Doing Business With Us Frequently Asked Questions 


What does the University buy?

Since the University must provide for administrative, academic, research, and individual student needs, many different products and services are purchased. Check our Staff Commodity List on the Procurement Services website to view the types of items we purchase and the procurement agent responsible for procuring them.


How does the University buy?

Depending on the amount of the purchase and availability of the item, the University may use a written competitive process for larger purchases, and solicits phone, letter and e-mail quotes for smaller purchases. For most of our repetitive procurement needs, annual term contracts and purchase agreements are used. The awarded suppliers will then provide the items during the contract period at the quoted prices. The benefits to the University of a term contract or a purchase agreement are consistent quality, quantity pricing, immediate access, and consistency of supply.


Which buyer is responsible for a particular commodity?

Refer to the Staff Commodity List section of our website.


Is there a list of Procurement Services employees?

Yes, Refer to the Staff Listing section of our website.


How do I contact Procurement Services?

Procurement Services can be contacted by phone at 515-294-4860 or via e-mail at Individual procurement agents can be contacted at their respective phone numbers and e-mails available on the Staff Listing section of our website.


How do suppliers become eligible to do business with Iowa State University?

Your firm must be added to the University's supplier file. To be added, simply complete the supplier registration form, which can be accessed from the supplier registration tab above.


How does a supplier get on a bid list?

Suppliers, who have not already done so, should complete a supplier registration here.  The registration allows suppliers to select commodities (products and services) that they would like to receive bid invitations for.  You may also check our current bid opportunity page for all current open bids. 


How does a supplier find out if they won an award?

ISU posts all award information on our Awarded Bid Solicitations Page.  For further information on the bid award(s), the award process, or the evaluation of the bid, please contact the Procurement Agent listed under the Contact Information on the Awarded Bid Solicitations Page.


How are bid award decisions made by Central Procurement?

Bids are awarded to the bidder that best meets the specifications and/or criteria identified in the bid solicitation. When multiple factors will be considered in addition to price, they are stated in the evaluation criteria in the attributes tab. The bidder that best meets all of the specifications and/or criteria (which includes price) will receive the award. In addition, a low bidder who does not comply with all or part of the specifications may not be awarded on that basis.


What can a supplier do to ensure that their bid is correct?

Each bid solicitation provides all the necessary instructions and a complete description of the requirements, including the specifications or scope of work, and the terms and conditions.  It is important to read all the information carefully and to allow adequate time to complete and submit your response, including all required attachments, before the bid deadline.  All bid responses should be submitted through ISUBid.  Emailed or paper bid responses may be rejected. The ISUBid system will not allow an incomplete response to be submitted. Contact the Quote Desk for assistance. 


Does the University have a Small Business Program?

Yes.  Please refer to the Small Business Program tab above. 


Who makes the actual buying commitments?

Procurement Services has the sole authority to procure all goods and services for the University.  The University does not assume obligation or liability for goods or services ordered or furnished to departments or individuals without a properly executed purchase order, professional services contractual agreement (PSCA), or ISU Purchasing Card (P-Card).


Is the University tax-exempt?

The University is an instrumentality of the State of Iowa and is therefore exempt from sales tax in the State of Iowa and is exempt from certain Federal excise taxes.

Suppliers can request tax exemption forms by filling out the Sales Tax Exemption Form or emailing Procurement Services Department

Depending on reciprocity laws in other states or if the delivery point is outside of the State of Iowa, orders from suppliers located outside of Iowa may involve payment of sales tax to other States. The general assumption is no sales tax is due. When in doubt, refer to the Sales Tax Information Page or contact Procurement Services.


How long does it take to get paid?

Most invoices are paid within 30 days of receipt by our Accounts Payable department. If you choose to receive payment by credit card or ACH, your payment will be paid immediately upon entry and approval of your invoice. Check payments will be sent according to your payment terms (e.g. 30 days for net 30). Several factors can delay payment, including receipt of incorrect items, incorrect invoices, damage in shipment, invoices sent to the wrong address, invoices missing a purchase order or contract number, etc. For faster processing of your invoice, please send all invoices to

ISU payments are based on your invoice terms and we encourage our suppliers to offer prompt payment discounts.


Where should invoices be sent?

We encourage suppliers to email their invoices to for faster processing.  If mailing, the “Bill To:” address on the purchase order should be used:

Iowa State University

Accounts Payable

1520 Administrative Services Building

2221 Wanda Daley Drive

Ames, IA 50011-1004

Supplier invoices must reference the assigned ISU Purchase Order Number (PO-XXXXXXX) or Contract Number (SCN-XXXXXXX). 


How do I check the status of an invoice?

Please contact for assistance.