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Federal and Local Procurement

Massachusetts State and Local governments are continuously providing work and jobs to small businesses within the Commonwealth. One way that our government does this, is through a procurement process.

What is a procurement? 

Governments, similar to private companies, have to buy goods and services for their operational needs. Public procurement refers to the process by which governments and state-owned enterprises purchase goods and services from the private sector. The process begins when an entity/organization needs to obtain goods or services from an external supplier. They will identify the requirements needed, then post their criteria.

There are several ways for the procurement process to work. The following table illustrates different types of procurements.

How does a procurement work?
  • A procurement starts when an entity/organization needs to obtain goods or services from an external supplier. 

  • The entity/organization identifies the requirements for the services or goods needed.  

  • The entity would then post their requirements to solicit these goods and services.  


There are several ways for the procurement process to work. Here is an overview of the types of procurements you would see in government.

Request For (RF)

Invitation for prospective suppliers to bid on service

Gathers information for potential suppliers

Document posted to elicit bids from potential vendors

It is not a binding agreement

Used for major IT purchases

Usually precedes RFP or request for offer


(Request for bid)


(Request for info)


(Request for proposal)


(Request for quotation)


(Request for tender)

Also called “invitation to bid”

Specifies evaluation criteria

Used for complex IT projects or to boost competition

Document eliciting quotes for a product or service

Seeks itemized list of prices

Used for simpler IT projects

Invitation for suppliers to submit sealed bid

Specifies services and timeframe

Usually expected to conform to legally standardized structured

Massachusetts Operation Services Division provides a procurement record system called COMMBUYS. This platform connects businesses with MA’s government. It includes:

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