Competitive bidding is required for a planned purchase of goods or services over $10,000. University policy 05-02-16 outlines the competitive bidding requirements. Competitive bids and price quotations can be obtained through a Request for Quotation (RFQ) or Request for Proposal (RFP). It is important to note that competitive bidding is not required when using University-wide contracted suppliers.
Competitive bidding is advantageous for several reasons. It ensures fairness to all bidders and and that your pricing will be competitive within the marketplace. If a supplier is in a competitive situation, it is more likely to provide its most aggressive pricing and other terms. Bidding also ensures that you're complying with University policy and other applicable federal and state regulations for grants and contracts.
In accordance with University policy 05-02-16, University departments may conduct their own competitive bidding for purchases between $10,000 and $50,000. Departments may utilize the Request for Quotation document to obtain quotes. Your assigned procurement specialist can provide advice and guidance on the process.
If your department needs to utilize competitive bidding for an order of $10,000 or greater, contact the assigned Procurement Specialist or submit a web inquiry through PantherExpress Customer Service for assistance.
The timeframe for completing an RFP process will vary depending on the level of complexity. To inform your planning, please refer to this outline of the RFP process including the approximate timeframe:
Phase 1 - Weeks 1 and 2
- Purchasing Services works with department to develop and refine requirements / specifications
- Purchasing Services conducts evaluation of marketplace of commodity / category in order to understand more deeply and to develop a list of potential bidders
- Department and Purchasing Services complete writing RFP
- Department and Purchasing Services develop evaluation criteria and scoring grid/weighting
- Purchasing Services issues RFP (the document includes a Pitt template contract in order for companies to review and thus be prepared to sign if awarded the contract)
Phase 2 - Weeks 3 through 6
- Companies develop proposals and submit to Purchasing Services
Phase 3 - Weeks 7 through 9
- Department and Purchasing Services evaluate and score proposals
- Purchasing Services obtains proposal clarifications from top 1 - 3 bidders
- All bidders receive same clarifying questions
- Purchasing Services begins discussing bidders’ objections to contract terms
- Possible presentations from proposal finalists
- Allow time for possible bidder(s) travel to campus
Phase 4 - Weeks 10 through 12
- Best and final offers requested and submitted to Purchasing Services
- Purchasing Services negotiates contract
- High risk exceptions to legal terms may require University Counsel assistance
- High risk business terms may require review or approval from other University offices and executives
*NOTE: all phases can take much longer for large and complex requirements.