Doing Business with Caroline County
We know it can be hard to do business with government, particularly for small businesses. The purchasing process often is filled with difficult-to-understand bid documents, complex rules, paperwork, and red tape. We try to make the experience of doing business with the County as simple and straightforward as possible.
Every dollar we spend comes from taxpayers. Our purchasing philosophy is to maximize the return on this investment. That basic philosophy shapes our approach to purchasing everything from paper clips to heavy equipment costing hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Caroline County does not have an Office of Purchasing. While the County Administrator serves as the County’s purchasing officer, most routine purchasing is done by the County’s department heads.
Caroline County Purchasing Manual
The Caroline County Purchasing System is to ensure that the taxpayers of Caroline County receive full return on the investment of tax dollars; that Caroline County government operates openly, efficiently, and effectively in public purchasing; that vendors and potential vendors are treated fairly; and that local businesses are given the opportunity to provide goods and services that are both cost effective and in the County's interest. You can review the Caroline County Purchasing Manual here: Purchasing Manual
- Up to $1,000, quotes or bids are encouraged by not required.
- Over $1,000 up to $5,000, at least three verbal bids are required, which must be documented.
- Over $5,000 up to $20,000, at least three written quotes or bids are required.
- Over $20,000 up to $40,000, at least three written proposals are required.
- Over $40,000, at least three sealed bids are required.
Commonly Used Terms
- Piggyback: The decision of the County or other local government to use the results of a competitive bid process to enter into a contract or to purchase goods and/or services.
- Purchase Order: A formal authorization issued by the Finance Department to vendors, committing the County to buy the goods or services as described on the form. It also defines quantity, delivery date, and price.
- Request for Bids (RFB): This is the most informal purchasing process. An RFB can be a verbal or written request for a potential vendor to provide a bid or quote for specific good or service.
- Request for Proposals (RFP): This is a formal request for potential vendors to provide proposals for specific goods and/or services.
- Request for Qualifications (RFQ): This is a formal solicitation normally for professional services like engineering or consulting. Firms submit proposals and are rated on technical expertise, experience, and the ability to complete assigned work in a timely manner.
- Sole Source: The decision to purchase a good or service from a vendor without a competitive bid process.
One of our goals is to keep Caroline County tax dollars in Caroline County, while ensuring that we secure the best possible value for our taxpayers. When we receive comparable bids, we may give preference to local firms.
Caroline County is committed to ensuring that all business enterprises will be afforded full opportunity to submit bid responses and will not be subjected to discrimination on the basis of race, gender, ethnicity, age, disability, or national origin.
Caroline County is exempt from all Federal excise and State sales taxes. An exemption certificate will be executed by the Finance Department upon request.