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Vendor Procurement Guide

Section 6: Purchasing Process

This section details the various types of purchasing transactions and methods to process requisitions to contract award.

Purchasing Transaction Types

There are several different types of purchasing transaction types, depending upon the commodity and service that needs to be obtained and the frequency of the agency’s need.

A one-time single purchase is used to purchase commodities or services that are not considered repetitive.

An open-end contract may be established for specific commodities and services when the exact amount is unknown. The Purchasing Division issues both statewide contracts, for mandatory use by all state agencies under its authority, and agency open-end contracts. These open-end contracts are convenient for recurrent purchases because the competitive bidding has already taken place and the agency may simply issue a release order from these contracts.

Some of the benefits of statewide contracts to state agencies are the volume discount to the state, the availability throughout the entire state, guaranteed pricing, and administrative ease since the competitive bid process is complete.

Benefits to the vendor community includes guaranteed sales statewide, confirmed pricing, set terms and conditions, and potential sales to political subdivisions, such as counties, municipalities, school boards of education, etc.

Professional service contracts are used to obtain specific professional expertise which is not available within state government. Examples of professional services may be legal, architectural, medical, dental, engineering and other consultant services. All needs for professional services estimated to cost in excess of $25,000 must be bid through the Purchasing Division, unless specifically exempt.

Emergency purchases may be necessary when unforeseen causes arise, in accordance with West Virginia Code §5A-3-15. The Purchasing Director, exercising sound judgment and discretion, will review the agency’s justification and must provide approval for the emergency purchases. A minimum of three bids, if possible, should be obtained.

Lease and lease purchase of equipment are transaction types by which a state agency may obtain equipment and make payments for the use of the equipment over a period of time.

Sole source procurements are used when competition is not available and the commodity or service is only available from one source. The item cannot be obtained through ordinary purchasing procedures and the item is unique and not available from any other source. For sole source procurement $25,000 or less, the agency maintains written documentation at their location certifying that no other sources are available and that the agency exhausted all attempts to secure competition. For sole source procurements exceeding $25,000, the Purchasing Division posts a sole source determination in the West Virginia Purchasing Bulletin, noting the potential sole source vendor and the quotation to determine if there are any other vendors who may provide the commodity or service. If no other valid responses are received by vendors, the Purchasing Division will process the purchase. If valid responses are received, the Purchasing Division will competitive bid the commodity or service on behalf of the agency.

Purchasing Methods

There are several types of purchasing methods, which are used to acquire commodities and services for state agencies. These methods include Requests for Quotations, Requests for Proposals, Expressions of Interest, and Requests for Information.

Request for Quotations

A Request for Quotation (RFQ) is an invitation to bid on state purchases. For purchases over $25,000 which are processed through the Purchasing Division, the RFQ is the standard form used to solicit and submit bids. All bids will be opened in a public forum, referred to as the bid opening. The vendor must submit the completed RFQ to the Purchasing Division by the established date and time in order to be considered. The bid must be signed by the vendor to be considered valid.

Although the RFQ form issued by the Purchasing Division should be used to prevent confusion or errors, substitutions for the RFQ form may be made only if the terms, conditions, and provisions offered by the vendor are equivalent to the official RFQ.  Submission of an alternate bid form that contains conflicting terms and conditions may be cause for rejection of the entire bid.

The RFQ contains detailed specifications of the commodities and services to be procured in addition to all terms and conditions that must be met by the vendor.  Unsuccessful vendors are not compensated for the development and submission of bids.

Bid packages are electronically downloadable via the West Virginia Purchasing Bulletin by paid, registered vendors from the Purchasing Division website; by visiting the Purchasing Division at 2019 Washington Street, East, in Charleston, West Virginia; or upon request by calling (304) 558-2306.

