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The City of New Orleans

Mayor Mitchell J. Landrieu

Guide to Procurement


These definitions are provided as a quick guide to understand some of the key terms used in our office.


An agreement between parties with binding legal and moral force, usually exchanging goods or services for money or other considerations. There are several types of contracts, including a fixed-price contract (providing a good or service for a firm price), a requirements contract (an indefinite quantity contract for frequently used goods or services) or a Corporate Endeavor Agreement (CEA).

Invitation to Bids (ITB)

An invitation to submit a bid on a specific project. The City issues ITBs for Public Works, Capital Projects, materials, supplies and non-professional services. The bid which is the lowest price and meets all ITB requirements typically will be awarded a contract.

Informal Bid Quote (IBQ)

A price quotation for goods or services that is conveyed by a letter, fax, email or other manner that does not require a formal sealed bid, public opening or other formalities. According to the City’s Procurement policy, departments and agencies may request IBQs from no less than three vendors unless otherwise stated for the purchase of goods and services beyond a determined threshold. 

Professional Service

Services that include work rendered by an independent contractor who has a professed knowledge of some department of learning or science used by its practical application to the affairs of others or in the practice of an art founded on it, which independent contractor shall include but not be limited to attorneys, doctors, architects, engineers, accountants, business consultants, etc. A profession is a vocation founded upon prolonged and specialized intellectual training which enables a particular service to be rendered. A professional service implies professed attainment in special knowledge as distinguished from mere skill.

Purchase Order (PO)

A written authority issued by the City to the vendor indicating the agreed price and quantities for goods and services. A PO encumbers funds in the financial system and should always be obtained prior to doing any work with the City.

Request for Proposal (RFP)

The document used to solicit proposals for professional services whereas prices as well as factors such as past experience and technical expertise are used to determine the awarded contract.

Request for Qualifications (RFQ)

The document used to solicit proposals for professional services whereas factors such as past experience and technical expertise are used to determine qualified vendors. Price is not a factor in RFQs.  RFQs are typically used to create a pool of qualified vendors prior to engaging a vendor for contract, or when funding source or legal authority requires qualification based selection. 

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Last updated: 1/12/2017 2:53:41 PM

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