How to buy a service

Process and requirements when purchasing services at UW-Madison


Services involve hiring someone else to perform a task, including things like catering, marketing/advertising, or construction.

Ways to buy services

This is an accordion element with a series of buttons that open and close related content panels.

Buy from a contracted vendor

Search for vendors on contract

Purchasing Services manages and maintains many contracts for the purchase of services.  These contracts have already gone through a formal bidding process and do not require additional work prior to purchasing the needed services. Contracts may be limited in scope so not all services available through a vendor are necessarily included in the scope of the contract. Contact the Procurement Specialist responsible for the commodity if you are unsure.

If your purchase is $5,000 or less

  • One-time purchases can be made using a Purchasing Card; for recurring purchases, a Purchasing Card or a contract blanket order can be used (based upon Department preference). Note:  Contract blanket orders do allow for purchases over $5,000 as long as the services you are purchasing are included in the contract.

If your purchase is more than $5,000

  • A requisition is needed, which will involve a Procurement Specialist.  You should not initiate a purchase with a vendor until an official Purchase Order has been issued. Reminder: If a vendor that is on contract sends an agreement that requires a signature for the services needed, that agreement must be sent to Purchasing Services to be reviewed and signed.

Buy from a vendor that is not on contract

If your purchase is $5,000 or less

  • One-time purchases can be made using a Purchasing Card.
    • If the vendor has provided an agreement for the UW to review and sign, please contact the appropriate procurement specialist for contractual review and official UW signature. Only delegated Procurement Specialists have signature authority for procurement contracts.  If the vendor will perform work on campus, you must consult with a procurement specialist before proceeding.

If your purchase is more than $5,000

  • A requisition is needed, which will involve a procurement specialist.
    • 1: If the vendor has provided an agreement for the UW to review and sign, attach the contract to the requisition for contractual review and official UW signature. Only delegated Procurement Specialists have signature authority for procurement contracts.
        1. If the services required are Sole Source in nature (unavailable from any other source) and total costs are expected to exceed $5,000, you must also attach a Purchases for Services Justification Form.
        2. If more than one vendor is able to provide the service(s) needed the simplified bidding process must be followed for purchases totaling more than $5,000  and not exceeding $50,000. If services are expected to total over $50,000, then a Procurement Specialist must be contacted.
    • 2: If the vendor does not provide the UW with an agreement:
      1. Fill out the Contract Details Form.
        1. If the services required are Sole Source in nature (unavailable from any other source) and total costs are expected to exceed $5,000, you must also attach a Purchases for Services Justification Form.
        2. If more than one vendor is able to provide the service(s) needed the simplified bidding process must be followed for purchases totaling more than $5,000  and not exceeding $50,000. If services are expected to total over $50,000, then a Procurement Specialist must be contacted.
      2. Email the Contract Details Form to your Dean or Director’s office for approval.
      3. Send hard copies of the requisition, Contract Details Form and Purchases for Services Justification Form (if required) and Simplified Bidding Record including all quotations (if required) to your Dean or Director’s office for review and signatures.

Once the paperwork is received, reviewed, and if approved by Purchasing Services, a Service Agreement will be prepared and sent to the contractor for their signature prior to the start of services. Services may not begin until a contract is fully executed and a purchase order is issued.

Is the vendor eligible?

There is no “approved vendor” list. Before beginning the purchasing process, check to see if the university is allowed to purchase items from the vendor. If they appear on the following directories, they are ineligible.

Service purchases that require a different process

Some items such as legal services, marketing agreements and public speakers or entertainers require special approvals.

This is an accordion element with a series of buttons that open and close related content panels.

Public Speakers or Entertainers

See PPP30 for more detailed information on policy and procedures.

All transactions must have a signed Entertainment Contract or Public Services Speaking Services Contract PRIOR to the event taking place. If the Speaker or Entertainer provides his/her own contract, then he/she must sign the University Standard Rider before Purchasing will sign their contract.

  • A Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN)/Social Security Number (SSN) is required.
    • This information should be submitted separately on a W9
  • The Speaker or Entertainer will receive a 1099.

For contracts with a total value of $7000, a Wisconsin Department of Revenue WT-11 form  is required except under specific conditions.  For more information, see UW System Administrative Policy 235 (formerly F31).

Catering Services

Catering is defined as follows: A sit-down meal that is served by a caterer and/or a buffet style meal where the caterer remains in attendance during service to replenish the buffet as needed.

You must contact Housing and/or the Union for catering services prior to working with outside vendors.

Maintenance Agreements for Equipment

Maintenance agreements for equipment require a quote from the vendor which often require signatures.  The department should prepare a requisition for all maintenance agreements with the quote attached.

Construction/Remodeling Services

Marketing Agreements

Prior approval from the Office of University Relations is required before University of Wisconsin-Madison departments purchase Marketing Services.  The campus client has final approval, but the expectation is that University Marketing will be consulted initially to brief the agency on existing UW-Madison brand assets, brand and visual guidelines, etc.

Advertising Agreements must be submitted to Purchasing Services for review of terms and conditions and signature on the agreement.

Legal Services

Contact the UW Office of Legal Affairs.

Contact

find Purchasing Services on a map

Purchasing Services
Suite 6101, 21 North Park Street
Madison, WI 53715

Call Purchasing services by phone

608-262-1526