A-to-Z Index

Sole Source / Proprietary Procedure


Competitive procurement is prescribed by the Code of Virginia, § 2.2-4303 as the preferred method to obtain goods and services. If competition is to be restricted, or not utilized, the facts and justification supporting this must be documented in detail. Justification must be based upon unique technical or performance characteristics. Personal preference for certain brands or products does not adequately justify limiting competition.

Key Points

  1. If the procurement is $5,000 or below, neither competition nor Sole Source or Proprietary justification is required. Simply complete your purchase on the DPO form (Instructions for using the DPO).

  2. If a procurement is considered to be Sole Source or Proprietary and is estimated to be above $5,000, Sole Source/Proprietary Procurement justification must be submitted to Procurement Services along with the corresponding requisition.


  1. Sole Source: A sole source procurement is a procurement where only one source is practicably available for the goods or services required. The purpose of the written sole source determination is to show that competition is not practical because only one source is practicably available to meet a specific need. Competition is not available in a sole source procurement thus distinguishing it from a proprietary procurement where the product is restricted to that of one manufacturer, but is sold through distributors and competition between them can be obtained. In addition, in sole source procurements, written documentation must be provided to demonstrate that the proposed price is deemed to be fair and reasonable.

    The sole source determination and written documentation demonstrating that the proposed price is fair and reasonable must be submitted to Procurement Services with the purchase requisition. Upon receipt of such documentation, a sole source request may be granted.

  2. Proprietary Specification: A proprietary procurement is a procurement where the desired good/service must be restricted to one manufacturer because the good/service is compatible with or is an integral component of existing equipment or products; is necessary to support a specific need of a program; is covered by patent or copyright; must yield absolute continuity of results, or is one with which a user has extensive experience, and the use of any other similar piece of equipment would require considerable reorientation and training. In such cases, an equitable evaluation of comparable products and/or services must be made and documented by the requester which shows that rejection of other products is based solely on their failure to meet that need. In cases where no other comparable source can be identified, a technical description of the product or service requested and a listing of those sources which were considered as alternates must be provided. Upon receipt of such documentation, a proprietary request may be granted and competition will be obtained among the distributors which carry the manufacturer's product.

    Although all sole source specifications are proprietary, all proprietary specifications are not sole source. Proprietary items may be available from several distributors through competitive bidding; however, competition has been restricted to this group of suppliers.


  1. Select the proper form below. The forms are in Word format.

  2. Complete the form and print it.

  3. Provide complete information. Forms lacking sufficient detail cannot be approved.

  4. Sign and date the form and attach it to the purchase requisition.