Sole Source Procurement

The Board of Regents has acknowledged there are occasions when products/services must be purchased from one specific source or manufacturer. If a request is made to purchase a product produced by only one supplier, yet several sources can provide a similar product, the request will be subject to the normal bid process. Should you request that products/services be purchased on a sole source basis, it must meet one of the criteria shown below. You must provide a written explanation, commonly referred to as a "sole source justification", to support your request. The four most commonly accepted sole source justifications are outlined below. Such justifications have been accepted with proper supporting documentation.


  1. Compatibility with existing equipment

    This justification may be used if your products or services are being purchased to directly interface with or attach to equipment of the same manufacturer, and no other manufacturer's products will correctly interface with existing equipment.
  2. Compatibility for instructional purposes

    This justification may be used if the products are being purchased to supplement existing equipment in a classroom. The product must exactly match the existing equipment and is being purchased to provide uniformity for instructional purposes.
  3. Compatibility for research

    This justification may be used if the main purpose for acquiring equipment or supplies is to replicate specific experiments, using the exact products that produced the original results. You may also use this justification if you are collaborating with another researcher and can show that identical products are required to fulfill your part of the agreement.
  4. Only one supplier can be identified to supply a compliant product or service

    In rare cases, only one supplier may exist to provide a particular product or service. When providing a justification based on the availability of one supplier, the product or service must be defined in generic terms. Specifying patented products or processes, when not necessary to meet functional requirements, is not acceptable as a sole source justification. Justifications can be accepted more readily by providing information regarding attempts to locate other suppliers, such as letters, informal quotations, or telephone contacts.


A sole source request must be included in the Purchasing Notes section of the web requisition or supporting documentation should be forwarded to Procurement Services referencing the order. Final determination as to whether products/services will be purchased on a sole source basis will be made by the Procurement Services Department, in consultation with the requester. Your sole source documentation will remain on file as part of the official procurement documents and may be subject to audit or review by interested parties.

Federally funded acquisitions (procurements) require that Procurement Services seek quotes from an adequate number of sources (usually 2 or more) or perfomr some type of cost reasonableness for sole source or selected source acquisitions that are greater than or equal to $10,000.

See also: Competitive Procurement