The University of Waterloo is committed to a fair and open competitive bid policy. We use informal, formal and sealed bids to obtain fair market prices for the products and services needed.

In order to save both supplier and the university endless time, effort, and expense, it is the University of Waterloo's practice to solicit only one, best, price from each supplier. We will insist that the first price submitted be the best price, and we will not invite nor accept subsequent offers or bids.

Types of tenders

Informal quotations/Bids (e.g. telephone/facsimile requests) are used to reduce the paperwork and/or time formal quotations normally require. We will either call or ask you during your visits to submit prices for a particular item or a group of items. All costs must be included in verbal quotations, since formal documents are not used in this informal process. Samples or specification sheets will be provided whenever possible, so that our requirements are completely understood. To ensure that we've received and recorded the correct information from your firm, you should document your verbal quote to us in writing as soon as possible to the attention of the requesting buyer. The university of Waterloo encourages supplier involvement in the pre-purchase process. Any unsolicited quotations should be copied to the appropriate buyer in order to assure a fair evaluation. 
Formal quotations/Bids are used for more costly or complex purchases. This method ensures that all selected bidders receive identical instructions, terms and specifications for the product or service we wish to buy. 
Sealed submissions are used for high value goods or services that involve long-term contracts or purchase orders. The bidder must submit their proposal in a sealed envelope by the date and time specified. Bidders are not included nor present at the opening of sealed bids, but are notified in writing about the outcome (e.g., the firm receiving the award, but not the financial and commercial aspects) in a reasonable time frame. Bidders may adjust or withdraw their submissions, providing the details are received in written form in advance of the closing time/date. Submissions received after the closing time/date will be returned unopened and the potential vendor advised accordingly. 
All University of Waterloo solicitations exceeding $100 000.00 are posted electronically at the Merx Website and are in compliance with the Canadian Agreement on Internal Trade.

Bid process

When asked to quote or bid, please be sure to follow these instructions:

  • The university must receive your quotation/bid by the date and time specified, or it will be excluded from consideration. We will allow reasonable time for bids to be submitted. If you need to request extension, it must be approved in writing by the requesting purchasing representative. In such cases, the same extension will be granted to all competitors.
  • Always separate freight costs (if applicable) and other one-time charges from unit price(s) when you prepare a bid/quotation for us. If these one-time costs are not separately stated, your firm's quotation/bid may be placed at a disadvantage.
  • Please quote/bid on the exact specifications listed. We also encourage you to submit alternate specifications, prices and delivery dates.
  • If you cannot meet the specified delivery date, please state that fact to us and include your own delivery date with your bid/quotation.
  • Please call us about any specification that you might find difficult to interpret or that you believe is in error. We in turn, will contact you if there is something we question about your bid or quotation.
  • The status of duty and taxes must be clearly indicated on all bids and quotations. Governmental regulations include some unique situations for universities, therefore, we must request that your quotations show unit prices and taxes separately and include the duty status for each item listed.
  • Should conditions arise that indicate that it would be in the University's best interest to allow rebidding/requoting to occur, all original vendors requested to bid/quote will be given an equitable opportunity to rebid/requote. Changes in specifications, requirements and/or state of the art are some examples of conditions that would create a rebid/requote situation.

Request for information

If we request informal estimates on prices or specifications on products we have not yet decided to purchase, our Purchasing staff will make sure you know this fact before you submit your response to our RFI. 

Request for proposal

We will request formal written proposals (RFP) for our more complex requirements where, in addition to normal evaluation methods, supplier performance record, special capabilities, task understanding and proposed strategies will be considered.