When the Request for Quotations process is used, competitive bids are received, properly evaluated and awarded to the lowest responsible bidder who meets the specifications. Generally defined, a responsible bidder is one who has a reputation for good performance, financial stability, and is able to furnish the required needs of the agency as requested.

After a proper evaluation, if an award is made to a vendor other than the lowest bidder, a thorough justification is written and retained for public record and inspection.

The RFQ includes the quantity (except for indefinite quantity open-end contracts), the ship to and bill to addresses, all service requirements, mainte­nance, repair, warranty, and any special conditions re­quired by the spending unit. If any portion of the request is unclear, it is the vendor’s responsibility to request clarification from the state agency or buyer at least five (5) days prior to the bid opening. Please be aware a deadline is established in the RFQ for technical questions relating to the solicitation.

Specifications and commodity descriptions in RFQs are prepared in a manner to encourage all vendors who can meet the state's requirements to bid. Specifications should be reviewed and if vendors determine that they are too restrictive, they must send a written protest to the Purchasing Director, at least five (5) working days prior to the bid opening. If no protest is received, it is determined there are no objections to the specifications. See Section 7 of this Vendor Procurement Guide for additional information on protest procedures.

If it is determined, either before or after the bid opening that commodities or services having dif­ferent specifications or quantity are required for the intended use and it is in the best interest of the state, the Purchasing Director has the authority to rewrite the RFQ and issue a rebid.

The bid submitted to the Purchasing Division must be signed by an individual authorized to legally bind the person, partner­ship, company, or corporation submitting the bid. You should also indicate on the envelope the date and time of the bid opening, the state Purchasing Division buyer, and the requisition number. An example is below:

Buyer: 32
RFQ: DPS1134
Bid Opening Date: 5/10/2012
Bid Opening Time: 1:30 p.m.

It is the vendor’s responsibility to deliver the original bid to the Purchasing Division prior to the established bid opening date and time.

Signed bids submitted by facsimile transmission may be accepted in lieu of sealed bids if the completed bid is received prior to the bid opening time. However, the original bid bond should be re­ceived within two working days following the specified date of the bid opening in all cases where a bid bond is required.

Signed facsimile are acceptable. The state accepts no responsibility for the unsuccessful and/or incomplete receipt of bids submitted by any electronic means.

Refer to the checklist below when submitting bids/proposals for purchases over $25,000:

Submitting Bids/Proposals More than $25,000

  • Have you signed your bid/proposal?

  • Have you included the required bid bonds, if applicable?

  • Are you responding by the date and time as established for the opening?

  • If offering an alternate as an or equal option, did you clearly follow the specification instructions?

  • Have you supplied the original bid to the Purchasing Division?

  • Have you met the mandatory requirements stated in the bid?

  • Have you attended the mandatory pre-bid conference, if applicable?

  • Have you responded appropriately to the mandatory addenda (changes to the original RFQ), if applicable?

Best Value Purchasing / Request for Proposals (RFP)

Best Value Purchasing is a purchasing method used to acquire services where the specifications or scope of work may not be well-defined and cost is not the sole factor in determining the award. One such type of Best Value Procurement is a Request for Proposals, which is used to solicit proposals from potential bidders, taking into consideration criteria and scoring methods as defined in the Request for Proposals. Such criteria factors may include the vendors’ ability, resources, experience, staffing, and proposed methods to furnish the required services.

Best Value Purchasing Standard Format

All Requests for Proposals follow the standard format defined by the Purchasing Division. This format addresses required areas and enables the agency to modify the background and scope of work to meet its needs.

Evaluation Criteria

All evaluation criteria must be clearly defined in the specifications section and based on a 100 point total score. Based on a 100 point total, cost shall represent a minimum of 30 of the 100 total points in the criteria, unless specifically approved by the Purchasing Director.

Proposal Format and Content

Proposals shall be requested and received in two distinct parts: technical and cost. The cost portion shall be sealed in a separate envelope and will be opened after the completion of the technical evaluation.

