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Competitive Bid Exceptions and Sole Sourcing

Drexel University requires competitive bids for purchases of goods or services (including consulting services) over $25,000.00. Some exceptions apply; see Competitive Bid Exceptions below.

In some circumstances, when competition cannot be obtained or the situation necessitates the required number of competitive bids to be reduced, a Sole Source Justification Form is to be submitted via Smart Source.

The following information is a guide for requesting the reduction or waiver of competitive bids on RTPs for goods or services $25,000.00 or greater.

Sole Source Definition and Criteria

A “sole source” is a single supplier that is exclusively capable of meeting University requirements within the time available, including emergency and other situations, which preclude conventional planning and processing. These situations include:

  • One-of-a-Kind – the commodity or service has no competitive product and is available from only one supplier.

  • Compatibility – the commodity or service must match an existing brand of equipment for compatibility and is available from only one vendor.

  • Replacement Part – the commodity is a replacement part for a specific brand of existing equipment and is available from only one supplier.

  • Delivery Date – only one supplier can meet necessary delivery requirements.

  • Research Continuity – the commodity or service must comply with established University standards and is available from only one supplier.

  • Unique Design – the commodity or service must meet physical design or quality requirements and is available from only one supplier.

  • Emergency – URGENT NEED for the item or service does not permit soliciting competitive bids; including purchases needed to address major facility failures, damages due to disasters, or purchases necessary to address immediate safety and security issues.

Competitive Bid Exceptions

  • Preferred Vendors – orders $100,000.00 or less may be placed with preferred vendors without obtaining competitive bids if the items being purchased are on contract with that vendor.

  • Service and Maintenance – orders exceeding $5,000.00 for unique services or maintenance of specific equipment may be placed without obtaining a competitive bid.

  • Non-Competitive Purchase Agreements – this special circumstance allows for the contracting of technical professional services (e.g., lecturers, and accreditation services) that generally do not require a Purchase Order. The vendor provides an invoice after rendering the service. The department then completes a Check Request Form via Smart Source, attaching the  invoice and all other documentation.  Each invoice requires submission of a separate Check Request Form.

  • PLEASE NOTE:  requests containing confidential information are not to be placed via Smart Source; rather, continue submitting paper Check Request Form for those payments (e.g., clinical trials, settlements, etc.); email to

  •  When unsure whether a purchase is considered non-competitive, contact with details of the service you wish to purchase, amount, and any other relevant information. Specific conditions under which a Check Request Form should be used are: honoraria, prizes or awards, and clinical trial reimbursements.