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Maryland Department of Transportation


Frequently Asked Questions

Definitions Related to Procurement



The overall goal for the small business programs is to increase economic opportunities for small businesses by helping to create an environment conducive to assisting small businesses in successfully being awarded state contracts.

Small Business Preference Program 

The Small Business Preference (SBP) Program for procuring supplies, services and construction-related services has been part of the Annotated Code of Maryland, State Finance and Procurement, Title 21, State Procurement Regulations since 1981.  In essence, the methodology allows a qualified small business to be up to a predetermined percentage--no more than 5 percent-- higher in a bid than the lowest regular (not small) business and win the award.  As an example, a Small Business vendor could bid $104.99 and if the lowest “non-Small Business” bid was $100.00; the Small Business would be awarded the contract. The small business would need to be both responsive and responsible.  However, both small businesses and regular vendors can respond to the solicitation.

The Annotated Code of Maryland, State Finance and Procurement, Subtitle 2, §14-204. Procedures, states the Small Business Preference program at MDOT will establish procedures for:

  1. compiling and maintaining a comprehensive bidder’s list of small businesses;
  2. locating potential sources for various construction related services, supplies, services and affirmatively seeking to locate potential minority businesses and sources for those construction related services, supplies and services;
  3. helping small businesses to comply with the procedures for bidding on procurement contracts;
  4. examining requests for construction related services, supplies, and services to determine when an invitation for bids may be designated for the Small Business Preference Program;
  5. bidding for a procurement designated for a small business preference;
  6. simplifying procurement specifications and terms, to increase the opportunities for small business participation;
  7. investigating the responsibility of bidders on small business preferences; and
  8. explaining to a small business the reason for which its bid for a small business preference was rejected.

Small Business Reserve Program

According to Maryland Annotated Code §14-501 - §14-505, this preference begins October 1, 2004 and requires that twenty-two designated procurement units reserve at least 10 percent of their total procurement dollars (as long as there is no conflict with federal and state laws) spent for qualified small businesses to bid on. 

With the Small Business Reserve Program, once a solicitation has been designated for a small business reserve preference, only responses from qualified small businesses will be considered responsive to a request for a bid or proposal. Therefore, a vendor will be in competition only with other qualified small businesses guaranteeing that the contract will go to a qualified small business if responsive and responsible qualified small businesses respond.

The designated procurement units shall accept, subject to the approval of the Board of Public Works (if applicable), the most favorable responsive bid or most advantageous offer from a responsive and responsible qualified small business vendor.

This law applies to goods, supplies, services, maintenance, construction, construction-related services, architectural and engineering service soliciations.

Other Links

MDOT Maryland Aviation Administration - Procurement and Contracting Opportunities

MDOT Maryland Port Administration - Solicitations

MDOT Maryland Transit Administration - Doing Business with MDOT MTA

Maryland Transportation Authority - Contract Listing

MDOT Motor Vehicle Administration - Procurement and Contracts

MDOT State Highway Administration - Business with MDOT SHA