Proposal Submission

§5A-3-11 states that “The bid must be received by the Purchasing Division prior to the specified date and time of the bid opening. The failure to deliver or the non-receipt of the bid by the Purchasing Division prior to the appointed date and hour shall result in the rejection of the bid. The vendor is solely responsible for the receipt of the bid by the Purchasing Division prior to the appointed date and hour of the bid opening. All bids will be opened publicly by two or more persons from the Purchasing Division. Vendors will be given notice of the day, time, and place of the public bid opening. Bids may be viewed immediately after being opened.”

Technical Bid Opening

The Purchasing Division will open only the technical proposals on the date and time specified in the Request for Proposals. The Purchasing Division representative will read aloud the names of those who responded to the solicitation and confirm that a Cost Proposal has been included in the bid.

Technical Evaluation

An evaluation committee shall review the technical proposals, assign appropriate points and make a final written consensus recommendation to the Purchasing Division buyer. Vendors must score a minimum of 70% (49 points) of the total technical points possible to be considered as a qualifying proposal. All Vendors not attaining the minimum acceptable score (MAS) shall be considered to have submitted a non-qualifying proposal; therefore, these Vendors shall be disqualified and removed from further consideration. All cost bids, including qualifying and non-qualifying technical proposals, will be opened. A proposal may be deemed non-qualifying for a number of reasons including, but not limited to, the bidder’s technical proposal failing to meet the minimum acceptable score and the bidder’s technical proposal failing to meet a mandatory requirement of the contract. Certain information, such as technical scores and reasons for disqualification, will not be available until after the contract award, pursuant to West Virginia Code §5A-3-11(h) and West Virginia Code of State Rules §148-1-6.2.5.

If the Purchasing Division buyer approves the committee’s recommendation, the information will be forwarded to an internal review committee within the Purchasing Division.

Cost Bid Opening

Upon approval of the technical evaluation from the internal review committee, the Purchasing Division will schedule a time and date to publicly open and read aloud all of the cost proposals.

The Purchasing Division shall schedule a date and time to publicly open and announce cost proposals when the Purchasing Division has approved the technical recommendation of the evaluation committee. The agency and the vendors shall be notified of this date.  All cost bids for qualifying and non-qualifying proposals will be opened. A proposal may be deemed non-qualifying for a number of reasons including, but not limited to, the bidder’s technical proposal failing to meet the minimum acceptable score and the bidder’s technical proposal failing to meet a mandatory requirement of the contract. Certain information, such as technical scores and reasons for disqualification, will not be available until after the contract award, pursuant to West Virginia Code §5A-3-11(h) and West Virginia Code of State Rules §148-1-6.2.5.

Cost Evaluation

The evaluation committee will review the cost proposals, assign appropriate points and make final consensus recommendation to the Purchasing Division. West Virginia Code §5A-3-37, provides an opportunity for qualifying vendors to request (at the time of bid) preference for their residency status. Such preference is an evaluation method only and will be applied only to the cost bid in accordance with the West Virginia Code. Please note that this preference does not apply to construction. A certificate of application is used to request this preference. Generally, a West Virginia vendor may be eligible for two 2.5% preferences in the evaluation process, to a maximum total of 5%.

§5A-3-37(5) and (6) provides an opportunity for qualifying resident vendors who are a veteran of the United States armed forces, the reserves or the National Guard to request, at the time of bid, preference for their residency status. Resident veterans who qualify may receive a preference of 3.5%. The Purchasing Division will make the determination of the Vendor Preference and Resident Veteran Preference, as applicable.

Additionally, application may be made for preference as a non-resident small, women- and minority-owned business, in accordance with West Virginia Code §5A-3-59 and West Virginia Code of State Rules.

Contract Approval and Award

After the cost proposals have been opened, the evaluation committee performs its review and makes its recommendation based on the highest scoring vendor to the Purchasing Division buyer.

