Bid Limits

Purchases from $5000 to $49,999

The buyer in Purchasing must solicit quotations, either verbally or via fax, unless the purchase meets one of the exception criteria listed in the “Exceptions to the Bidding Process” section below. To start the request for quotation process, send a requisition and specifications to Purchasing. Call the buyer in advance if you need help writing the specifications.

When quotations are necessary, at least three sources must be contacted whenever possible. You are welcome to indicate suggested sources on the requisition, giving names of sales representatives and phone numbers for companies with which Purchasing may not have done previous business. The buyer may include additional sources if known.

  1. Writing Specifications:
    The goal of the request for quotation process is to obtain the best possible quality as well as price for the goods or services being purchased. The quality stems directly from how well the specifications have been written. Buyers are trained in this area and are glad to be of assistance. Please remember that the specifications must describe everything you want to use to evaluate the quotations, including delivery time.
  2. Awarding the Order:
    We are governed by the State Procurement Code and must select the “lowest responsive and responsible offer.” You are not required to accept the lowest bid if it does not meet your specifications. If this is the case, you must document what specifications were not met and then accept the next lowest offer that meets all specifications. Approval from the buyer is required prior to placing an order based on a bid.

For Purchases $50,000 and higher

Bids must be solicited by the buyer in Purchasing using the “Advertised Bid” process, unless the purchase meets one of the exception criteria listed in the “Exceptions to the Bidding Process” section below. To start the bidding process, send a requisition and specifications to Purchasing. The guidelines in the prior section about “Writing Specifications” and “Awarding the Order” also apply here.

Once the specifications are satisfactorily written, the bid must be sent out to potential suppliers and a public notice must be posted for at least 10 calendar days prior to the bids being due. The buyer in purchasing does the entire process. It takes at least two weeks and often much longer depending on how long the companies need to be given to prepare their responses. Please contact Purchasing as soon as possible when such purchases will be necessary.

Exceptions to the Bidding Process

  1. State of Utah Contract or University of Utah Agreement
    1. If a State Contract or University of Utah Agreement is in place for the item or service you are purchasing, there is no need to solicit bids or quotations. You should use State Contracts when available and when they meet pricing and service requirements. However, you have the option as to whether or not to use a University Agreement. If you decide not to use the State Contract you must use the appropriate bid process described above.
  2. Sole Source
    1. When there is only one source from which to purchase an item or service, bidding may not be required. If the purchase amount is $5,000 or more written approval must be obtained by the buyer, and ultimately from the VP for Administrative Services (or designee) prior to issuing the purchase order. Consideration of requests as sole source requires written justification from the requesting department. If the buyer is aware of additional sources, bids must be obtained.
  3. Orders Based on Recent Bids
    1. If the item/service was bid previously and one of the two following situations occurred, then you may reference the prior PO number on your Requisition and new bids may not need to be solicited:
      1. The prior bid included a renewal clause; or
      2. The prior bid was solicited within one year and the market conditions have not changed dramatically in that period of time.
  4. Unauthorized Purchases According to Policies and Procedures published by the University of Utah, section IV, A, 1:
    1. “The Purchasing Department is responsible for the procurement of all supplies and services required by the University of Utah and all its departments, including service departments and auxiliaries, except for (1) purchases specifically exempted under paragraph B, (2) any purchases under $5000 made in accordance with Policy and Procedure 4-3; and (3) procurement relating to building construction and architect-engineer services obtained by the State Division of Facilities Construction and Management.”

Be advised that in accordance with University policy commitments are not binding on the University unless they have been formally approved by the Purchasing Department. Vendors may be required to seek personal payment directly from individuals placing an unauthorized order.