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Vendor Guide

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The purpose of this guide is to help potential vendors understand National City’s purchasing practices and to answer general questions about doing business with the City.  The City purchases a wide variety of materials, equipment and services using a centralized purchasing division managed by the Purchasing Agent.  City purchasing policies comply with all City, State, and Federal regulations.

Please click on the link below for the information



The City’s fiscal year runs from July 1st through June 30th.  Budgets are set to correspond with the fiscal year.  The City enters a quote/bid process believing that funds are available for the purchase.  However, depending on cost and budget availability at the time, the City may or may not make an award.  The City’s obligation for payment of any contract beyond the current fiscal year is contingent upon the availability of funding from which payment can be made. 


The process for awarding a contract for a ‘public’ project is defined by the California Public Contract code, and not by the City’s Purchasing Ordinance.  Specifications and bidding procedures for major construction and improvements of public buildings, streets, drains, sewers, utilities, parks or playgrounds are the responsibility of the Engineering Department



1243 National City Blvd.
National City, CA 91950


2100 Hoover Avenue
National City, CA 91950

Phone  (619) 336-4570
Fax  (619) 336-4597


Unless instructed otherwise on the Purchase Order, all deliveries should be made to the Purchasing Warehouse, at 2100 Hoover Avenue, National City, CA 91950.  Whenever possible, please provide lift-gate trucks, if needed, since a fork lift is not always available at the delivery location.   Deliveries are accepted Monday through Thursday only, due to our work hours.  See ‘Hours of Operation’ link above.


Purchasing Department employees subscribe to these ‘Standards of Purchasing Practice’ as outlined by the California Association for Public Purchasing Professionals (CAPPO):

  • To regard public service as a sacred trust, giving primary consideration to the interests of the public agency that employs us.
  • To purchase without prejudice, seeking to obtain the maximum value for each dollar spent.
  • To avoid unfair practices, giving all qualified vendors equal opportunity.
  • To honor our obligations and require that obligations to our public agency be honored.
  • To accord vendor representatives courteous treatment, remembering that these representatives are important sources of information and assistance in solving our purchasing needs.
  • To refuse to accept any form of commercial bribery and prevent any appearance of so doing.
  • To be receptive to counsel from our colleagues and to cooperate with them to promote a spirit of teamwork and unity.
  • To conduct ourselves with fairness and dignity and to demand honesty and truth in the purchasing process.
  • To strive for greater knowledge of purchasing methods and of the materials we purchase.
  • To cooperate with all organizations and individuals involved in activities designed to enhance the development of the purchasing profession, remembering that our actions reflect on the entire purchasing professions.


The City maintains a strict policy prohibiting its employees from accepting gifts and/or gratuities from any supplier or potential supplier. We greatly appreciate your consideration with this policy.


Most City departments operate on a 4/10 work schedule.  Our hours are:  Monday-Thursday:  7:00am-6:00pm.  City offices (except Public Safety) are closed on Fridays. 


Vendors performing work on City property must sign the City’s Agreement and provide proof of insurance.  The amount and type of insurance may vary depending on the project.  An example of insurance requirements may be: 

  • Auto Insurance with a minimum of $1,000,000 combined single limit per accident.  This policy must include ‘any’ vehicle, and must be endorsed to name the City of National City as an additional insured.  The actual endorsement must be provided.
  • Commercial General Liability Insurance, with minimum limits of $1,000,000 per occurrence and $2,000,000 aggregate.  This policy must be endorsed to name the City of National City as an additional insured. The actual endorsement must be provided.
  • Worker’s Comp Insurance covering all of its employees and volunteers, plus employer’s liability coverage of $1,000,000 per accident.
  • Professional Liability Insurance may be required depending on the type of service, with minimum limits of $1,000,000 per occurrence.

Purchase Order numbers must appear on all invoices, packing slips and all other correspondence relevant to the order.  The City’s standard payment terms are Net 30, however we will take advantage of early payment discounts of no less than Net 20, when offered.  Payments will be released after delivery and acceptance of an order, and receipt of an original invoice.  Invoices should be sent to the Finance Department, Attention: Accounts Payable.