Once approved by the buyer, the contract is generated and approved by the Purchasing Division, forwarded to the Attorney General’s Office for approval as to form, returned to the Purchasing Division as approved, encumbered, and then mailed to the successful vendor. Notification, at that time, is made to the unsuccessful bidders.

Expression of Interest (EOI)

The Purchasing Division uses Expressions of Interest primarily in the selection of architectural and engineering services. A response to an Expression of Interest should include a statement of the firm’s qualifications and performance data, and may include anticipated concepts and proposed methods of approach to the project.

A standard format is used for Expression of Interests, which addresses required areas and enables the agency to modify the requirements and description of the work to meet its needs.

Request for Information (RFI)

An RFI is a document used to solicit information, data, comments, or reactions from possible suppliers preceding the issuance of a Request for Quotation and/or a Request for Proposal. The RFI is used for informational purposes only and no award will be made.

Bid Solicitation

Request for Quotations (RFQ), Request for Proposals (RFP), Sole Source Determinations and Expressions of Interest may be downloaded from the West Virginia Purchasing Bulletin by registered vendors or requested by the vendor from the Purchasing Division. Every vendor who specifically makes a request in response to the West Virginia Purchasing Bulletin will receive a copy of the solicitation. The solicitation may also be sent unsolicited to vendors, which are recommended by the agency as suggested vendors.

An RFQ is distributed by either the state agency (for purchas­es $25,000 or less) or by the Purchasing Division (for purchases over $25,000). Requisitions for commodities or services estimated to exceed $25,000 are published in the West Virginia Purchasing Bulletin.

Vendors must review the solicitation closely as well as the instructions to vendor submitting bids and the general terms and conditions which are included as part of the solicitation. To view the templates for the instructions and Purchasing Master Terms and Conditions, please visit:


To view the templates for the instructions and Agency Master Terms and Conditions, please visit:



During the bid process, it may be necessary to alter bidding documents. To facilitate a change to a solicitation after issuance for bid in the West Virginia Purchasing Bulletin, a formal written addendum is required. The addendum is generated by the agency to address the change and is issued to prospective bidders by the Purchasing Division.

A formal addendum is necessary to:  add, delete or change specifications or attachments; provide a copy of the pre-bid attendee list; answer technical questions, requests for clarification, or requests for product substitutions (on construction projects); extend or alter bid schedule dates/times; or any other such change to the issued bidding documents.

Bid Changes and Withdrawals

Formal changes of submitted bids are permitted before the bid opening. A bidder shall submit changes in writing to the Purchasing Division and the changes must be received by the Purchasing Division prior to the date and time of the bid opening. The corrected bid should state, “this bid supersedes any and all bids received previously.”

A bid may be cancelled at any time prior to the bid opening if requested in writing by the vendor. All bids submitted become the property of the State of West Virginia and no bid (revised or cancelled) may be physically removed from the Purchasing Division after being submitted.

Alternate "or Equal" Bids

If a vendor chooses to bid an alternate commodity to that which is specified in the RFQ, he or she is required to quote a commodity of “equal or better” quality. All necessary literature, technical data, certification, or samples must be supplied to verify the equal quality of the alternate commodity. If the commodity deviates in any way from the specifications, vendors must clearly identify the deviation in their bid document.

Brand name specifications indicate a quality level only. Alternate brands of equal quality may be accepted, provided that the deviations between the items are minor and do not affect the use or suitability for the needs of the state. Minor deviations from detailed specifications may be waived by the Purchasing Director.

Failure to provide information for alternate items may be grounds for rejection of a vendor’s bid.  The Purchasing Division is ultimately responsible for the determination of what commodities and services are “equal.”

