Skip to main content
  1. Identify need
  2. Determine expected cost
  3. Gain initial approval within the department
  4. Identify next steps using the purchase type details below, or for quick reference, see the Purchasing Method Selection Tool PDF (Onyen required)
Note: If your department has a business officer or administrative support to process the purchase, submit request using your department’s procedure (email, ServiceNow, Razor or others)

This is the preferred (and easiest!) way to purchases goods and service less than $25,000 from contracted suppliers. Gives access to cross catalog shopping and individual supplier punch-out catalogs.

Note: ePro is embedded in BuyCarolina, so any ePro guides apply to BuyCarolina.

  • Advantages:
    • Search results include similar products from multiple vendors.
    • UNC-Chapel Hill has negotiated deep discounts on many products.
    • Review by Purchasing Services is not required.
    • Multiple quotes are not required.
    • System creates the purchase requisition and processes the payment.
  • Purchasing thresholds:
    • $25,000 for most BuyCarolina vendors.
    • $5,000 or less for Amazon, Staples, Airgas, Arc-3 Gases, Storr, Ferguson and Lowe’s.
  • BuyCarolina Vendor search.
  • Get help with BuyCarolina.
  • To place order go to ConnectCarolina > Admin WorkCenter > Links > BuyCarolina.

Purchasing Card (P-Card)

Recommended whenever possible for small items that are not available on BuyCarolina or from the CBM/Bill Presentation suppliers and do not require payment by campus voucher.

P-Card Purchases that Require a Signed Contract.

With very few exceptions, departments do not have the authority to sign contracts for the purchase of goods or services, regardless of the price, so they must submit a purchase requisition for contract review.

IMPORTANT! This is only for purchases with a TOTAL COST of $5,000 or less. If future payments will take the cost above $5,000 you must submit a full PO requisition.

For items of $5,000 or less indicate in the requisition that the item is for review only:

  • Create a zero-dollar purchase requisition
    • In the Supplier field select “Contract Review Only.” This will prevent you from having to add the supplier to the vendor system.
    • Indicate total amount of the engagement in comments section of requisition
  • Attach the contract (in Word format if available).
  • The contract for $5,000 or less will reviewed, signed and returned with instructions on proper payment method.
NOTE: Beware Click-through Agreements: clicking a box to agree to purchase details when making online purchases may count as a signed contract, and departments should review carefully before agreeing.

Campus Voucher Required

The following goods and services cannot be purchased using a P-Card, so a Campus Voucher should be used instead.

  • Up to $5,000: use Campus Voucher. Greater than $5,000: follow the standard purchase requisition process:
    • Rent/Lease (excluding reservation deposits that require a PO)
    • Non-student awards
    • Non-employee non-student individual travel reimbursement
    • Cash advances (including gift cards)
    • Royalties
    • Study Subject payments
    • Other Suppliers that do not accept P-Cards
  • Use Campus Voucher for all purchases:
    • Independent contractors once approved (e.g. consultant fees, honorariums, instructional services, non-instructional services). See Independent Contractor Management.
    • Professional services (e.g., legal, accounting/audit, advertising and medical fees).

Make purchase, them submit invoice within your department for payment by campus voucher. See Accounts Payable > Payment Processing > Campus Vouchers.

Purchase Order Required for ALL Purchases

If a purchase is required by the vendor or the type of purchase for purchases up to $5,000, submit a purchase requisition and include a comment explaining the requirement.

  • Some vendors require a Purchase Order for all purchases.
  • Unless the vendor is listed in BuyCarolina, radioactive and certain other hazardous materials require a purchase order for any purchase amount. Check with Environment, Health and Safety or your department to verify requirements.

Customer Billing Module (CBM) and Bill Presentation Suppliers

The following suppliers use the CBM or Bill Presentation systems to process purchases directly using the purchaser’s chart field string.

  • Most UNC-Chapel Hill suppliers, such as the Carolina Inn, Transportation and Parking and the Friday Center.
  • eCommerce vendors
  • Other Contract Vendors:
    • Computer Repair Center
    • Enterprise Rental Car
    • Remedy Annual Maintenance
    • Graduate Medical Health Plan
    • UNC Student Stores

See the full list of vendors plus guide to using Customer Billing Management (CBM) and/or Bill Presentation. University vendors/departments who are not on this list will work directly with the purchaser to arrange payment.

Other Contracted Suppliers

University purchasers have access to a multitude of contracts from state and related agencies. See the University Contracts page for information on the contract agencies and contact the applicable Purchasing Category Manager for help identifying suppliers of specific goods and services.

