Insight: Six Common Ways Public Agencies Buy

To succeed in selling to public agencies, it is critical to understand the important role that procurement plays. Public agencies must conduct purchasing in a fair and transparent manner. Officials are expected to be good stewards of the public tax dollar and trust. Because of this, government sales cycles are often much slower than those in B2B sales.

More Common Procurement Methods

Request for Proposal (RFP)

  • RFPs are the most traditional public procurement method.

  • An agency releases an opportunity for vendors to bid on.

  • Bids are evaluated based on a predetermined set of criteria that often favors low cost.

State Term Contract

  • State term contracts have become more popular as technology becomes more ubiquitous in government and education.

  • States leverage their size and buying power to enter agreements for a set period of time for goods and services.

  • Agencies in the state can purchase off the contracts without a formal procurement.

Cooperative Contracts

  • Cooperative contracts are very similar to state term contracts, but their geographic boundaries are often expanded.

  • Cross-jurisdictional agencies combine their buying power to create set terms and pricing.

  • Once the contract is in place, participating agencies can purchase off them without a formal procurement.

Less Common Procurement Methods

Emergency Procurements

  • Emergency procurements are use to procure goods and services that respond to immediate and critical needs.

  • Many public agencies made relatively heavy use of emergency procurements in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sole Source Procurements

  • Sole source procurements are used when only one vendor is identified to meet the criteria for a good or service.

Small Purchases

  • Many jurisdictions allow agencies to make purchases under a certain amount without a formal procurement.


Learn More

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