Bid Submission

The vendor is responsible for submitting a correct and accurate bid to the Purchasing Division by the specified bid opening time and date. All bids must be clocked in no later than the scheduled bid opening time and date to be considered. If presenting the bid in person, the vendor must submit its bid to the receptionist immediately upon arrival. Any bid that has been received by the Purchasing Division staff is considered to be in the possession of the Purchasing Division and will not be returned for any reason. Bids that are not received by the Purchasing Division by the bid opening time and date will be stamped as “Bid Received Late,” maintained in the official file and posted online upon receipt with the other bids.

Fax bids are acceptable, but receipt of bid must be completed prior to the bid opening time and date. The state accepts no responsibility for the unsuccessful and/or incomplete transmission of bids by electronic transmission. Bids submitted via facsimile may not be sealed until receipt by the Purchasing Division. The Purchasing Division makes no guarantee of confidentiality and accepts no responsibility for completeness of bids or transmission.

Any bonds submitted via fax should be followed by an original bond received by the Purchasing Division within two (2) business days.

Bid Opening

It is the vendor's responsibility to see that the bid arrives at the Purchasing Division prior to the established bid opening date and time to be considered. If delivering bids in person, vendors must submit their bid to the receptionist immediately upon arrival. Any bid that has been received by the Purchasing Division staff is considered to be in the possession of the Purchasing Division and will not be returned for any reason. No extension of time will be granted.

Any bid inadvertently scheduled to open on any day that is not a regularly scheduled work day of the Purchasing Division will be opened at the same hour on the next regularly scheduled work day unless an addendum is issued with a different bid opening date and time.

The Purchasing Division does not assume any responsibility related to the successful delivery of bids to the Purchasing Division. Vendors should allow adequate time for the successful delivery of bids to the Purchasing Division. Failure to deliver or the non-receipt of these bid forms at the Purchasing Division prior to the appointed date and time are grounds for rejection of the bids.

At the time of the bid opening, Purchasing Division representatives will meet in a public forum to open all bids for that scheduled date and time. The bids are opened in the Purchasing Division's Bid Room at 2019 Washington Street, East, in Charleston, West Virginia, unless otherwise specified in the solicitation. A Purchasing Division representative will read aloud pertinent data relevant to the bid. No discussion or decision regarding the bids/proposals submitted will be made at that time. Following the bid opening, any individual attending the bid opening may review the opened bids/proposals and subsequently scanned images of the bids received. These bids may also be viewed by visiting:


Special Requirements


The Purchasing Division may require a bond or deposit as part of the bidding process as defined in the RFQ specifications. This requirement is mandatory for construction contracts in excess of $25,000; however, it may also be used for a requisition of any commodity or service. The applicability and amount of bonds and/or deposit required of a vendor is determined by the Purchasing Director at any time, if, in his or her judgment, the security is necessary to safeguard the state from undue risk or potential loss. The bonds or deposit serve as a guarantee that if the contract is awarded to such bidder, that bidder will enter into the contract for the work specified in the bid.

The vendor may submit a certified check (for projects under $100,000), cashier’s check, certificate of deposit, bond or other alternate form of acceptable security. Any bond or other security must be provided by a surety authorized to do business in West Virginia.

The three most common types of bonds, aside from a bid bond, used in the state purchasing process are performance, labor and material, and maintenance.

  • Performance bonds: a bond in which a surety agrees to be liable to pay a certain amount of money in the event a vendor fails to perform a contract as bid; this bond is usually for the full amount of the contract.

  • Labor and materials payment bonds: a bond submitted by the apparent successful vendor upon request of the state to ensure payment of labor and materials purchased or contracted for on behalf of the state in a construction project.

  • Maintenance bonds: a bond provided as a warranty of normally two (2) years, which is required on roofing projects.

When any contract is satisfactorily completed on which a surety bond or other deposit has been previously submitted, the vendor should request the agency to release the bond(s). The agency shall certify the completion of the project, in writing, to the Purchasing Division. Upon receipt of the notification, the Purchasing Division shall return the check or deposit to the vendor.

