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Doing Business with the County

Supplier's Guide

We appreciate your interest and hope this brief guide will be of benefit to you as a new supplier or as one of our many present suppliers. Our aim is to be helpful to you in your sales effort and to promote a climate of fair, competitive, and transparent business relationships with the County of Sonoma. This pamphlet will outline our purchasing procedures and our policies affecting purchasing. Whenever you need more information, please ask us.

Purchasing Organization Responsibilities

It is the purpose and responsibility of the Purchasing Division to maintain continuity of services and supplies to support the various County departments and agencies that enable them to provide their services to the public; to purchase at the lowest cost consistent with the quality needed for the efficient performance of County activities. Purchasing has an obligation to the citizens of Sonoma County to obtain the maximum value for the money we spend, and to provide reliable service. The Purchasing Division is also responsible for the disposal of surplus property.


Purchasing services for all County departments are centralized under the Purchasing Division. Suppliers are encouraged to contact the Purchasing Division Buyers to discuss the County's requirements for specific products.

The Purchasing Division is organized by commodity buying groups. Each commodity is assigned a responsible Buyer. The knowledge and efficiency of the Buyers are increased by the regular exposure to new products and technology offered by suppliers.

What the County Buys

It is helpful to look at the functions of the County in determining what it must purchase to meet its needs. The County provides a variety of services including:

  • Administrative, Support and Fiscal Services Support
  • Criminal Justice
  • Human Services
  • Economic Development Services
  • Institutions and Health Facilities
  • Parks and Grounds
  • Car and Truck Fleets
  • Public Works Construction and Highways
  • Water Agency
  • Permits and various licenses

The list of purchasing requirements for the operations of the County of Sonoma is extensive. Thousands of products and services are purchased annually for the continuing conduct of County business. By acquainting our Buyers with your product and registering in the Supplier Portal, you can help ensure you do not miss an opportunity to quote on future bids for the type of product you offer.

Suppliers' calling hours are 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM. Appointments are encouraged and can be made by calling (707) 565-2433 between 8:00 AM and 5:00 PM Monday through Friday.


Many suppliers furnish catalogs of their products. These are maintained in the Purchasing Division for use by all County departments. Suppliers are required to keep their catalogs updated on a frequent basis. The Purchasing Division will dispose of any outdated catalogs.

Recycled Products

The County of Sonoma is committed to the procurement and use of recycled, recyclable and reusable products that contribute to the conservation and protection of resources necessary to maintain a quality environment. It is our commitment to help expand the market for recycled products and to serve as a model for private purchasers. To this end, we seek every opportunity to promote the County's interest and to give preference for the purchase of recycled products.

Policies and Procedures

Bids: It is the County's policy to obtain competitive bids whenever possible. Online bids are the primary means of obtaining prices; phone quotations are solicited when practical. All online bids are due on the date and time specified on the bid. Emergency purchases may be made without the use of the public notice or sealed bid procedure. Most awards are made on a low bid meeting the specifications. Such considerations as delivery time, cash discounts (over 30 days), and supplier experience, among other factors, may be also considered in award of a purchase order or contract.

Often a supplier will expend considerable time and money in presenting their product to an individual County Department with the hope of making a sale. If this is done, remember that the purchase will eventually be made by competitive bids and what is spent for expensive designs, demonstrations and layouts does not guarantee an order, nor does the County of Sonoma reimburse for time and effort. Specifications prepared by County Departments are carefully reviewed by Purchasing to eliminate undue restrictions and other limitations which unnecessarily reduce competition. The purchase will eventually be made from the lowest responsible and responsive bidder meeting these objective specifications. Help that may be offered to a Department in developing purchase requests cannot be considered when we make the purchase. It is recommended that if you are called upon to provide expensive pre-purchase services that you consider contracting separately for this service.

Bid Lists: The County of Sonoma uses an online purchasing system for bidding and issuing purchase orders. Suppliers are responsible for maintaining their own registration file and for choosing which bid opportunities (specific goods and services) they want to be notified (emailed) about. Go to Supplier Portal and register if you haven't done so. Suppliers must be registered to submit a bid.