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Guide For Vendors

This Guide For Vendors is provided as general information for use by the business community to gain an understanding of the College's procurement process and how to do business with the College. Individual procurements may deviate from these general guidelines. Therefore, instructions provided in a particular solicitation package will govern.


The purpose of the Guide For Vendors is to acquaint prospective bidders and suppliers with general information about providing goods or services to St. Mary's College of Maryland (SMCM). If, after reading this, there are questions, please contact the Purchasing and Contracts Office at (240) 895-3312 (voice), (240) 895-4916 (fax) or SMCM's purchasing policy is established by the SMCM Board of Trustees and authorized by Maryland law. SMCM's purchasing philosophy is generally consistent with that of the State. It encourages fair, open and equitable procurement competition while promoting purchasing decisions which are in the College's best interests.

Contracts and purchase orders are awarded on the basis of best value to the College, taking into consideration price, quality, and other prescribed selection factors listed in the solicitation package.

Prospective suppliers are encouraged to submit letters, catalogs, line cards, or any other information about the products and services offered by your firm to the purchasing office.

This information should be faxed or mailed to:
St. Mary's College of Maryland
Purchasing and Contracts Office
18952 E. Fisher Road
St. Mary's City, MD 20686
Fax: 240-895-4916


Dollar thresholds and specified procedures:

  • All contracts and purchase orders which involve the expenditure of public funds must be processed through the Purchasing Office.


  • Request for Quote (RFQ): This may be in the form of a telephone or written request and is used for procurements up to $10,000. Unless otherwise stated, faxed responses from vendors are acceptable.
  • Invitation for Bid (IFB): The IFB is used to establish contracts for equipment, materials, supplies, and/or services when the contract is expected to be greater than $25,000 and specifications are known. Responses are in writing and are either delivered in a sealed envelope to the Purchasing and Contracts Office or, when appropriate, faxed to the purchasing office.
  • Request for Proposal (RFP): The RFP is used to establish contracts for equipment, materials, supplies, and/or services when the contract is expected to be greater than $25,000 and the College has a defined need and is requesting offerors to propose the best method for accomplishing it or when factors other than the lowest price are to be considered. An RFP may be handled as a one-step or multi-step procurement process. Separate technical and cost proposals are requested and evaluated by a pre-selected College evaluation committee. Proposals in response to an RFP must be in writing and are delivered in sealed envelopes to the Purchasing and Contracts Office.


A/E firms interested in providing professional services to the College are required to maintain an Architect-Engineer and Related Services Questionnaire Standard Form 254 (SF-254) on file with the College's Facilities Office. SF-254's will be received on an ongoing basis. A current SF-254 (no more than two years old) must be on file in order to be considered for any specific project. Individual A/E projects are not necessarily advertised; the solicitation packages are mailed directly to firms selected from the open file of SF-254s. A/E firms may request additional information by contacting the Facilities Office (240) 895-4412.


General Contractors interested in providing construction services to SMCM for projects between $25,000 and $1million must be pre-qualified through the College's Facilities Office and must have a current pre-qualification form (no more than one year old) on file in order to be considered for any projects. Construction projects are generally not advertised. Solicitation packages are mailed directly to firms selected from the open file of pre-qualified contractors.

Construction projects over $1 million and higher are individually pre-qualified on a project-by-project basis. The prequalification process is advertised rather than the bid process. Firms which pre-qualify for the project will receive a solicitation package. Additional information may be requested by contacting the purchasing office at 240-895-4307.


Solicitation packages prepared by the College include a complete description of the requirements, specifications, terms and conditions, as well as necessary instructions to enable the bidder to prepare a response.

Responsibility of Bidders:

Vendors responding to a College IFB or RFP are expected to be financially sound and able to fully perform according to the specifications, delivery requirements, services, and other stipulations contained in the IFB/RFP.

Bid Requirements:

Vendors responding to a College IFB or RFP are responsible for carefully reading and understanding its contents. Questions are to be directed to the purchasing official on the cover page of the solicitation. Vendors who may have previously submitted bids for the same commodity or service should not assume that the specifications and/or terms and conditions are the same. There may be slight differences that would be realized only after carefully reading the entire solicitation package. Some standard requirements include:

  • IFB/RFP Delivery: Responses must be received at the address cited in the IFB/RFP on or before the date and time specified. Bids and proposals delivered after the specified time will likely be disqualified. It is the vendor's responsibility to make sure that the bid is submitted on time and to the proper place. Because of the College's rural location, Fed Ex and UPS will not guarantee delivery by a specified time.
  • Signature: All bids and proposal documents should be properly signed and executed in ink in the designated place(s).
  • Price Alterations or Withdrawal of Bid: Price corrections and withdrawals of bids may be made only prior to the bid opening.

Pre-Proposal or Pre-Bid Conferences/Site Inspections:

When the solicitation document stipulates a conference or site inspection, interested vendors are strongly encouraged to attend at the specified place, time and date. Such requirements are intended to supply vendors with valuable information or visual inspection which helps to ensure the completeness and accuracy of all bids.

Questions About the IFB or RFP

In order to be fair and provide for equitable competition while maintaining the integrity of the purchasing process, any vendor discussion or questions concerning a solicitation shall be directed only to the purchasing official named on the cover page of the solicitation package.

Terms and Conditions:

All solicitation documents are subject to the specified terms and conditions which should always be carefully read. If the vendor includes any other terms and conditions with the bid, they may be grounds for rejection of that bid. When a vendor signs the Bids Forms included in the solicitation package, he or she is agreeing to the terms and conditions that are specified in the solicitation package.


All invoices submitted to the College are paid through the Maryland State Comptroller's Office. Payments are made no later than thirty (30) days after the College receives a proper invoice.


St. Mary's College actively Promotes Businesses to apply for The State of Maryland Minority Business Enterprise. See if you are Eligible to Participate. Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) Certification allows eligible firms to participate on State-only funded contracts.

Should I Apply for MBE Certification?

  • Is your firm at least 51%-owned and operated by a socially and economically disadvantaged individual(s), OR by a disabled individual(s) who also controls the firm?
  • Is the disadvantaged owner a U.S. citizen or lawfully admitted permanent resident of the U.S.?
  • Is the firm a small business that does not exceed the size standards in the areas in which it is applying for certification, according to the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS)? See
  • Is the disadvantaged owner's personal net worth less than $750,000?
  • Is the firm a non-profit business organized to promote the needs of the physically and mentally handicapped population?
  • Are you a member of the following groups: African American, Female, Hispanic American, Asian American, Native American, Alaskan Native, a Non-Profit Organization, or Disabled?

If you answered Yes to any of the questions above, you may be eligible to participate in the State of Maryland MBE Program.


The Maryland Department of Transportation welcomes your comments and concerns.

Correspondence should be sent to:
Karen Saab
7201 Corporate Center Drive
P.O. Box 548
(410) 865-1228
Hanover, MD 21076

It is important that a name, address and phone number be included on all written comments.