In cases where an error is made in the bid and the vendor requests that his or her bid be rejected, the 5% bid bond or 5% of the amount of the bid may be forfeited to the State of West Virginia. Repeated bidding errors may result in the vendor being declared non-responsible and ineligible to continue doing business with the State of West Virginia.


In some instances, the Purchasing Director may require sample commodities to be submitted with bids which must be submitted at no charge to the state. If the samples are to be returned, instructions must be submitted for returning the samples at the vendor's own expense. Any samples left over thirty (30) days after the date of the bid opening, without return instructions, will be dis­posed of at the discretion of the Purchasing Director.

Product Testing

Any testing of specific brands of commodities, which may lead to future purchases restricting competition, must have pre-approval, in writing, by the Purchasing Division. State agencies are to submit a description of the proposed testing with complete details including, but not limited to, the specific brand and names of vendors involved in the test; the brands and vendors that may be excluded in the future; the length and cost of the test; the cost of potential future purchases after the test; and all other agency and vendor information about the product testing that should be publicly disclosed in the interest of open business.

It is important to note that agencies may contact a vendor to obtain information about or copies of specifications relating to a specific brand or manufacturer. This information may be used to assist in drafting specifications for the agency’s future solicitations. Providing such information upon request will not jeopardize the vendor’s ability to compete in the bid process as long as the vendor does not receive compensation or favored treatment in future procurements.

Additional Requirements

Additional requirements to those mentioned above may be contained in the specifications. If specified, the Purchasing Director may require that vendors awarded a contract show proof of adequate public liabil­ity and property damage insurance, and of workers’ compensation coverage. Relating to construction contracts, the state may require the successful vendor to furnish a certificate of Builder’s Risk Insurance providing coverage for 100% of the actual cash value of the project until it is complete and accepted by the owner.

Other special requirements will be clearly defined in the RFQ/RFP. Total compliance is necessary before a purchase order can be issued.

Bid Rejection at Vendor's Request

The Purchasing Director may, at his discretion, reject an erroneous bid after the bid opening if all of the following conditions exist and can be proven:

  1. A clerical error was made; and

  2. The error materially affected the bid; and

  3. Rejection of the bid would not cause hardship on the state agency involved other than losing an opportunity to receive commodities or services at a reduced cost; and

  4. Enforcement by the state on the part of the bid in error would be unconscionable.

Information Prior to Award

If vendors desire to review copies of bids prior to the award or issuance of a purchase order, they may do so by visiting the Purchasing Division website where copies of the bids received are posted:


Contract Award

In accordance with West Virginia Code §5A-3-11, all purchases based on advertised bid requests or contracts “shall be awarded to the lowest responsible bidder(s), taking into consideration the qualities of the commodities and services to be supplied, their conformity with specifications, their suitability to the requirements of the government, the delivery terms and, if the director determines there are nationally accepted industry standards, cost of maintenance and the expected life of the commodities.”

A responsible vendor must be capable of producing the desired commodities or services, adhering to the desired quality standards, and delivering the prescribed quantity at the appropriate deliv­ery rate.

All pertinent information will be considered in deter­mining the responsibility of a vendor. The most frequently con­sidered factors are listed below:

  • Facilities

  • Financial ability

  • Organizational background

  • Experience with similar work

  • Scheduling procedures

  • Labor relations

  • Quality control

  • Ability to furnish securities

For contract awards using Best Value Procurement methods, the award must be made to the highest scoring responsive and responsible bidder whose bid is determined, in writing, to be the most advantageous to the state, taking into consideration all evaluation factors set forth in the Best Value solicitation, in accordance with West Virginia Code §5A-3-10b.

