Making Ithaca College Purchases

Sole-Source Guidelines

Definition: A “sole source” is a unique product or service that is only available from one source. Sole source purchases are not intended to be simple process because such purchases bypass competitive purchasing and may not be the best use of College budget dollars.

Sole source purchases require analysis and documentation to substantiate that the supplier is the only available source for the required goods or services, that the price is fair and reasonable, and that the contracted terms are consistent with College purchasing and financial policies and procedures.

By submitting a written justification, a department may substantiate the need for "Sole Source" or "Proprietary" purchases:

  1. The description of the need for compatibility with an existing item (in enough detail to demonstrate that compatibility is indeed necessary).  
  2. OR an explanation that a supplier holds a service contract and therefore must supply the parts to accomplish such a contract.
  3. OR a description of the feature or features which would make an item unique with a detailed explanation of:
    • How and why these "unique features" affect the function of the item
    • Why these functions and/or features are necessary to the use intended by the College.
    • Why an item without these functions and/or features could not be used.
    • Use of statistics or dollar amounts if applicable.
  4. A justification incorporating the above information should also include a definitive statement that no competition by manufacturers or dealers exists; with an explanation of how this information was arrived at and and any other data which the end-user feels would support "sole source" purchasing.
  5. Price justification: a statement that would indicate why you consider the price to be reasonable. Reasonableness of price could be established by a price list, comparison of similar items, etc.