Government Contracts

Tennessee Department of Transportation Bidding Requirements Part 2 featured image

Tennessee Department of Transportation Bidding Requirements Part 2

In part one of this two-part series, the Nashville contractor lawyers at Cotney Attorneys & Consultants discussed the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) bidding requirements for contractors who plan to submit bids for public works projects. Two important requirements are the submittal of a subcontractor bid list and procurement of a contractor’s license through the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance, Board for Licensing Contractors. Now, we will discuss additional bidding requirements pertaining to Title 48 of Tennessee Code, unbalanced bidding, bid authorization, and bid conditioning letters.

Compliance with Title 48 of Tennessee Code Annotated

All contractors and subcontractors are required, in accordance with Title 48 of Tennessee Code Annotated, to be in “good standing” with the Secretary of State if their business is defined as a:

  • Domestic Corporation
  • Foreign Corporation
  • Limited Liability Companies (LLCs)
  • Limited Partnerships
  • Limited Liability Partnerships

TDOT will refuse to award any contract to a contractor who is not in good standing with the Secretary of State.

Unbalanced Bidding

Unbalanced bids will result in a rejected bid. TDOT’s government website defines an unbalanced bid as any bid that is either:

Mathematically unbalanced: a bid that utilizes lump sum or unit bid items that do not accurately reflect “reasonable actual costs plus a reasonable proportionate share of the bidder’s anticipated profit, overhead costs, and other indirect costs.”

Materially unbalanced bid: a bid that is suspected of using doctored mathematics to provide a disingenuous bid.

Bid Authorization

All contractors planning to submit a bid for a TDOT public contract must submit the Bid Authorization Form via email to to validate their bid. When bidding through Bid Express, a secure internet bidding site utilized by TDOT, all bids that are submitted by unauthorized bidders will be rejected. They will receive the message: “Error submitting the bid. You are not listed as an eligible bidder for the contract. Your request could not be processed.”

Bid Conditioning Letters

Since online bidding has become the preferred method of bid submittal in Tennessee, many contractors are uncertain about the correct process for submitting bid conditioning letters. Under Subsection 102.09 of the Standard Specifications, bidders can submit bid conditioning letters electronically to the Construction Division. All letters should be drafted on a document featuring the company letterhead, signed by a sanctioned signatory from the company, and delivered via email to

Are you complying with TDOT’s bidding requirements when submitting bids? For assistance with submitting and disputing bids, consult a Nashville contractor lawyer from Cotney Attorneys & Consultants.

If you would like to speak with a Nashville contractor attorney, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.