Direct Buy Limit

What is it?

The direct buy limit is the dollar limitation set by state law under which purchases may be made without securing competitive pricing. Departments may place orders with suppliers of choice within the direct buy limit without prior approval of Purchasing Services. When the ultimate aggregate cost to the department for a service or the purchase of a product over a 12 month period will exceed the direct buy limit, contact Procurement Services for guidance.    NOTE:  Orders should not be split to avoid competition.  For example, if a department intends to purchase 20 each of the same item valued at $2,000 each, the total will exceed the direct buy limit and unless the department is utilizing a University approved contract, Procurement Service should be consulted regarding the appropriate buying method. Some exceptions may apply to the purchase of certain items, and by order method.

What is the current Direct Buy Limit?

The Direct Buy Limit is for a single order for goods and services is up to $10,000 including shipping and handling (excluding tax) (effective 8/1/2012)

What are the Dollar Limits for the various order methods?

With the many order methods available for ordering and paying, how do you know which to use and the dollar limit associated with each? The table below specifies the different ordering and paying methods and their dollar limit.

eProcurement Module Comparison

A chart that compares the different eProcurement modules and when to use them.

(Click the picture to view)

Did you know the direct buy limit does not apply to most eProcurement Catalog transactions?

Why is this?

  • UW has established competitive contracts with most of the catalog suppliers in eProcurement.
    You can purchase at any dollar amount approved by your department. Catalogs listed under the non-contract category in eProcurement are the exception to the unlimited dollar amount and are subject to the current direct buy limit.
  • You can purchase through eProcurement with full confidence that your transaction and any follow up actions such as delivery, installation, returns and maintenance are protected by a formal contract with the supplier.
  • eProcurement is the preferred purchasing method

How does this apply to Procard?

There is no change to the Procard transaction limit.  The single transaction limit of $3,500 including tax, freight, etc, will remain the same. If a Procard purchase exceeds the single transaction limit, the Procard Staff can approve that transaction by request of the department approving the purchase. Please see the ProCard website for the transaction limit increase procedure.


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