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Government Contracting in Massachusetts

If you are interested in bidding with the state of Massachusetts, there are a few things that you should familiarize yourself with to be competitive in the bidding process. will have you ready with the bidding information for each subdivision of Massachusetts government. However, you should be knowledgeable about this particular state’s processes, which all the counties, cities, etc usually follow.


Unlike many of the other state procurement departments, Massachusetts does not have a vendor registration process. You are officially an authorized vendor once you have responded to an open bid. Every business in good standing is able to submit proposals for bids; however, the state of Massachusetts does have a special program for historically underrepresented businesses. The Affirmative Market Program (AMP) was established to promote equality in state contracting for minority and women-owned business. If your business fits into one of these categories, you can find many helpful resources to guide you in your quest to do business with Massachusetts.


Before you begin the bidding process, you should become comfortable with COMM Pass. Massachusetts uses COMM Pass, a state generated, procurement and solicitation database where you will be able to submit proposals and download documents. Additionally, the website allows you to find Quick Quotes and inactive contracts, which means you can check out who won previous bids and size up the competition. 

Each of the bids listed has six tabs of information that are necessary for you to understand:


  • Summary – this section will tell you important details from when the bid opened, the type of bid, and the required qualifications for bidding.
  • Rules – this tab provides information about how the bid should be submitted. For instance, some government agencies require that bid packages be mailed rather than submitted online.
  • Issuers – here you will learn exactly which procurement officer sent out the bid and how to read them by phone, email, and mail.
  • Forms – the full bid documentation including any addendums that have been added.
  • Specifications – more information about the bid location or agency conducting the bidding process. In the case of a contracting job, the specifications tab would have the job plans.
  • Other Information –  here you will find any additional documentation or qualifications that were not previously listed here.



The Bidding Process


Request for Response (RFR) – the Procurement team for specific agencies prepare this document to let sellers, like you, know that they are interested in goods or services. In the RFR, you will be provided with all the information you need to know about the bidding process: bid due date, what is being purchased and how much the state paid previously for the product or service.


After the bidding process has started with the release of a RFR, bidders are able to submit questions about the bid document and there may even be a bidders’ meeting. If there is a bidders’ meeting, you will be able to meet the Procurement Team in person and go over any questions you may have with them.
On your own, you will complete the bid document and fill in any questions asked of you. Be sure to check over the documents to ensure you have completed it.


Once the bid date finally arrives, you will be evaluated against other bidders who have submitted proposals. It is the state of Massachusetts’ policy to not review late proposals and it stands that even a minute late will put you out of the running. The bidding process can be a long one, considering the number of bids out in general and how many people respond to your particular bid. It is possible that you will be contacted by Procurement officers during the evaluation to ask follow-up questions or clarify your documents. Additionally, depending on your industry, the officers may request samples, tours, or an in person presentation. The process is definitely not always over when you send in your completed RFR.

When a decision has been reached, it will be posted on COMM PASS and, most likely, you will be notified in writing if you have been selected.


If you grasped the aforementioned information, you should be ready to start submitting bids to the state of Massachusetts. Additionally, you can visit the Operational Services Division’s Training Page, which includes guidebooks on procurement, FAQs, and a detailed schedule of upcoming training events. You can also check out the links below for additional information that will ensure you are leading the pack.


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