Competitive Bid Process


University policy Business and Finance Bulletin (BUS) 43 Part 3 (PDF) and the Public Contract Code require that competitive bids be obtained for purchases above $100,000.



Procurement & Contracts uses 3 types of competitive bid requests:

  • Request for Information (RFI)
  • Request for Quotation (RFQ)
  • Request for Proposal (RFP)

During the competitive bid process:

  1. The university publicly posts its requirements and needs online, in trade and industry journals, and in newspapers in the form of a competitive bid request.
  2. Suppliers' responses address the requirements for service, quality, capability, and price. To be considered, suppliers' offers must fulfill all of the specifications in the posting and be deemed responsive and responsible.
  3. Procurement & Contracts verifies the supplier's ability to fulfill the terms of the contract successfully.
  4. Before making the final selection of the supplier, Procurement & Contracts evaluates the quality of the offered merchandise or services and the total cost of ownership (PPT).

Exceptions to the competitive bid requirement

Exceptions to the competitive bid requirement include:

  • Sole source: If Procurements & Contracts determines that goods or services are only available from a sole source, a competitive bid may not be required. A sole source might include:
    • Patented software products
    • Drugs
    • Manufactured items only available from 1 supplier or manufacturer.
    • The need to match existing furniture
    • Part replacement on a custom piece of equipment
  • Strategically sourced contracts: Competitive bids are not needed for contracts previously established through the strategic sourcing process, since the competitive bid requirement has already been satisfied. UCSD encourages its community to take advantage of strategic sourcing contracts. Departments may make purchases under these contracts even if the value of the purchase exceeds $100,000.
  • Professional or personal services: Certain exemptions apply to contracts for these types of services. Please contact Procurement & Contracts for information specific to your situation.
  • Marketplace suppliers: Most of the products and services available through Marketplace are sourced from a formal competitive bid process, thereby satisfying the university's policy.
  • Emergency or public safety: Under some emergency situations where loss of life or major loss of property may occur, university policy permits Procurement & Contracts to forgo competitive bids.
  •  UCSD Procurement & Contracts is solely responsible for managing all competitive bid solicitations in accordance with university policy.