Procurement Guidelines

Purchases Under $20,000 (Cumulative for Fiscal Year per vendor)

Quotes are required for furniture, IT, and special procurements. Refer to the Special Procurement section of this website for more detail.

Departments are not required to get competitive bids on non-contract items purchased under $20,000. Look at these cooperative purchasing networks to save time and money - for any purchasing need, no matter the amount.

Purchases $20,000.01 - $40,000

Quotes are required.

No bidding is required if you purchase from one of these cooperative purchasing networks.

Departments must attempt to solicit at least three quotes, two of which must be obtained from state CPA certified HUBs. If any are "No Bid", you must obtain a 4th bid from any vendor.  The bids are entered at the distribution level of line one of the requisition. Information required for input - Company name, Tax ID or Social Security Number, total bid amount, contact name and telephone number (or email) of the person giving the quote and HUB Ethnicity and Gender.

HUB vendors can be obtained by searching on the Centralized Master Bidders List (CMBL).

Purchases Over $40,000

Quotes are required.

No bidding is required if you purchase from one of these cooperative purchasing networks.

Requesting department must submit a requisition to Purchasing that defines:

  • quantity
  • quality
  • specifications
  • delivery date requirements
  • name and address of reference source

If the purchase should be competitively bid:

  • The Purchasing Office buyer secures competitive bids by formal bids using the Texas Centralized Master Bidders List (CMBL).
  • A bid opening date is assigned and bids are emailed to potential bidders.
  • Bids are opened and are referred to the department with a recommendation by the Buyer.
  • Department authorizes recommendation and returns to Purchasing for processing.

Purchasing makes awards to the bidder offering the best value to the university. Requesting departments may request review of the bids and may recommend to Purchasing that an award be made to other than the bidder selected by Purchasing by providing justification for the award. Purchasing is the sole determinant of acceptability of the justification.


If purchasing personnel determines that the best value for University purchases will be achieved on the open market, the competitive procurement procedures will be used.  An Invitation for Bid or a Request for Proposal will be issued.  Each method is described in the following sections.  The competitive procurement process requires due advertisement with open and competitive specifications and equal opportunity to all interested bidders. 

Types of Competitive Procurements

Invitation for Bid

Competitive bidding is a standard method for acquisition of goods and services by public agencies and institutions for purchases over a dollar amount specified either by statute, rule, or policy.  Depending on the dollar amount, technical specifications, delivery requirements, etc. of the request, purchasing personnel will either solicit bids formally (written) or informally (telephone).

If formal bids are requested (also known as competitive sealed bidding), an Invitation for Bid (IFB) form will be prepared by purchasing personnel.  It will contain a description or specifications of the item(s) needed, the terms and conditions of the proposed purchase, the manner in which bids are to be submitted, the criteria for evaluating the bids and awarding of a purchase order or contract, the place and time for opening of bids, and any other information to assist the bidder in understanding the request.  A reasonable period of time will be allowed for bid responses.  No bidder may revise his/her bid after the bid opening date and time.  Late or unsigned bids will not be accepted.

Purchasing personnel are responsible for the receipt and control of bid responses.  All bids received will be time-stamped and secured appropriately.  Opening of bids shall not be permitted until the specified time for bid opening.  If a bid is inadvertently opened due to failure of the bidder to properly identify the bid response envelope, it will be opened, resealed, and marked accordingly.   No buyer will be allowed to examine the contents of the bid.  Normally, all bid openings are public and bid information such as prices may be announced at the opening.  No recommendations for award, however, will be announced in a public bid opening.

After the opening and tabulating of all bids received, each bid will be evaluated for compliance with terms, conditions, and all requirements of the IFB.  Purchasing personnel will determine which compliant bid provides the best value to TWU and make an award.  The requisitioning department may be asked to review bid responses and to make a written award recommendation.  If the apparent best value bid is not recommended, the requisitioning department must submit a written justification explaining the reasons for their recommendation for consideration.  In the event of a conflict between the requisitioning department and the Purchasing Department, the matter will be referred to the Director, Procurement and Contract Services for review and final decision.

Request for Proposal

When competitive sealed bidding cannot adequately address acquisitions where specific or generic specifications are difficult or impossible to draft and evaluation for award cannot be made on absolute criteria incorporated in the IFB, purchasing personnel may determine that the competitive sealed proposals method is more practical or advantageous given the nature of the goods or services requested.  Examples of acquisitions that would best be handled through competitive sealed proposals are highly technical items, specialized and/or complex services.

Purchasing personnel will work with the requesting department in development and review of the Request for Proposal (RFP).  The RFP document, when finalized, will be sent to potential proposers.  A reasonable period of time for acceptance of proposals will be allowed.  This process is very similar to the competitive sealed bidding process.  An RFP is opened publicly; however, only the names of the proposers are revealed.  Proposal prices and other information in proposals submitted are not made public until after an award is made.  Typically, an RFP allows for evaluation of factors other than price such as experience and approach to a project.  The RFP will include a statement or scope of work, intent of proposal, technical requirements, key events schedule, criteria for selection, and other relevant information.

Depending on the scope and technical requirements of an RFP, a pre-proposal conference for potential proposers may be scheduled.  A pre-proposal conference provides an opportunity to review proposal requirements, facilitate a clear understanding, and promote competition.  If purchasing personnel determines that certain elements of the RFP require modification as a result of issues raised during the pre-proposal conference, an addendum will be issued and mailed to all proposers on the RFP mailing list.

The RFP process also differs in that this method permits discussions after proposals have been opened to allow for clarification to assure full understanding of and responsiveness to the requirements.  All proposers whose submittals are found to be acceptable or reasonably susceptible to being made acceptable are given an opportunity to negotiate and revise their proposals.  If necessary, purchasing personnel may issue amendments to proposal requirements.  Modifications and negotiations may continue until purchasing calls for Best and Final Offers (BAFOs).  No changes are allowed after BAFOs are received unless the Director, Procurement and Contract Services makes a determination that resubmission is in TWU’s best interest.

In the evaluation phase of RFPs, an evaluation committee will be assigned the task of evaluating all proposals received.  Typically, evaluation committees are comprised of a minimum of three to a maximum of seven members.  The number will be limited to the minimum number required to properly evaluate proposals and approved by purchasing personnel.  Under the guidance of purchasing, the evaluation committee will be briefed on their responsibilities before the RFP is issued.  Normally, the committee is comprised of representative(s) from purchasing personnel, requesting department, and other departments with the technical knowledge of the acquisition.  Each member will be required to sign a Non-disclosure Statement prepared by purchasing personnel.

Contact with potential proposers will be made only by the designated purchasing employee.  Requesting departments and evaluation committee members should not contact proposers directly and should refer all inquiries to the above designated official.

After BAFOs have been evaluated, purchasing personnel reviews the scores with the evaluation committee and makes a recommendation. The recommendation will identify the successful proposer and the basis for the award.   Once approved, purchasing personnel will prepare a purchase order or contract.

Centralized Master Bidders List

Statewide Procurement Division (SPD) maintains a Centralized Master Bidders List (CMBL).  The CMBL is a comprehensive mailing list of vendors who have registered for bidding with the State of Texas.  Information on the CMBL is available on the Internet at


Page last updated 3:39 PM, February 23, 2024