Bid Waiver Request Overview

Note:  Below only addresses UNIV-funded purchases.  All purchases using project-related funds are facilitated by the Office for Sponsored Projects (OSP).

General Overview:  Bid Waiver Requests are considered an “exception” to Board of Trustee and University policy, as well as State of Ohio Purchasing Laws.  Requests are scrutinized and evaluated on a case-by-case basis.  Not all circumstances may be eligible for a Bid Waiver Request.  Rather, the University may require use of an existing “catalog” (contracted) supplier, or a competitive public bid process facilitated by University Purchasing.

Proactive Planning and Internal Dialogue:  It is strongly recommended internal dialogue with CFAES Finance occur prior to initiating a Bid Waiver Request.  Proactive dialogue will provide valuable insight and guidance for the waiver request process and current University business standards. 

Justification Overview:  Bid Waiver Requests are reviewed and evaluated by multiple University areas.   Content will vary based on specific circumstance.  However, all justifications should be comprehensive narrative (tell-the-story) that is easily understood by others.  Submitting an effective justification may minimize processing delays.  Below is a high-level overview only. 

  1. Header:  Justification be on department letterhead with informational header.
    • Date:  XX/XX/XX
    • Department:  CFAES (insert department name)
    • Requester: (insert key contact name)
    • Bid Waiver Request:  Economic or Sole Source (see below)
    • Requisition:  RQ-XXXXXXXXXX
    • Requested Supplier: (insert company name)
    • Total Cost:  $XX.XX
  1. General Background and Overview:  Provide a brief overview of the CFAES department.
  1. Scope of Work (goods or services):  Provide an easy-to-understand narrative and description of needed goods or services and requested supplier.   It’s suggested minimal technical terminology be used.  Basic explanations of functionality and/or purpose (who, what, where, when why and how) will help to minimize clarifications.  Justification should also summarize the overall benefits to CFAES and University (e.g. research, teaching/learning, cross-disciplinary) should also be described.
  1. Supporting Rationale and Business Argument:  The most common waiver types are “Sole Source” and “Economic”.  


General Overview

Sole Source

This can be the most challenging type to effectively demonstrate. 

Justification must include objective information or analytic data supporting proprietary technology.  Or, have significant documented advantages over other options.


This most common waiver type.  This is used when more than one supplier can provide comparable solution, and a competitive bid may not be optimum business solution.    

Justification must include amount of direct cost-savings (direct), and/or explanation of in-direct cost-saving resulting from not proceeding with a specific supplier.  Often is required that comparable (apples-to-apples) quotes from multiple suppliers be provided. 

Catalog Supplier

Both wavier categories above must include documentation or reference that a University “catalog” (contracted) supplier was researched, and, why a catalog supplier is not being considered.

  1. Bid Waiver Requisition (RQ) Attachments:  There are both required and conditional attachments for a Bid Waiver Requisitions (RQ).  Attachments will vary based on waiver type and content of justification.  

Required Attachments

  • Supplier quote and/or proposal dated less than 30-days.
  • All supplier documents requiring a University signature, including contracts/agreements, non-disclosure agreements (NDAs), etc.
  • Final version of justification.

Conditional Attachments

  • Other suppliers’ apples-to-apples quotes dated less than 30-days.
  • Supporting emails such as from MarketPlace Team, or, catalog supplier stating the goods/services not available.
  • Objective 3rd party documentation supporting the rationale and business arguments (e.g. industry-based articles, recommendations from colleagues, etc.).
  • Analytical data.
  • IT-related components (software and/or hardware) have documentation that collaboration has occurred with OCIO.     
  • Completed “new” Supplier Paperwork.

Not Applicable Attachments

  • Statements or information provided by the requested supplier promoting their own goods/services.  This could be perceived as marketing or advertising rather than objective 3rd party support.