Most purchases should be processed through the University’s Buysite purchasing system. The University maintains a list of preferred contract vendors for a variety of goods and services as well a full list of vendors in the Buysite system. Some purchases may also be paid with ePayments or GEMS cards. See the list of preferred purchasing methods for guidance on which method to choose. General information about porucasing policies and procedures can be found on the Financial Services website at finserv.uchicago.edu/purchasing/po/index.shtml.

Cost Limits

There is no theoretical price limit on BuySite orders, but addtional steps and documentation are required for high value purchases.

Purchases totaling $10,000 or less, including delivery, do not need price quotes.

Purchases $10,001 and above require competing quotes and documentation. In addition, the initiator must type the winning quote number in the “Quote #” box in the BuySite requisition. BuySite will reject requisitions over $10,000 where that box is blank.

Purchases between $10,001 and $250,000 should have a minimum of 2 (preferably 3) price quotes. Quotations need to be detailed in the Source and Price Reasonableness form, which must be attached to the BuySite order. Written price quotes are preferred. They should also be attached to the purchase requisition. It is the order initiator’s responsibilty to solicit the quotes. If competing quotes are not available or if the lowest quote is not the preferred purchase, the situation should be explained on the form.

Purchases over $250,000 be submitted to Procurement Services to solicit the quotes via a ServiceNow request.

Some preferred supplier contracts have special order handling procedures that may be exceptions to the rules above. If in doubt, check the terms of the preferred supplier contracts.

Source and Price Reasonableness Form

The Source and Price Reasonableness form is an internal document that must accompany all purchase orders between $10,000 and $250,000 (guidance in assessing price reasonableness). This form should not be sent to the vendors or anyone outside of the University. Any quotes and pricing information received from the vendor should not be shared with anyone outside of the University.

Purchase Orders that Do Not Go Through BuySite or Will Require Special Handling

  • Orders to vendors who require payment in a foreign currency. BuySite cannot currently handle these.
  • Orders to vendors who require advance payment or scheduled payments before completion of delivery.
  • Orders that require Purchasing Department contract negotiation, such as purchased vehicles. Such orders are not especially common and usually you will have been in negotiation with Purchasing before you are ready to place the requisition.

Adding a Vendor to the System

Sometimes a desired vendor may not be available in Buysite. If this issue is encountered, the requestor should try to find another vendor in the system that sells a comparable product. If there are no other available vendors, then the requestor should contact his/her Financial Administrator to request the addition of a new vendor and provide the following information: company name, full address, telephone and fax numbers, and a contact person. This information is required when submitting vendor request to Shared Services.

Special Events

special event is defined as a University-hosted venue involving services at any dollar amount to be provided by a supplier whether performed on the campus or at an off-campus location. When arranging contracted lodging, space rental, and/or catering for a special event, consult the guide found at https://finserv.uchicago.edu/purchasing/ppf/procedures/153502_planning.shtml.

Paying from an Invoice

A purchase not handled by requisition and purchase order can be paid with an ePayment request along with the appropriate invoice. However, in some cases it may be more appropriate to issue an after-the-fact purchase order through BuySite.