How We Buy

As a government agency, we conduct our business in an open and competitive fashion in accordance with ordinances approved by our City Council.

Purchasing Policy

The City Of Lansing Purchasing Policy is based on a competitive bid process as outlined in the Purchasing Ordinance, Local Preference Ordinance, Supplier Diversity Ordinance and any Executive Order then in effect. Purchases are made on the basis of the best-evaluated bid, which may include quantity, quality, service (which includes delivery) competitive market prices, value added services and risk assessment.

As a public agency, all business transactions are a matter of public record. Business should be conducted in a sincere, open and fair manner. It is expected that all pricing, service and delivery agreements will be adhered to.

The City of Lansing adheres to the provisions of the City of Lansing's Ethics Ordinance. In accordance with the Ethics Ordinance, suppliers should not offer gifts to City employees. We prefer that incentives be expressed in terms of quality, service and bid price.

Suppliers who are related to a City of Lansing employee should contact the Finance Department to discuss the Ethics Ordinance prior to doing any business with the City.

All City of Lansing employees are covered by the Ethics Ordinance and should contact the Finance Department if they have an outside business.

Payment of Goods

The Mayor of the City of Lansing is the only person who may legally bind the City for payment for goods and services at dollar levels over $15,000. The Director of Finance or designee (Purchasing Manager) may legally bind the City for payment of goods and services at dollar levels up to $14,999.99.

No other individual within the City has the authority to bind the City for payment of goods or services.

No materials may be shipped nor any service performed with a value over $5,000 without competitive bids/quotes or sole source approval and a City of Lansing purchase order unless purchased with a procurement card. All orders must have a City of Lansing authorized purchase order number or authorized procurement card number.

Getting Started

All initial sales representative contacts with the City of Lansing should be with a Purchasing Office employee. If a review of your business capabilities looks like it could be a match for our needs, the Purchasing employee will assist you in identifying the City of Lansing departments and employees that you should contact. When suppliers bypass this portion of the process and go directly to the City's departments before meeting with a Buyer, the contract award process may be delayed due to issues related to Tax Exemption Status, Credit Applications, legal requirements, etc.


Up to $5,000

Employees may use their procurement card for purchases up to their transaction limit, or secure the purchase with a Purchase order. Employees are asked to use their best judgement for the City’s best interest.

Quotes: $5,000 to $14,999

Formal, written quotes are required, unless specifically exempted, and may be received via U.S. mail, in person, fax or electronically. At the professional judgment of the senior buyer, informal quotes may be received electronically, in written form or via fax. Quotes do not have formal public openings.

Bids: $15,000 & Over

Formal sealed written Bids and Request for Qualifications and Proposals are issued by the Purchasing Office and are required unless specifically exempted.* Bid openings are held. Request for Qualifications and Proposals do not have public openings. Bid and proposal requests will be advertised in a local publication (City Pulse), through the MITN website or another publication if directed by the requesting department.

*Consult a Purchasing employee for exemptions on bids.
*During Covid-19 Pandemic: Public bid openings have been suspended, bid results maybe requested through purchasing. 

Types of Contracts

The Purchase Order is the standard contract form used by the City of Lansing for routine purchases. Formal contracts may be used for specific purchases, however a purchase order will also be issued. The Purchasing Office issues all Purchase Orders.

In order to best serve the interests of city government and the business community, the Purchasing Office utilizes, to the maximum extent possible, contracts of multiple year duration where it makes economic sense to do so. Therefore, products or services which lend themselves to contracts will be solicited far more infrequently than with usage that does not warrant a contract.

The supplier shall prepay freight charges so the City of Lansing does not receive a separate invoice from the freight company. Terms are:
  • FOB Destination
  • Freight Prepaid
  • Pre-pay and Add
The City of Lansing is not responsible for payment of unauthorized purchases made without a Purchase Order or in violation of our Procurement Card policy or other Purchasing Ordinances.