Designating a Sole Source Vendor

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A sole source vendor is a company or person who sells a product or service that meets the unique needs of the purchaser; generally, sole source means the one and only source for the product or service. If a manufacturer has dealers or distributors anywhere, it is not a true sole source; having regional, state, or area dealers or distributors do not constitute sole source.


The following are examples of sole source vendors:

  • A new computer software company sells software that they developed and that can only be purchased from them.
    • A piece of equipment the College has breaks down and the required parts and repair service can only be obtained from the one local company authorized by the manufacturer to sell and service in this state/country.


Any knowledge of or justification for using a "sole source" vendor must be noted on the requisition for consideration by the Procurement Department.  If technical specifications are the justification, note them in detail for comparison to existing products and sources. If possible, attach the following documentation to the requisition:

  • sole source letter from manufacturer
  • descriptive literature
  • photographs
  • diagrams
  • technical data, etc.


If the purchase is  properly justified, approved, and within the College’s local limit of $50,000, it can be processed without submitting to the N.C. Division of Purchase and Contract.

NOTE: If the non-IT related purchase exceeds the local limit of $50,000, it will be forwarded to the N.C. Division of Purchase and Contract with all accompanying data for evaluation. If the purchase is approved, the College will proceed with the order.