For Public Entities, Putting Out to Bid Can Be A Pain. Here Are Some Allowable Alternatives.
Public entities will often be required by their own policies to procure capital projects by following a certain set of rules. While well intentioned, these extra procurement steps can be problematic.
For example, it may be required that they obtain at least three quotes or put out a formal competitive bid. The process can sometimes result in entities being forced to buy inferior quality products they don’t want; products that may fail to serve their needs and leave them feeling regret. These extra steps may also result in added layers of transactional difficulty, project delays, and added costs (such as bonding).
Thankfully, many public entities have allowable alternatives for procurement. This article explains some of the alternative methods you can use to get a Green Flush Restroom easier, faster, and at a lower cost.
Sole source procurement
If you want to avoid the uncertainty that comes with putting a project out to bid, one method you can use is the “Sole source procurement” provision. Soul Source allows the bid process to be bypassed when a vendor is the only source for a specific product or service.
As luck would have it, our self-contained restrooms fit this definition. We are the only company in the United States making this type of product commercially available. If you are ordering one of our self-contained flush restrooms, you can use sole source procurement (we can provide help with sole source documentation as necessary). Our system is not patented, and other companies have the hypothetical capability of engineering a similar system, but they would be doing so with no prior experience. In our experience, this is good enough of a justification for procurement officers and save a lot of hassle.
Purchasing cooperatives are where multiple organizations combine the purchasing interests. Typically, co-ops are used by organizations that have common needs for products.
Co-ops are also popular because they essentially operate as if they are their own independent company, and this often means there’s fewer rules and administration to deal with. The occasionally problematic rules and requirements that might fall in place for the usual bid process might not apply to co-op purchases.
One option, the “piggyback” co-op, can be especially useful, as any single entity can declare itself a co-op, and therefore play by the co-op set of rules, as long as there is an open invitation for other entities to join this entity. Or conversely, if you see an already existing piggyback co-op that is purchasing an item you want, joining one is the quickest and easiest way to become a part of a co-op. This mechanism has historically been very useful to smaller public entities, but can be useful for entities of any size, though it’s worth noting that some entities do not have statutory authority to piggyback.
If you are looking to purchase our restroom, and you want to be extra sure that we can do business together without the order being hijacked in the bid process, going the co-op route might be a solution to consider. Here are some examples of relevant Co-ops to help get you started:
- BuyBoard is a national purchasing co-op serving public entities from coast to coast. We’ve used it for customers as far west as California and as far east as Virginia. It’s easy and simple to get registered.
- COSTARS is the purchasing co-op for entities in the State of Pennsylvania.
- Bergen Bids is the purchasing co-op for Bergen County, New Jersey. It is open for any entity even if that entity is outside of New Jersey.
- King County Co-Op is the purchasing co-op for King County, Washington. It is open for any entity even if that entity is outside of Washington.
- If you are on a purchasing co-op and would like Green Flush to join to make procurement easier, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Purchase through a contractor
Even if you are unable to purchase your restroom directly, you may be able to purchase the restroom through a contractor. Some entities have special arrangements with contractors for capital improvement projects. If you don’t have an arrangement for the contractor, you can do a competitive bid for the contractor to purchase a Green Flush restroom (or equivalent).
Keep in mind though that this approach may not result in any time savings, and it is also the most expensive way to procure our restrooms as the contractor will add a mark-up cost for purchasing the restroom.
We’re honored that many customers insist on our products. As thanks, a customer that uses sole source or one of our purchasing co-ops will receive a 1% discount on the total quote. This, combined with other possible savings from avoiding the bid process, makes alternative procurement all the more worthwhile.