For large purchases that will be paid for with school funds, most school systems require that two or three written bids be obtained before the purchase is made.
A bid is simply a written price quotation. It doesn't really have to be in any certain format; it is just a written document from a business stating what the business' price will be for a particular item. It serves as proof that you are spending the school's money wisely by getting several prices before making a large purchase.
For very large purchases, school districts sometimes require sealed bids. That means that the bid is mailed to the district office and left sealed in its envelope until the set bid opening time. At the agreed opening time all of the bids are opened together. Most of the time you won't need sealed bids.
The bid doesn't require you to make a purchase - you are free to purchase any, all, or none of the instruments you get bids on. So, if you would like to have silver concert tubas but suspect only enough money will be available for lacquer, you could ask to have both silver and lacquer tubas on the bid. You can also ask for price estimates in advance of the bid, to get an idea of what your budget will allow.
If you want a specific brand and model of instrument, you should specify it when asking for bids. Although the stores you ask to bid can quote a price on an "equal" instrument, you are the ultimate judge of what's equal. You aren't required to buy the lowest priced instrument if you feel the instrument isn't really equal.
It’s important when comparing bids to ensure you are comparing “apples to apples”. Bids may or may not include key line items, such as sales tax, instrument set-up, cases, or freight. It is important that all of these items be considered, as one of these line items can substantially increase the overall cost of the item.
Purchasing instruments through a bid is important for a band or orchestra, as it provides the tools needed to be successful. Expensive or specialty instruments are ideal for a school to bid, such as: timpani, baritone saxophones, double french horns, euphoniums, bass and contra bass clarinets, bass drums, string bass, marching instruments, or other pit or percussion ensemble instruments. It is best to avoid using limited school funds to purchase flutes, clarinets, trumpets, trombones, or saxophones, as these instrument are easily accessible and affordable through an instrument rental program.
Making extremely large purchases, such as a new set of timpani or replacing an entire marching drum line, can place a financial strain on a band or orchestra's budget. Companies, such as B.G.E. Financial and many musical instrument manufacturers, offer a lease program designed specifically for band and orchestra program. A lease allows the payments to be broken up into annual installments over a period of years, offering the music program the tools they need while dividing the payments over a series of years.
The in-store educational representatives at Amro Music are happy to assist your band or orchestra with acquiring a bid or recommending products for bid. They may be reached over the phone at 901-302-3315 or you may request an instrument bid by clicking here.