Ohio University

Request for Proposal Guidelines

Requests for Proposals (RFPs) and Requests for Quotes (RFQs) allow an open bidding process for any goods, services, and/or construction projects that are over set bid limits. This allows the University to lower costs by selecting suppliers who can meet the request's needs most efficiently. The bidding process must be transparent and compliant with all state and federal regulations outlined for a public institution. The process will allow suppliers an equal opportunity to bid for Ohio University business and to know the selection criteria for which the bid will be awarded. All documents involved in the process become public record once the award is granted.

Bid Limits

Bid limits are calculated on a per year, per supplier basis. With very few exceptions, all purchases that represent a commitment over the following bid limits must be competitively bid:

  • Goods and Services: $50,000
  • Construction: $215,000

The University maintains a list of preferred suppliers with whom contracts have been negotiated. For these suppliers, bidding will not be required, regardless of dollar amount.

RFP Process

If an item is not a candidate for a bid waiver, or a bid waiver is denied, the item will be competitively bid. Procurement Commodity Managers will work with departments throughout this process.

The University department will need to:

  1. Provide a list of suppliers to invite to participate
  2. Provide history and current information surrounding the need for this good or service
  3. Provide the full scope and description of the good or service
    • Project start and end dates
    • Desired contract length
    • Project goals, objectives, tasks, and deliverables
  4. Provide specific criteria for proposal evaluation
  5. Provide specific requirements to be met for the RFP
    • Pre-bid meeting dates
    • Industry certifications or licensure
    • System compatibility
  6. Identify selection committee members
  7. Meet as a committee to identify score sheet criteria and their weights
  8. Seek additional input from campus partners
    • Office of Information Technology
    • OHIO Transportation Services
    • Real Estate and Engagement
    • Office of Research and Sponsored Programs
    • Environmental Health and Safety
  9. Outline review process and schedule
  10. Review and approve the draft RFP

University representatives must refrain from discussing the bid with suppliers participating in bidding process. They may interact to conduct normal business.

Procurement services will:

  1. Work with the department to develop the RFP
    • Timeline
    • Current information and detailed scope
    • Score sheet criteria
  2. Release RFP to Ohio's Public Sourcing Portal
  3. Create an addendum to add additional information if necessary
  4. Consolidate all formal questions into one document to provide to department(s) for answers
  5. Post answers to questions on Ohio's Public Sourcing Portal
  6. Download all responses after the due date, review each response for completeness of RFP deliverables, and share with the selection committee
  7. Contact selection committee to discuss:
    • Bid responses
    • Committee scoring
    • Which proposals can be eliminated from consideration
    • Which proposals to consider finalists
    • Scheduling presentations with finalists (if applicable)
  8. Contact selection committee, if presentations take place, to discuss:
    • Which presentation was most favorable
    • Second round of scoring
    • Whether to request Best and Final Offer (BAFO)
    • Which finalist is the winning bidder
  9. Prepare and present a formal recommendation to the head of Procurement Services
  10. Issue the intent to award notification to the winning bidder once approval is granted by management
    • At this point, communication between the department and the bidder may resume
    • Unsuccessful bidders will be notified once the intent to award notification has been delivered to the winning bidder
    • If an agreement is necessary, Contract Services will work with the supplier to negotiate contract details
    • Once a contract has been fully executed and a purchase order has been issued, the RFP process is considered complete and product delivery or services may begin

Exemptions

The Affordability and Efficiency Task Force Mandate states University constituents must procure goods and services where a University contract exists for those goods or services. Exemptions from this mandate may be approved in extenuating circumstances; however, such exemptions must be reported to the Board of Trustees and the Governor’s Office of the State of Ohio. To qualify for a bid waiver, all of the following must apply:

  • You are requesting to purchase goods or services in which the University holds a published agreement (insert url) for same from a supplier not under contract with the institution.
  • You are requesting a purchase greater than the bid limits.
    • The dollar amount of the entire purchase should be considered, not the value of the individual items. 
    • A purchase may not be split for the primary purpose of avoiding bidding requirements.
  • The supplier selected is not already on contract. 

Whether or not an exemption will be approved depends on the support provided within the Request for Waiver from Competitive Bidding [Excel]. Some reasons an exemption may be approved are:

  • The supplier is the sole source for the item
    • Artwork
    • Specialized goods (specific scientific equipment, continuity of research, undeniable compatibility requirements)
    • Specialized services (areas where the supplier has a one-of-a-kind ability to provide the required service)
    • Unusual and not generally available used equipment
  • The item will be attached to existing equipment and must be compatible
  • The purchase is an upgrade to existing software
  • Due to an unpredictable emergency, there is no time for a bid (vital equipment repair where work needs to begin immediately to meet emergency need)
  • The item is part of an existing grant or joint agreement where a specific item and supplier are defined

It is important to provide documentation with your bid waiver request. If reasoning or documentation for your waiver request is insufficient, the request may be denied. 

Departments are urged to keep in mind that failure to request a bid waiver before procuring goods or services above the bid limit is in violation of University purchasing policy. Procurement services should be contacted immediately in this case to set up an emergency bid waiver request. As no formal agreement was established between the University and the supplier, the request may be denied, leaving the liability for the expense on the requestor.