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General Guidelines

Before you make any type of purchase on behalf of the university, there are several guidelines you should review and questions to ask.  

NOTE: UC Davis is committed to bringing in-house all covered services as defined by Regents Policy 5402: Regents Policy Generally Prohibiting Contracting for Services. As such, contracts that include covered services will only be allowed sparingly.

Is the Purchase Appropriate?

University credit, purchasing power and facilities have been granted to you to make purchases for official business use only (PPM 350-10). Always ask if the purchase is necessary, appropriate for the need, and if there are existing supplies that would meet the need. The purchase of personal items with university funds is never appropriate.  The purchase should support one of the university purposes:

  • Teaching
  • Research
  • Public Service
  • Patient Care (for UCD Hospital departments)

Will the Purchase Support Sustainability?

When making a purchase, it is important to consider the effects on the environment. Can the purchase be avoided, by using existing items? Can an appropriate item be purchased as surplus from AggieSurplus? When making a purchase, look for recycled content, energy-efficiency, and most environmentally-sensitive type of packaging. Learn more.

Are There Funding Source Restrictions?

There may be restrictions on what can or cannot be purchased on certain types of accounts (i.e., federal, agency-funded). In general, if an account has more restrictive policies than the university, the more restrictive policy applies.

When in doubt about policy/process interpretation, contact the federal awarding agency; because if/when you are audited, approval of the chosen approach must be in writing from the federal granting agency.

In addition, some funding sources may require that purchases are made from Certified Small Businesses or Certified Disabled Veteran Business Enterprises. See our information on Selecting a Supplier page for more on these programs.

Non-compliance with funding restrictions can result in:
  • Negative audit findings
  • Bad press – w/suppliers and larger community
  • Loss of funding

Is The Item Available in AggieBuy?

AggieBuy provides items at the lowest overall cost, utilizing the university agreements. Lowest overall cost is more than just the price of the item - it includes the cost of time spent issuing the order, traveling to get the item, processing the invoice(s) for payment, etc. 

Is There an Agreement Available?

University agreements have been competitively bid with outside suppliers and generally offer favorable pricing and terms. Using AggieBuy ensures that you are getting the university agreement pricing.

Conversely, there may be situations where your department regularly purchases a particular good or service not covered under an existing university agreement, and a blanket agreement may be set up for your department for those purchases. Blanket agreements are generally established for long-term procurement of goods and services for a period of a year or longer. The establishment of a blanket agreement can often save departments money as they can protect against fluctuating prices.  Blanket agreements are established on a KFS Purchase Agreement document.

Selecting a Supplier

If you can't find what you are looking for from a campus source, or from one of the suppliers with which we have an agreement, you may need to choose an alternate supplier. More on selecting a supplier.

Are There Insurance Requirements?

Any service to be physically provided on the main Davis campus service requires that the supplier have appropriate insurance. If this applies to your transaction, it pays to be prepared. Learn more.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

The university is committed to complying with the ADA. With every purchase it is important to consider options that would accommodate the needs of individuals with disabilities. For example, visual aids for classroom instruction that provide closed captioning for the deaf or hearing impaired should be purchased over those that do not have this option.

Get the Best Price

For every purchase you want to ensure that you are paying the best overall price for the item. In some cases, you may find a better price of an item, but the shipping fees make it overall more expensive than at another supplier. In general, you will get the best overall price using the university agreements. If you cannot purchase from AggieBuy, or other agreement vendors, a price justification for the purchase should be documented.

Export Compliance 

Purchasing items to be used outside of the US?  Purchase requests may involve items or equipment that are classified or controlled by the US Government.  Prior to acquisition, these requests will undergo further review by campus export control authorities to ensure compliance.  Among other things, these federal laws may prohibit the purchase/possession of these items and/or require a federal license for use and access by persons who are not citizens of the United States. In addition, federal licensing or other controls may be required when these items are shipped, transferred, or disposed of.  

How to Buy It

Now that you have selected a supplier, and shopped for a good price, you have several options for how to make the purchase. Use our HOW TO: Buy page to guide you.