Doing Business with Cook County
Why Partner With Cook County?
Cook County is the second most populous county in the nation supporting businesses of all sizes and scope by investing over $1.3 billion each year in various goods and services. From the procurement of small office supplies to large building and infrastructure rehabilitation, Cook County offers a wide range of resources focused on inclusivity, innovation and economic growth. Cook County conducts its procurement process in a competitive, open and fair environment. Everyone involved in the procurement process is required to adhere to the same policies and procedures to ensure transparency and fair competition.
Paperless Procurement Process
The Bonfire Vendor Portal (Bonfire) is Cook County’s procurement system and is a secure, user-friendly, web-based system that streamlines the procurement process. Bonfire allows Cook County to post contract opportunities and receive responses from interested vendors within the system. Vendors are able to view contract requirements and specifications, send questions to the assigned buyer, and upload submittal requirements and pricing directly in the browser. Both Cook County and the vendor community have seen a reduction in postage and paper costs by posting and submitting responses in Bonfire.
In Bonfire vendors are able to register company information and select commodity codes corresponding to their line of work. Bonfire will automatically notify vendors of contract opportunities when they are posted to the public. To register in Bonfire and view open contract opportunities please click HERE.
Preferences and Credits
Cook County offers large number of bid credits for local, minority owned, veteran owned and disabled businesses. The credit is applied toward the total bid/pricing amount. The contract amount will not be decreased by the credit amount. The credit is applied to the bid tabulation in order to assist in being the lowest responsive bidder. See the list of credits below. Preference and Credit applications are available within the Bid document.
How To Partner With Cook County
Step 1: Register on the Bonfire Vendor Portal
Visit Bonfire to create a user profile and password. Select any and all commodity codes that apply to your line of work. Visit https://www.unspsc.org/ to view commodity codes used by Cook County. Once registration is complete notifications will automatically be sent to the registered email address when opportunities are posted.
Step 2: View awarded contracts and amendments on Open Data
Cook County posts all awarded contracts and amendments to Open Data for reference. This is a useful tool when learning about Cook County contracts. Each contract and amendment includes contract terms, pricing, description of services or items, and supporting documentation required from the vendor. Visit https://datacatalog.cookcountyil.gov/Finance-Administration/Procurement-Awarded-Contracts-Amendments/qh8j-6k63/data to view Open Data.
Step 3: View contract opportunities posted by Cook County
Contract opportunities are posted to the public on Bonfire, Open Data and in the Chicago Tribune.
Step 4: Ask Questions! Attend Pre-bid and Pre-Proposal Conferences
View contract specifications and submittal requirements in Bonfire. Each document that is required with a submission for a given project will be available within the opportunity. Questions regarding the required submittal documents or specifications can be submitted directly in the browser. Vendors are also encouraged to attend any pre-bid/pre-proposal conference to gain a better understanding of the requirements. Information regarding the pre-bid/pre-proposal conference log in information will be available within the opportunity.
Step 5: Submit a response in Bonfire
Upload all submittal requirements outlined for the opportunity directly in Bonfire. OCPO no longer accepts paper responses.
Certified M/WBE’s are encouraged to participate in Cook County procurement. The County’s utilization for non-public work contracts is 25% for MBE’s and 10% for WBE’s. These goals apply to contract opportunities estimated at $25,000 or more. Minority-owned and women-owned businesses are encouraged to contact the Office of Contract Compliance (312) 603-5502 for more information or the County’s M/WBE certification program.
Please visit the Board of Ethics website for information on ethics requirements for vendors doing business with Cook County.