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Bids and Quotation Policy

Approved: 7/18/06
Subject: Bids and Quotations Policy
Applies to: All University Faculty and Staff
Issued By: Office of the Vice President for Business and Finance

I. Policy Statement

Whenever possible Clarke University obtains competitive bids and price quotations on all purchased items through negotiated pricing agreements, requests for proposal, and formal bidding procedures. Requests to vendors are conducted in a manner that provides, to the maximum extent possible, open and free competition.

All vendor bids and quotations are evaluated on the basis of product quality, technical compliance with specifications, total cost, and the vendor’s acceptance of the university’s terms and conditions. A vendor award will be made in the best interest of the university based on those criteria. Any and all bids and quotations may be rejected when it is in the university’s best interest to do so.

Prices secured on bids and quotations are considered confidential and shall not be discussed with vendors by university personnel.

II. Formal Competitive Bidding

All purchase requisitions for goods, equipment, and services with an aggregate value of $10,000.00 or more are required to be competitively bid. However, more than one bid for purchases with an aggregate value of less than $10,000.00 may be solicited if cost savings may be realized or other university objectives are served. The Vice President for Business and Finance is responsible for determining the best method of purchasing a good or service.

Each purchaser is responsible for soliciting competitive quotations and producing a clear and accurate description of the technical requirements for the material, product or service to be procured. Such a description should not, in competitive procurement, contain features that unduly restrict competition. Highly technical equipment purchases will require the direct participation of the requisitioning department and possibly others, such as department administrator, university counsel, engineers, and others to insure that the item purchased meets requirements and such items as transit insurance, warranties, installation, transportation, maintenance are adequately covered. Prudent procurement practices are to be followed and documented with all such documentation to be retained by the requisitioning department.

Whenever possible bids should be requested from at least three (3) vendors, qualified to meet all specifications and requirements.

Exceptions to the formal competitive bid process are identified in Sections IV-VI.

III. Evaluation of Proposals and Selection of Vendor

Evaluation of bids and proposals and ultimately the vendor award are based on a number of criteria. They include product quality, the vendor’s compliance with university specifications, total cost, delivery requirements, vendor service capabilities, product warranties, the vendor’s financial stability, the vendor’s acceptance of the university’s terms and conditions.

A vendor award will be made in the best interest of the university based on the criteria listed above and any other relevant factors. When formal bids are received, evaluated and analyzed, the low bidder shall be awarded the contract all things being equal. In the event other than low bidder is selected, documentation must include written documentation for the decision. All documentation will become a part of the requisitioning department’s permanent file. The university reserves the right to reject any and all bids when its best interest is so served.

The requisitioning department will notify both the successful vendor and unsuccessful vendors as it issues a purchase order.

IV. Pricing Agreements

Pricing agreements are used for a wide range of products and services whenever it is in the university’s best interest. These agreements may be university negotiated or made available to the university through one of several Group Purchasing organizations of which the university is a member.

V. Sole and Single Source Purchases

Purchases from sole or single source vendors must be accompanied by a Bid Waiver Justification Letter approved by the Vice President for Business and Finance. The requisitioning department is required to show evidence of price reasonableness. If you obtain any information that is useful to support the purchase price as reasonable, please forward it with your Purchase Requisition and Bid Waiver Justification Letter.


  1. Sole Source Vendor: A vendor who, in the opinion of the university, is the only vendor qualified to meet the criteria contained in this policy that sells the particular item or provides a specific service as requested.
  2. Single Source Vendor: the item may be available from multiple vendors, but only the requested vendor is acceptable for technical or other reasons including, but not necessarily limited to:
  • Repair or replacement parts;
  • Equipment that must be compatible with other equipment currently in use in the department;
  • Supplementary components of the same manufacturer;
  • Unique manufacture features essential to the intended application;Compliance with the university’s standard programs;
  • Necessity for meeting physical design.

Bid Waiver Justification Letter

If the requisitioning department has researched the market and the suggested vendor is a sole or single source then a Bid Waiver Justification Letter must accompany the purchase requisition for a purchase of $10,000.00 or greater. The letter from the requisitioning department should document the reason(s) for restricting the purchase to a particular vendor or brand based on the above definitions.University guidelines and all federally sponsored grants and contracts require some form of written competitive bid or an acceptable bid waiver justification letter if bidding is to be waived.

VI. Exempt Commodities

Commodities listed below are exempt from the formal competitive bid process. In all cases, with purchases in any of those commodities the purchaser is responsible for assuring the price paid is fair and reasonable. Please refer to the Price Reasonableness Guidelines for assistance.

  • Advertising Charges
  • Artwork and Design Charges (does not include print production costs)
  • Catering/Food Service
  • Consulting/Professional Service Agreements
  • Florists
  • Hotel Accommodations/Travel (refer to Travel Policy)
  • Meeting/Conference Room Space
  • Membership/Dues
  • On-Line Computer Time
  • Reprints/Page Charges
  • Seminars/Training
  • Subscriptions/Periodicals

VII. Determination of Price Reasonableness

An analysis of offer/offers to determine that the price paid is fair, reasonable, and in the best interests of the university must be conducted on all purchases. Refer to the section on Price Reasonableness. See also Section IV PRICING AGREEMENTS