A National City Business License is required for all vendors doing business with the City of National City.  For more information, contact our Business License division.  A copy of your Contractor’s License must be submitted for all services performed on City property.


The City is committed to providing maximum opportunities for local National City businesses.   For more information, see Tax Incentives for Local Vendors, and Bid Opportunities .

We encourage all under-represented businesses to participate in the purchasing process.


The Purchasing Division is open for visits from Monday through Thursday only, due to the City’s work schedule (described under ‘Hours of Operation’).  An appointment will ensure that the Purchasing Agent is available to see you, and that there is enough time to become familiar with your products/services, and to answer your questions.


Purchasing Division employees are members of the California Association of Public Purchasing Officers (CAPPO).  As such, we regard public service as a sacred trust.  We give primary consideration to the best interests of the City of National City.  Our goal is to obtain the best value for the City, and attain the maximum value for each tax dollar, while meeting the needs of City departments and giving all qualified vendors an equal opportunity.  We conduct ourselves with professionalism, fairness and dignity; and demand truth and honesty in all business transactions.  We support a respectful, open and fair competitive process.


A purchase order (or a PO number) is required at the time of order placement.  Vendors should not accept or ship an order, or perform work for the City without a PO number. 

Except for emergencies, or other exemptions outlined in the City Ordinance, purchases are not authorized unless the City’s Purchasing Department has issued a Purchase Order number.  Purchases made without a PO number, are ‘unauthorized’, void and not considered an obligation of the City.  Invoices without a valid PO number may be returned to the vendor unpaid.  The City is not responsible for any unauthorized purchase, or any purchase that does not comply with the City’s purchasing policies and procedures.   


  • Open Market:  Purchases under $2500 do not require competitive quotes, however, depending on the item, and market conditions, it is often good business practice to solicit quotes anyway.
  • Informal Quotes:  All purchases from $2500-$14,999 will be awarded based on at least three competitive quotes. 
  • Formal Bids:  All purchases over $15,000 require a formal process.  Purchasing will draft specifications, describing the minimum standards for the product or service required; advertise the bid; open the bids at the specified date/time; and make a recommendation for award.  The City Manager can award bids up to $25,000, and the City Council awards bids exceeding $25,000.  The formal bid process can take up to 8 weeks.
  • Awards:  All awards are made to the lowest, responsive, responsible vendor and/or the offer that provides the best value to the City.  Vendors should offer their best price up front as negotiations are not a normal course of business.  The City has the right to award to the lowest overall bid, or to split the award amongst several vendors, if it is in the City’s best interest to do so.
  • Exceptions:  Exceptions to the bid process may be made when the City has standardized to a specific brand; when the item can only be obtained from one vendor; when the item is required to match an existing item; or when the City Council determines that waiving the bid process is in the best interest of the City.
  • Get to know the end users:  When City Departments submit their requests to Purchasing, they often recommend possible brands and vendors that will meet their needs.   As a vendor, it is in your best interest to make sure that potential ‘end users’ are familiar with your products or service.  You are welcome to contact all City Departments  for an appointment, but please do not drop by unannounced, as they may not be available.


Whenever vendors perform work on City property, it is necessary to ensure that they have sufficient insurance coverage in case of accident, injury or damage to City property.  The City’s Agreement is the document we use to contract for services.  Also see the link for ‘Insurance’ requirements above.


The City prefers to have all orders shipped ‘FOB Destination’, and to take possession of the shipment at our delivery dock (not the point of origin), with no shipping charges billed to the City.   If shipping costs must be charged separately, they must be itemized on all quotes and invoices.  Failure to specify shipping charges may make them null and void.


The City is exempt from paying Federal Excise Tax, but does pay State Sales Tax.  Use Tax is paid directly to out-of-state vendors, if the vendor is licensed to collect.  State Sales Tax appears on City purchase orders, but Use Tax does not.

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