Guidelines for Obtaining Quotes
University of Maine System (UMS) Administrative Practice Letter Section VII-A (PDF) outlines University policy for the competitive procurement process. For all purchases between $10,000 and $50,000, the University must obtain written quotes before making a commitment to buy goods or services. Purchases over $50,000 require a formal competitive process administered by the UM Purchasing Department. Please review APL VII-A for complete information. This section of our website contains a form that can be used when obtaining quotes and explains some of the things that need to be considered when doing so.
UM employees – Providing the quote form and these guidelines is not, in any way, meant to indicate that you need to get the quotes yourselves. The University Purchasing Department is more than willing to assist in obtaining the quotes or or helping in any way requested.
How many quotes should be obtained?
By policy three (3) or more are required. There are situations where you will not be able to obtain more than one (1) or two (2) quotes. When three (3) quotes are not available documentation must be provided to explain the lack of the required number. Do not obtain a quote from a company with whom you do not intend to do business.
How to use the Quote Form
DO NOT CONTACT A VENDOR TO CHANGE A PRICE AFTER THE QUOTES ARE IN!!!
Doing so would be highly unethical for a public institution. Each vendor has been given a fair and equal chance to quote; by giving any vendor a second opportunity you put the University at risk for serious criticism and you jeopardize future requests for quotes by the University from the vendor community.
Always document the process
Keep copies of all quotes received. By policy we are to maintain records documenting purchases for 5 years.
Make certain that you know what you are paying for and that you understand the pricing. If you have any questions, have the vendor clarify the pricing for you. Check the vendor’s calculations – fairly often vendors make mathematical errors that you can easily discover.
The most favorable terms for the university are FOB destination prepaid. This term is stated on the quote form. “FOB (free-on-board) destination” defines ownership of the shipment and means that the supplier owns, and is liable for, the shipment until it reaches your loading dock or other designated place. Should the shipment be lost, damaged or destroyed before it gets to you, the shipper is responsible. All quotes should contain this term, however some companies will not agree to it. If you don’t mind accepting responsibility for the shipment before it is delivered, you can agree to “FOB Origin” terms, but insist that the quote include the cost of shipment. All companies can give you that information and if it is not part of the quote, you could be charged an exorbitant shipping fee. The freight term “prepaid and added” means the supplier will be invoiced by the carrier for freight charges but it will be added to your invoice.
“Net 30″ is what you will see most often; it means that the vendor expects payment within 30 days. However discount terms, such as “2/10 net 30″ (a 2% discount if paid within 10 days) can provide savings and may even make a vendor the “low bidder”. Call your Purchasing or Accounts Payable department for an explanation of any unfamiliar payment terms.
Check terms. Know when the warranty begins and ends. In some (high end equipment) cases the warranty should begin when the equipment is installed, tested and has been accepted by the University.
If you are buying services and/or the vendor will come onto University property for more than a delivery, insurance is important. Read about insurance requirements in APL VII-A
Installation and other unique requirements
Be sure to include any unusual requirements that you are expecting of the vendor when you issue the request for quotations.
Please provide feedback on the form to Michael Noblet, Purchasing Manager.