Competitive Bids, Sole Source

USF’s Purchasing and Ancillary Services (PAAS) policies and procedures for Competitive Bid and Sole Source is listed below. For more information contact PAAS at 1.415.422.5898 or email us at

Competitive Quotation/Bid

Competitive quotation/bid proposals are solicited by the PAAS office in accordance with the guidelines listed below. If the requisitioning department has obtained quotations, this information should accompany the requisition. PAAS will evaluate the quotation and determine the purchasing action.

Competitive quotations will be secured in accordance with the following guidelines:

  • $1.00 - $500.00: Quotations may or may not be solicited.
  • $501.00 - $5,000.00: PAAS will attempt to obtain at least three quotations, either in writing or by telephone, depending on the competitive nature of the items requested. The lead time necessary for PAAS to obtain quotes (verbal and/or written) is approximately 1-2 weeks.
  • $5,001.00 & up: PAAS will attempt to solicit at least three competitive written quotations. The lead time necessary for PAAS to obtain written quotes depends upon the items to be purchased. Please notify PAAS as soon as possible, so we can determine how much lead time will be necessary to obtain quotations and/or if a formal solicitation may be required (RFx).

The requisitioning department may not use multiple requisitions to circumvent the bidding process.

Sole Source

A "sole source" procurement may occur when only one known source exists or only one single supplier can fulfill the requirements.  Due to the fact that the product and/or service is specialized, competitive bids cannot be attained.  

Examples of sole source considerations:

  • only one known source that can provide the commodity or service
  • unique source (commodity/service is unique/special in nature)
  • compatibility (i.e. public safety equipment, IT/telecom system, ERP system)
  • limited or proprietary systems (i.e. specialized replacement parts)
  • product availability within limited geographic boundaries

Complete a Purchase Requisition via pReq.
Along with the pReq, include a written justification containing the following information:

  • Description of the unique features that prohibit competition;
  • Documented research conducted to verify the vendor as the only known source;
  • Description of the marketplace to include distributors, dealers, resellers, etc.; known compatibility issues; and/or timing issues;
  • A written quote signed by the vendor, if available, should be submitted with the requisition. 

All sole source justifications are reviewed by the Director of PAAS.  Requesting department will receive written notification if the request for purchase is approved or denied.