  • For purchases up to $5,000, payment via P-Card is recommended
  • For purchases over $5,000 and up to $25,000, create a requisition for a PO in ConnectCarolina. See Purchase Requisitions Processing
All UNC-Chapel Hill purchases above $5,000 require a purchase order, so a purchase requisition must be submitted.

For purchases up to $25,000 competitive bidding is not required. (Purchasing thresholds were modified by the state and implemented at UNC-Chapel Hill in July 2022.) Departments need only submit one vendor quote with their requisition. However, it is in the best interest of the department to seek multiple quotes in order to ensure best price.

Departments are highly recommended to save money and time by purchasing from vendors who have a negotiated contract with UNC-Chapel Hill. See sections above on BuyCarolina and Other Existing Contracts and UNC-Chapel Hill Internal Suppliers.

  • Obtain one or more vendor quotes
  • Create a purchase requisition for a PO in ConnectCarolina
    • Include quote from selected vendor. (As of July 2022, a Waiver of Competition is no longer required when selecting a single vendor for purchases up to $25,000.)
    • For help, see Purchase Requisitions Processing
  • For payment processing issues, contact the Accounts Payable Payment Processing unit. If needed for complex purchases Accounts Payable may involve Purchasing Services, but in most cases purchasing will not be involved.

Informal Bid Solicitation

As of July 2022, departments are only required to submit one quote for informal bid solicitations. Contact information for three potential suppliers is still required. Purchasing agents will gather the additional quotes required.

  • Identify up to three potential suppliers and include contact details in requisition. Include at least one supplier quote.
  • Create a well-defined requisition for a PO in ConnectCarolina.
    • Waiver of Competition may be included if competition does not exist for the requested products or services.
    • For help creating a successful requisition, see Purchase Requisitions Processing
  • Purchasing Services will solicit quotes via a University Request for Quote (RFQ).
    • Requires a minimum of three vendors
    • RFQ will include University terms and conditions
    • Depending on the complexity of the purchase and the need for advertisement or response solicitation the purchasing agent may elect to use a Request for Proposal (RFP)/Invitation for Bid (IFB) and the North Carolina Interactive Purchasing System (IPS)
  • Award will be made to the lowest cost vendor that meets the requisition specifications
  • For help, contact the appropriate Purchasing Category Manager
  • For payment processing issues, contact the Accounts Payable Payment Processing unit

Formal Competitive Solicitation

  • Consult with Purchasing Services staff to determine the most appropriate procurement method. Purchasing Services can also help departments determine and define requirements. Contact the related Purchasing Category Manager.
  • Create a well-defined requisition for a PO in ConnectCarolina
    • Waiver of Competition may be included if competition does not exist for the requested products or services
    • For help creating a successful requisition, see Purchase Requisitions Processing
  • Purchasing Services will post a Request for Proposal (RFP)/Invitation for Bid (IFB) on the North Carolina Interactive Purchasing System (IPS)
  • RFP/IFB must stay posted for a minimum of 10 days
  • For solicitations greater than $500,000 when using greater than 30% State Funds:
    • State Purchasing and Contracts will need to pre-screen the RFP/IFB document prior to posting
    • Once bid tabulations are complete and a vendor has been selected, RFP/IFB responses and vendor selection letter will need to be forwarded to State Purchasing and Contracts for approval prior to award
  • For contracts greater than $1,000,000, review and approval by University Counsel and the Chief Procurement Officer is required
  • For payment processing issues, contact the Accounts Payable Payment Processing unit
When hiring temporary employees, departments should request resumes from multiple agencies, then work through the selected agency to hire and manage the employee.

Prior to engaging an independent contractor, departments must submit an Independent Contractor agreement accompanied by a proper letter of justification on department letterhead to create a working relationship with the individual. See Independent Contractor Management.

Submit invoice within department for payment by campus voucher. See Accounts Payable > Payment Processing > Campus Vouchers.

Lease agreements for most goods are managed like other contracts. They function like a purchase for goods or services, but include special arrangements, such as a three-year lease for a vehicle. Lease agreements require a signed contract, so they require a PO even if they are less than $5,000.

  • Create a well-defined requisition for a PO in ConnectCarolina.
  • Not included:
    • Municipal leases – are not allowed by the state of North Carolina
    • Real estate leases – contact Real Estate Operations
Definition: an agreement that the University has with a vendor, such as Barnes and Noble for the Student Stores. UNC does not pay the vendor, instead the vendor takes a percentage of the revenue.

Contact the Office of University Counsel for guidance.

Related Information

Service Owned By: