Information for Purchases of $10,000 or More

University policy simplifies the purchase of low-dollar, low-risk items (those below $10,000) by encouraging yet not requiring competitive bids. For higher-dollar, higher-risk purchases (those valued at $10,000 or more), appropriate stewardship is accomplished through competitive bidding.

Supplier competition is one of the most effective ways to secure favorable costs and/or terms for purchases of goods and services. Fair and open competition also helps the University achieve its supplier-diversity objectives by awarding business to firms that can best meet our requirements. Certain sponsored funds, including federal funding, require competition to ensure goods and services reflect the best possible value.

Learn more in the Competitive Bidding Requirements Reference Guide.

Obtain Competitive Bids

The first step before soliciting bids is to determine your requirements. This could be as simple as identifying a make/model number for an item, or it could entail the development of a complex set of service needs. The level of detail typically is aligned with the complexity of your purchase.  

  • Number of Bids: Three bids or quotes are generally adequate to determine the best value.
  • Formatting: Bids can be in the form of written quotations, proposals, or supplier responses to a Request for Proposal (RFP).
  • Electronic RFPs: Procurement Services uses an electronic sourcing tool to email the RFP to multiple suppliers simultaneously and capture their responses electronically for evaluation. Contact Procurement Services for assistance with obtaining competitive bids or to learn more about including diverse suppliers in your requests.

Preferred Supplier Types

  • Identify Diverse Suppliers: Bids and quotes should include diverse suppliers. From the Prime Marketplace, under “Supplier Search,” select “Advanced Search >> Company Classification” and then “Current Certification under Diversity Certification Status.” Active diverse suppliers will be displayed. Procurement Services has access to proprietary databases of diverse suppliers and can provide supplier name and contact information upon request.
  • Use Preferred Contract Suppliers: Purchases from preferred contract suppliers are desirable. These suppliers have contracts with negotiated terms and conditions favorable to the University and offer preferred pricing achieved via competitive bidding.  

Purchases with Federal Funds

If you are making purchases with federal funds, then you must comply with federal regulations from the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB), known as Uniform Guidance. Certain requirements for high-dollar purchases (those valued at $250,000 or more) and non-competitive purchases ensure fair and equitable costs.  

Learn more in the Competitive Bidding Requirements Reference Guide.

High-Dollar Federal Purchases

Federally funded purchases valued at $250,000 and above are subject to additional requirements to ensure appropriate due diligence regarding price reasonableness. Purchases that can be made from more than one supplier require a formal request for proposal (RFP), which can be handled by Procurement Services on your behalf.

Non-competitive or sole-source purchases are only allowed in limited situations. For any federally funded purchase of $250,000 and above, a cost or price analysis is required. Please contact Procurement Services for assistance. 

Competition Summary Documentation

The Competition Summary is an electronic form that is a required part of the requisition for all requisitions of $10,000 or more. The Competition Summary Worksheet outlines applicable questions. Your answers will determine which non-competitive circumstances are displayed. Select the circumstance which best defines the reason for the lack of competition.

This electronic form must be completed before the requisition can be submitted for approval. If you have questions, or wish to discuss a particular purchase, please contact Procurement Services.  

Explain Non-Competitive Purchases

There may be circumstances where competition by more than one supplier is not appropriate or possible. In these situations, traditionally known as “sole-source” purchases, you must identify and explain the particular circumstance when creating the requisition.

See the Competition Summary Worksheet to view the seven circumstances which may apply. While more than one may apply, at a minimum, the most appropriate one should be selected.