Prior to an award, a vendor must be in compliance with the following requirements and the agency shall retain documentation in the file:

  • Vendor registration process (must be registered and the fee paid, if applicable);
  • In accordance with the West Virginia Code §21A-2-6, verification of current unemployment fee status and Workers' Compensation coverage is required to ensure the vendor is not in default with Workers' Compensation and Employment Compensation;
  • In accordance with the Code of State Rules 148 CSR 6.1.7, the vendor must be licensed and in good standing with any and all state and local law and requirements, including proper registration with the Secretary of State’s office, if applicable;
  • Purchasing Affidavit (required on all contracts exceeding $5,000); and,
  • Agreement Addendum (WV-96) (required when vendors submit alternate terms and condition with their bid)

Quantity Discounts

Unless otherwise specified in the solicitation, discounts must be reflected in the unit price of the commodities or services and not in the form of an overall discount to be considered in evaluating and awarding a purchase order. Discounts offered outside of the unit price column will be taken, but will not be computed and evaluated in the awarding of a purchase order.

Contract Price Adjustments

For contracts, a firm, fixed price is preferable. Adjustments can only be considered when the original RFQ/RFP contains provisions expressly allowing price adjustment. In some cases where a product’s market commonly involves wide price fluctuations (i.e. paper, petroleum products, etc.), it is impractical for vendors to bid a firm, fixed price over a long period of time.

In these circumstances, RFQs include, and contracts are awarded with, provisions for upward and/or downward price adjustments, provided that any upward adjustment must be based upon the increased cost of material to the vendor.

These provisions must be included in the specifications of the bid. Increases must be substantiated in a manner acceptable to the Purchasing Director (i.e. governmental benchmarks, general market increases, published price lists which offer the same price to all customers, or other criteria which the Purchasing Director deems acceptable.)

All price adjustment requests must be initiated by the vendor. Price escalations are generally not allowed unless a specific provision is provided for in the final contract or purchase order.

Multiple Awards

Any time that an RFQ contains more than one item, the state reserves the right to award each item separately or to award the final purchase order based on the low total bid; the Purchasing Division will use the method which is in the best interest of the state in determining the award.

When the state awards a purchase order, the normal process is to award one purchase order for all items bid. However, in some instances, there may be differences in the amounts quoted for individual items. In these circumstances, the buyer may award two or more orders to take advantage of the potential cost savings.

A vendor may submit a bid under the qualification that “all or none” be accepted. Please note, however, in certain circumstances this stipulation could result in the disqualification of the entire bid when substantial savings can be achieved by splitting the purchase order.

Tie Bids

In accordance with the Code of State Rules 148 CSR 1, when tie bids are received, the award is made by the flip of a coin, draw of the cards, best and final offer or any other impartial method considered prudent by the Purchasing Director.

Basis of Award

The successful bidder must meet or exceed the specifications. Awards to an RFQ cannot be made at a higher price for additional quality above what was established in the specifications, which is referred to as “gold-plating” and is not considered a valid basis for awarding a bid.

Awards made using an RFP method are based on an evaluation criterion as specified in the RFP. (See Section 6, "Best Value Purchasing / Request for Proposals [RFP]")

In order to receive any award in excess of $5,000, the vendor must be in good standing with the West Virginia Workers Compensation requirements. A Purchasing Affidavit must also be signed indicating that the vendor does not owe the state any debt, including those from an assessment, penalty, fine, or tax, which exceed $1,000.

Purchase Order

The Purchasing Division issues formal purchase orders and contracts for purchases exceeding $25,000. A formal purchase order is the final document authorizing you to deliver commodities or services (unless written notice to proceed is required) at a definite price, to a specific location, at an agreed time.

A note of caution: Never begin service performance or make a product delivery until the purchase order or contract is received from the Purchasing Division; to proceed otherwise is to do so at the vendor’s own financial and/or legal risk.

Purchases of $25,000 or less are processed at the agency level and not procured through the Purchasing Division; however, purchase orders are used to complete the transaction for agency delegated purchases.

Political Subdivision Purchases

Most statewide contracts are available to political subdivisions, which include counties, local and municipal governments, boards of education, urban mass transportation authorities, volunteer fire departments, and other governmental bodies in West Virginia.

