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Vendor Selection & Price Justification

SUNY Board of Trustees’ policy requires that all purchases valued at $2,500 and above must be supported by written documentation justifying the selection of the vendor and the reasonableness of the price. The purchasing department must have a copy of this documentation in the procurement record to support the basis for the conclusion that the price is reasonable. The Vendor Selection and Price Justification Checklist should be used and accompany purchase requisitions or procurement card certifications valued at $2,500 or above.

Reasonableness of Price

A “reasonable” price means a “fair market price” based on normal competitive conditions. It does not necessarily mean the lowest possible price. Methods for determining reasonableness of price include, but are not limited to:

Method of Establishing Reasonableness of Price Requirements for Requesting/Requisitioning Department
Comparison of quoted price with other quoted prices. The requesting department must attach price quotes.
Comparison of quoted price with price for the same/similar services within the last six months. The requesting department must identify the previous purchase by specific purchase order.
Comparison of quoted price with prices in various industry publications. The requesting department must attach a photocopy of the actual publication pages and identify the specific publication by name and date; the items/services must be marked.
Review of the type of work that was previously accepted by the campus at a similar price. The requesting department must identify the previous purchase by specific purchase order.
Comparison of the quoted price with cost to other governmental entities. The requesting department must identify the other governmental entities, provide description of goods or services received, and price paid. 
Other The requesting department must provide documentation and demonstrate reasonableness of price

Selection of Vendor

While the college does not require the lowest price, the college’s general expectation is that all other factors being equal, the vendor selected will be the vendor offering the lowest price. However, there are a number of factors that should be weighed including:

  • Price
  • Quality of Good or Service
  • Convenience
  • Quicker delivery
  • Good Service
  • Assurance of supply
  • Prior experience

In short, there may be good reasons to select a higher price vendor if the overall purchase is in the best interest of the campus. However, if the lowest priced vendor is not selected, justification will need to be provided on the checklist.


Exemptions from providing vendor selection and reasonableness of price include the following:

  • Purchases from New York State Preferred Sources:
    • Corcraft (NYS Department of Correctional Services)
    • NYSPSP (NYS Preferred Source Program for People Who Are Blind)
    • NYSID (New York State Industries for the Disabled, Inc.)
  • Purchases from New York State Office of General Services (OGS) contracts where the instructions for the OGS contract use were followed (for example, request for quote, mini-bid, etc.)
  • Purchases from university-wide contracts
  • Vendor pricing determined from a bid (Formal Sealed Bid)
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