How to Buy

How to Buy

There are several ways to procure goods and services depending on what is being purchased and the dollar amount and/or nature of your purchase(s).
Click the button below for an overview.
Procurement Quick Reference Guide

Step 1

Determine whether the goods or services you wish to purchase are available on a University, state or other contract.

Buying on an existing contract is often the most efficient and most economical means to make your purchase. You can visit any of the links below for additional information on existing contracts.

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  • SpearMart - FSU's most preferred option for making your purchase. Visit the participating suppliers' webpage to view details of catalog suppliers available in SpearMart.
  • Contracts - A searchable repository of FSU contracts by supplier, commodity, and supplier classification.
  • Shopping Guide - A webpage which organizes contract suppliers by the commodity(ies) and service(s) they supply.

NOTE: FSU may also purchase from cooperative contracts, other university contracts, and State of Florida contracts as well. You can visit Other Available Contracts for additional information or Contact a Procurement Specialist.

Step 2

If the good(s) you seek are not available from a SpearMart catalog supplier and the amount is less than $2,500, use your University Purchasing-Card (PCard) to complete your purchase in accordance with the provisions of the PCard Manual.

If the good(s) or service(s) you seek are not available from a SpearMart catalog supplier or allowable on the University Purchasing-Card (PCard) you will need to do a requisition to make your purchase. Job aids are available to assist with creating your requisition on our website.

Step 3

If your supplier is not currently available, you will need to have them complete a New Vendor Registration form in PaymentWorks.

Step 4

If your purchase does not fit under Steps 1-2 above, use the Total Contract Value of your purchase to determine the method of procurement noted in the chart below.As a public entity, FSU must ensure fair and open competition exists in all procurement activities (excluding Authorized Exemptions) in order to avoid the appearance of and prevent the opportunity for favoritism and to inspire public confidence that contracts are awarded equitably and economically.

$25,000 - $149,999 Informal Solicitation - at least 3 quotes (written quotes required for $25,000 to 149,999)
$150,000 + Formal Solicitation - either Invitation to Bid or Invitation to Negotiate

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Informal Solicitation $25,000 - $149,999

For the best outcome, Departments should contact Procurement Services at the beginning of any project/procurement, before obtaining quotes or speaking with respective vendors.  It is the responsibility of Procurement Services to obtain quotations from prospective suppliers; however, for budget purposes, a department may obtain cost information from catalogs, prior orders or suppliers. Procurement Services is not bound to accept quotations secured by departments. When a department chooses to secure quotations, the quote must contain the name of the supplier, the supplier representative who gave the quote, the date of the quote, the payment terms and the price of each item(s).

Under most circumstances, the Procurement Specialist will attempt to secure competitive pricing by fax, email, written quotations, telephone or a competitive solicitation. The turn-around time for securing written quotations normally will not exceed three to five days, depending on the circumstances. If a department believes that a commodity or service is available from only one source, or an emergency situation exists, justification in support of that belief must be entered on the Comments section for that requisition. It will be at the sole discretion of the Procurement Specialist involved as to whether the sole source or emergency justification is accepted. The Procurement Specialist will determine whether or not it is in the best interest of the University to secure competitive pricing, but will at all times determine, in his or her professional opinion, that the requisition price is fair and reasonable before issuing a Purchase Order.

Formal Solicitation $150,000 +

FSU Regulation 2.015 requires that all purchases with a Total Contract Value of $150,000 and above shall be competitively procured by Procurement Services, except under certain circumstances as outlined in the Regulation, Procurement policy, and these procedures. (See Authorized Exemptions). Requisitioning departments without specific delegated authority MAY NOT, under any circumstances, issue formal solicitations without coordinating with Procurement Services. Attempts to split items among different Requisitions to keep the total below the competitive solicitation threshold is against FSU Procurement Regulation FSU-2.015, Board of Governors Regulation (BOG) 18.001 and Florida Statute 287.057 (9) and is prohibited. FSU utilizes two primary methods of competitive solicitation:

1. Invitation to Bid

An Invitation to Bid (ITB) is used primarily for standard off-the-shelf goods or services when a department can define precise specifications or a specific scope of work for a contractual service. ITBs are awarded to the responsible and responsive bidder who submits the lowest cost.

The requisitioning department develops a specification for the commodity or service desired and submits it to Procurement Services in the form of a Requisition in OMNI, unless arrangements are made with the Procurement Specialist to submit the bid specs in another format. The requisitioning department may be asked to send the specifications to Procurement Services to facilitate preparing the bid. Procurement Services applies the appropriate terms and conditions, develops, along with the requisitioning department, a list of bidders. Bid responses are formally received at the prescribed date and time indicated in the ITB. In accordance with Ch. 119, Florida Statutes, Procurement Services may choose not to make the contents public for thirty (30) days after opening, or until FSU has posted notice of a decision, whichever occurs first. After the bidders' responses to the Invitation are opened, the department may be asked to review the bids in an effort to determine the lowest bidder meeting the specifications.

2. Invitation to Negotiate

An Invitation to Negotiate (ITN) is used to determine the best method for achieving a specific goal or solving a particular problem and identifies one or more responsive suppliers that FSU may negotiate in order to receive the best value. An ITN is extended to a list of potential Respondents notifying them of the University's interest in receiving suggestions and solutions in regard to an acquisition problem or issue. The potential Respondents submit responses that give broad outlines of the type and size of the solution that they could offer. These responses are evaluated by a small committee of University personnel to select the Respondent that will be asked to participate in the final round of negotiations. Oral and written negotiations may be held with the finalist(s) in the process to determine which firm(s) offers the best solution for the University's problem. After negotiations are complete, FSU shall award the contract to the responsible and responsive supplier(s) who will provide the best value to FSU as determined by the consensus of the evaluation committee.


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