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Selling To The Commonwealth

Each year, the Commonwealth of Virginia purchases more than $5 billion in materials, equipment, supplies, printing, and professional and non-professional services. As such, anyone who sells goods or services is a potential vendor.

It is important to recognize that the Department of General Services is accountable to Virginia taxpayers. So our purchasing agents are committed to obtaining high quality goods and services at reasonable cost.

The information that follows is designed to help vendors better understand our processes, and to make doing business with the Commonwealth as easy as possible.

How We Make Awards

Awards are made using one of the following six methods of procurement:

  • Small purchase procedures,
  • Competitive sealed bidding,
  • Competitive negotiation,
  • Sole source,
  • Emergency, or
  • Reverse auctioning.

How We Purchase Goods

Agencies will purchase non-technology goods and printing up to $50,000.

The Division of Purchases and Supply (DPS), the Commonwealth's central office for buying non-technology materials, equipment, supplies, and printing, normally will purchase these items for state agencies when the estimated cost exceeds $50,000. It also establishes statewide contracts for frequently used goods and some services which are also available for use by localities and other public bodies.

DPS as well as state agencies and some localities use its electronic procurement solution, eVA, to identify vendors and advertise solicitations. Vendors who register in eVA will receive automatic notification of solicitations, if they prefer. In addition, they will receive any changes to the solicitations and most of all, be able to respond to solicitations online, saving mailing and delivery costs at the same time. Registration with eVA is a prerequisite to being awarded a contract. To register, click on the following link:
www.eva.virginia.gov

Some agencies have authority to purchase goods whose price exceeds $50,000. For a list of those agencies, click here.

Agencies have unlimited delegation for non-technology nonprofessional services. Nonprofessional services include all services not defined as professional services (see Professional Services below).

Vendors should work with agencies as they would with any other client; that is, letting the purchasing people know who you are and what you have to offer. This will help ensure you will be contacted when bids and proposals are solicited.

Purchasing Thresholds

In purchasing non-technology goods and printing or nonprofessional services, the Division follows these guidelines:

  • For amounts up to $5,000: Competitive bids are not required, but will be set-aside exclusively for DMBE-certified small businesses. Agencies simply contact at least one DMBE-certified small business and, if the price is considered fair and reasonable, make the purchase.
  • For amounts over $5,000 and up to $50,000: At least four DMBE-certified small businesses must be solicited if available. These procurements will be set-aside for DMBE-certified small businesses.
  • For amounts exceeding $50,000: Procurements may be set-aside in whole or in part, exclusively for DMBE-certified small businesses. Unless set-aside for small businesses only, at least six vendors must be solicited - to include at least four DMBE-certified small businesses.

How We Purchase Professional Services

Usually, each state agency contracts directly for professional services. So any firm that wants to submit proposals in these areas should contact the appropriate agency.

The Commonwealth normally purchases professional services through competitive negotiation. By law, only the following are defined as professional services:

  • Accounting
  • Actuarial services
  • Architecture
  • Land surveying
  • Landscape architecture
  • Law
  • Dentistry
  • Medicine
  • Optometry
  • Pharmacy
  • Professional engineering
  • Economists procured by the State Corporation Commission

Virginia Business Opportunities

The Commonwealth makes it easy to keep up with solicitations through the Virginia Business Opportunities (VBO) website. To view, click here.

At this site you can see major goods and services that state agencies and localities are purchasing. In a typical week, 125 to 200 solicitations are displayed - and solicitations are added daily.

The site provides the buyer's name and contact information for each item listed, and you can sort the opportunities by category, agency, buyer, or locality.

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