Buying Common Services

Common Services are defined by University of California (UC) policy as "standard commercial services readily obtainable through conventional commercial marketing channels.” Examples of these may include standard lab test and diagnostics, transcription services, janitorial, equipment repair/maintenance and audio-visual services. 

While some services should be purchased using the Professional Services/Independent Consulting BearBuy form, all Common Services should be purchased using the Amount-Based PO form within BearBuy.

Before Purchasing Common Services:


  • Complete a Pre-Hire Worksheet if you are engaging an individual (i.e., as opposed to a company) to perform services. This worksheet does not need to be submitted if the requesting department has verified that an individual providing the services is an employee of a company being engaged as a contractor and receives a W-2 from that company. Likewise, the Pre-Hire Worksheet is not required when service is being provided by a company/institution employee acting on behalf of his or her employer.
  • Complete the conflict of interest reporting form if proposing to engage a UC employee or near relative (spouse, child, parent, brother, sister, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, father-in-law, mother-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, and step relatives) of a UC employee to provide services.

When Purchasing Common Services:


  • Establish a Statement of Work (SOW). Establish payment structure based on completion of job, achievement of project milestones, phase of work or provision of well-defined deliverables. A detailed Statement of Work must be attached (as an External Attachment) to the Amount-based PO Form when requesting common services.
  • Complete the BearBuy Amount-Based PO Form following the instructions on the form.
    • The not-to-exceed price or estimated contract value can be entered into the Price field on the form. If you are expecting a fixed or not to exceed price, note this in the Product Description field.
    • Keep in mind that the not-to-exceed dollar amount (price) will have a tolerance of 10% or $500, whichever is less.
  • Under the Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act (HIPAA), UC is responsible for protecting access, use and disclosure of protected private patient information referred to as Protected Health Information (PHI) that a contractor will have access and/or be exposed to. If PHI and HIPAA are involved, select “HIPAA” in the drop-down box on the BearBuy Form, next to where it states, “If the supplier has access to Protected Health Information (PHI), select HIPAA. Otherwise select NO.”

Note: If PHI/HIPAA is applicable and UC PHI is being transmitted or stored outside the University’s systems, you must initiate an IT Security assessment as soon as possible so as not to hold up release of your PO for this assessment.

  • In the Selection Justification field, for transactions over $5,000, describe why the supplier was selected. If this is a Sole Source, provide the reason why no other provider is appropriate and a brief explanation on any other contractors considered and determined not to meet your requirements.
  • UCSF seeks to maximize the use of the Equipment Maintenance Insurance program (EMI) for equipment maintenance/repair by issuing POs for insurance coverage through REMI. If a source for equipment maintenance other than REMI is requested, provide a selection justification and include why EMI did not meet your needs.
  • If available, also attach the vendor’s quote or proposal as an External Attachment. An email from the vendor is acceptable if that is all you have available.
  • Include as External Attachments any supplier documents associated with contractor acknowledgement or requiring a UC signature to SCM Buyer. The SCM Buyer will sign all documents unless otherwise advised for a PO and will typically attach the final signed contract to the PO.

More information on policies governing independent contractors for UC can be found in BUS 77.