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provided at absolutely no cost
to public agencies and private firms
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FAQs

Questions / Answers

Can PennBid be used for Private or Invitation-Only bids?

Yes – with a mouse click, your solicitation can be changed from “Public” to “Private – By-Invitation-Only”

Can the Program be used for multi-prime bids or bids with bids with alternates?

Yes — this scenario is very common for construction projects.

Does Program complete the math for the bidders?

Yes — for line items bids, bidders enter their per unit cost and the system automatically calculates their line extensions and base bid totals.

Can an "Incomplete Bid" be submitted?

No — Bidders MUST provide cost information and responded to agencies acknowledgments prior to the Program allowing the bid to be submitted.

Can awards be divided between multiple vendors?

Yes — Line item and lump sum bids can be awarded among multiple vendors.

When are bid results displayed?

The Agency manager determines when and what information is displayed about the solicitation and award. In most cases, bid results are publicly displayed within a few minutes following bid opening.

How is addenda acknowledged and tracked?

PennBid date and time stamps when the bidder downloads addenda (along with all other documents) and this information is available within the Log of the solicitation. Also, if desired, bidders’ addenda acknowledgement can be made a requirement of the bid submittal process.

How is addenda managed?

Addenda is posted within the Documents tab of the solicitation. All potential bidders or planholders are then sent an Addenda message that contains a link to your solicitation documents. This entire process takes just a minutes and a few mouse clicks.

How are questions communicated with bidders?

Two ways — Every question and answer can be emailed directly to every bidder (with just two mouse clicks) and all Q&A's can be displayed publicly within your solicitation.

Must I monitor PennBid to know when a question has been asked?

No — When a bidder asks a question, the solicitation manager receives an email containing the question.

If I use the program for a private bid, can other bidders see the solicitation?

No — Only invited bidders have awareness of or access to these solicitations.

Can I select who they want to bid on my solicitation?

Yes — The posting manager can select a "private" bid and invite specific bidders

Can bidders be screened based on qualifications?

Yes — Agencies establish their own expectations and qualifications for bidders, exactly as they have in the past.

Can bidders provide documents to others?

Yes — bidders can download documents and send them to subcontractors and suppliers.

What documents are available to the bidders?

All posted Bid Documents, such as specifications, bid forms, pre-qualifications, and plans are available to the vendors, contractors, and subs.

How long does it take to post a solicitation for proposal or bid?

From start to finish, a full solicitation for proposal or bid can be posted in 15—30 minutes.

Can events such as a pre-bid meeting be scheduled using PennBid?

Yes — Pre-bid meetings, site walk downs, and any other event or meeting can be schedule in a matter of seconds within the Events tab. This information, including if it is Mandatory or Registration required will appear on the first screen that the potential bidders see.

What do vendors / bidders think of electronic bidding?

The bidding community is very supportive as there are many benefits from their perspective. The ability to have access to all documents without wasting time driving, having to purchase plans and specs, being automatically notified of opportunities that match their products and services, timely addenda receipt sent, and being able to update bids multiple times, are all valuable, resulting in better pricing for the agency.

Do we need to make IT changes?

No — PennBid is a "hosted services". No changes or additions are needed for either the posting manager or bidding community. All that is needed is a connection to the internet.

How does PennBid help with communication?

— Regardless of the number of bidders for a solicitation, communication with all takes just a mouse click. PennBid can send individual messaging directly from agency to bidders and planholders for answering questions and issuing addenda. No more looking up names, verifying email addresses and fax numbers, or calling to verify addenda receipt.

— Responding to questions from bidders is very strait forward. You respond one time and both the question and answer can be automatically sent to all bidders. Additionally, all Q&A's stay with the solicitation and can be viewed at any time by all bidders. This is especially helpful for a late bidder.

How much does the Apex Bid Programs Cost its users?

The Apex Bid Programs are provided at absolutely no cost to public agencies, private firms, and vendors. Only vendors who are awarded contracts are assessed a modest, capped fee of 1/4% for fixed fee contracts or 1/8% of contract value for "Term" contracts. This equates to $100 for every $40,000 or $80,000 of contract award. There is a minimum award fee of $100 and a maximum of $5,000.

Can our engineering firm be included in PennBid?

Yes – Engineering and design firms are provided full access for procurement management and bidding of Agency projects, again, at no cost.

What is the expected savings using PennBid?

Overall time and cost is reduced by 80% compared to paper solicitations. Typically agencies save around 3-6% of total bid value.

What types of proposals can be competitively bid using PennBid?

Any solicitation and request-for-proposals, ranging from multi- prime construction project and equipment rental to office supplies and professional services.

All forms of online bids are supported by the PennBid including RFPs, Lump Sum, Line Item, and combination.

Can all departments within our Agency use PennBid?

Yes — the Program can be used for any request-for-quotation or request-for-proposal, regardless of department. The same system can be used by Public Works, Engineering, Public Safety, Authorities, Admin., and School Systems

Do Agencies manage their own bid proposals?

Asolutely! Each agency is given unique pass-code protected access to set-up and manages their solicitations individually.

How will my agency benefit from PennBid?

PennBid was originally designed through the collaborative efforts of 24 Pennsylvania municipal agencies and Authorities to streamline and significantly reduce the cost of procurement and bid solicitations. The program is a secure internet based system for managing many aspects of the procurement process, specifically; document distribution, notification and communications with vendors / bidders, addenda management, receipt and tabulation of the bids and awarding of contracts. Currently over 450 agencies and private firms use the Program for their bids and solicitations.