All invoices and correspondence concerning such transactions should be submitted directly to the political subdivision, not to the State of West Virginia.

Awards in the Best Interest of the State

The Purchasing Division evaluates bids and makes awards which are in the best interest of the state. If the Purchasing Division determines that no bid meets the specifications, all bids may be rejected and the specifications rewritten, clarified, and the requisition rebid.

Life Cycle Cost Procurement

The State of West Virginia has determined that the total cost of ownership for some equipment can be calculated. This total cost of ownership is called the “Life Cycle Cost” of the item. The Life Cycle Cost, which must be included in the RFQ/RFP, is calculated by adding the acquisition price and the recurring costs, then subtracting the residual value over the anticipated life of the item. Recurring costs usually include energy, supplies, labor, maintenance, and other costs that the state will incur after the initial purchase.

The trade-in value is subtracted from the sum of the acquisition price and recurring costs when it can be determined. Assuming other factors are equal, the vendor bidding the item with the lowest Life Cycle Cost will be awarded the purchase order. This process is used only when explained in the RFQ/RFP.

Life Cycle Cost formulas exist for certain items. Vendors offering such items are normally required to submit technical data to aid in the determination of the Life Cycle Cost of the item.

Information After Award

After a bid has been awarded, the successful bidder is notified by issuance of the purchase order or contract. All unsuccessful bidders will receive a fax and/or letter to notify them that they did not obtain the award.

After the award, all records of the Purchasing Division are available to be reviewed at no charge and/or copied during normal business hours, Monday through Friday, 8:15 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., holidays and weekends excluded. Our normal copy fee of 50 cents per page is applicable, with a $10 minimum charge.

All bids submitted to the State Purchasing Division are considered public records and are available for inspection during normal official business hours at the Purchasing Division after the bid opening or may be viewed on the Purchasing Division’s website at:


All other information, such as technical scores and reasons for disqualification, will not be available until after the contract award, pursuant to West Virginia Code §5A-3-11(h) and West Virginia Code of State Rules §148-1-6.2.5.

Purchasing Card Program

State agencies participate in a State Purchasing Card Program, which allows them to issue purchasing cards to designated employees for small business purchases.

Vendors who accept the Purchasing Card receive their payment directly from the credit card company currently contracted for this program within three to five days after the transaction has been made. Acceptance of the Purchasing Card is required as a condition of the bid for all commodity contracts.

For additional information on the State Purchasing Card Program, visit the State Auditor’s Office’s website at:


Purchasing Division Decision Path

To assist vendors in the steps required by agency purchasers in making a purchase, the Purchasing Division has outlined its purchasing decision path for state agencies which is detailed below:

Step One: Agency determines its need

Step Two: Agency checks availability through internal resources: Correctional Industries, State Use Law (Sheltered Workshops) or West Virginia State Agency for Surplus Property 

Step Three: Agency determines availability through statewide or agency contract

Step Four: Agency considers sole source and emergency purchases

Step Five: Agency determines appropriate purchasing threshold

  • $0 - $2,500.00                   No competition required

  • $2,500.01 - $5,000.00         Three verbal bids required

  • $5,000.01 - $25,000.00       Three written bids required

  • Over $25,000.00                 Formal bid process (Purchasing Division)

Step Six: Agency sends requisition to Purchasing Division for formal acquisitions (Over $25,000.00)

Step Seven: Solicitation is evaluated and awarded

  • Request for Quotation: Award to Lowest Responsive Bidder Meeting Specifications

  • Request for Proposal: Two Step Process, Award to Highest Scoring Vendor

Step Eight: Purchasing Division completes purchase order encumbrance

Step Nine: Protest review, if required

Step Ten: Contract management

Step Eleven: Purchasing Division conducts regular inspections of agency records to ensure proper procedures are followed

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