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Handbook of Business Procedures

Date published: 
Last revised: 
Issued by: 

January 17, 2012
January 17, 2012


Part 7. Purchasing - Table of Contents


A. Introduction

Most purchases at The University of Texas at Austin are made on a competitive basis. However, there may be times when competition does not exist or it is in the university’s best interest to use a particular product or service. Since these purchases eliminate competition, the university requires that justification be submitted with any sole source purchase request that exceeds $5,000. The justification does not require departments to defend the need for the product or service, but it is necessary to:

  1. Identify the unique features of the particular product or service.
  2. Explain the need for the unique features of the product or service.
  3. Explain why other products/vendors are not acceptable.

For more information, see examples of sole source justification forms on the Purchasing Forms and Templates Web page.

B. Types of Sole Source Purchases

There are two types of sole source purchases.

1. Proprietary
A proprietary purchase is used when the goods or services are only available through a single source. Examples: Original equipment manufacturer (OEM) repair/maintenance or replacement parts, some software, or some service contracts.

2. Best Value
A best-value purchase is used when it is in the best interest of the university to use the particular product or service, but there is actually more than one source available. Example: Specific reagents used in long-term experiments. For continuity of research, a lab would need to continue using the same products for the duration of the experiment.

C. Resources

Request for Sole Source Purchase Forms



Part 7. Purchasing - Table of Contents