNet Direct; All responses shall be submitted on BidNet Direct as specified in the RFP or IFB.  The RFP or IFB a must be received NO LATER than the date and time stated as the due date and time of the proposal.   

Public Improvement Projects        

All public improvement projects (also referred to as capital improvement projects) with an anticipated cost of $100,000 or more require special procedures as outlined in Sections 73A, 384.95-384.105 and 573 of the Iowa State Code.   

State Contract Use

  • Polk County is eligible to buy from contracts established by the State of Iowa or any other local government entity. Because the County buys these items from state contracts, there will be few bidding opportunities available for the following items:
    • Computers
    • Copiers
    • Fax Machines
    • Printers
    • Recycling of Light Bulbs


Gratuity Policy        

In order to maintain integrity and to continue to foster ethical and equal opportunity among the business community, County employees are prohibited from accepting any gratuities, in any form, from any supplier or potential supplier either directly or indirectly.       

Sales Rep. Office Visit Policy        

Sales representatives are essential in establishing lines of communications between suppliers and the Procurement Office in regards to state of the art advancements or product improvements, in resolving problems with products and services, billing and payment difficulties, etc. However, due to the high volume of procurements conducted and limited staff time, meetings will be limited to suppliers of products and/or services on current or upcoming scheduled procurements only, or at the request of Procurement Office staff.  Any information that could be evaluation criteria provided to the county outside of a requested quote or formal bid may exclude that supplier from contracting with the county.

Polk County Board of Supervisors Policy Statement        

It shall be the purchasing policy of Polk County to allow the Polk County Board of Supervisors the discretion of showing preference in purchasing goods and services from vendors who produce goods or maintain an office in Iowa.  Preference may also be given to goods produced in Polk County or to vendors maintaining an office in Polk County.  Further, it shall be the policy of Polk County to actively solicit and seek out local vendors of goods and services and to encourage said vendors to stock and supply Iowa-made products.       

Discrimination and Affirmative Action        

Vendor shall comply with the provisions of federal, state, and local laws and regulations to insure that no employee or applicant for employment is discriminated against because of race, religion, color, age, sex, national origin, or disability.  Vendor shall have an affirmative action plan and shall provide the County with reports required to insure compliance with equal employment legislation and regulations if requested.  Vendor shall insure that all authorized sub-vendors comply with the provisions of this clause.

A copy of the Bidder’s “Affirmative Action Plan” must be made available to Polk County upon request.

Fair and Open Quotes and Proposals       

No quotes, specifications, nor performance proposals shall be presented by a vendor to any Polk County employee and/or other suppliers prior to bid opening. No attempt shall been made by any vendor to induce any person or firm to submit, not to submit, adjust pricing, and/or provide pre-bid specifications in any manner that may be viewed as limiting fair and open competition. Any information deemed to be part of the selection process that is presented to any Polk County employee and/or other suppliers prior to bid opening may eliminate that supplier from submitting a response on a specific project and/or may bar the supplier from bidding/contracting with the county on future business. 

Bond Requirements

Payment and Performance Bonds

Iowa law requires that a contractor on a public project furnish a payment and performance bond. Contracts for the construction of a public improvement shall, when the estimated contract price exceeds $25,000, be accompanied by a bond, with surety, conditioned for Public Owners’ Guide to Legal Issues on the Bidding and Award of Construction Contracts in Iowa 12 the faithful performance of the contract, and for fulfillment of other requirements as provided by law i.e., payment of subcontractors and suppliers. (Iowa Code Section 573.2) The payment bond protects subcontractors and suppliers in the event the contractor does not pay them. A performance bond protects the owner in the event the contractor does not complete the project. Generally, payment and performance bonds are combined on one form.

Bid Bonds

The Iowa Code requires bid bonds for most public projects. A bid bond is a bond that is posted by a bidder at bid time. Should the bidder be tendered the contract but refuse to sign, the owner may forfeit the bond. (Iowa Code Section 26.8) The amount of the bond shall be not be less than five percent and not more than ten percent of the estimated cost of the project. (Iowa Code Section 26.8) Normally the information for bidders contains any bid bond requirements.

For more information on internal policies, please see:

Best Practices Procurement Manu

Internal Procurement Policies

Vendor Qualification Form