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Developing and posting a Request for Proposals (RFP) and then poring over multiple bids before choosing a service provider and signing a contract can help schools find value in purchasing, but it’s an onerous and time-consuming process.

This is why a growing number of K-12 school systems are turning to cooperative purchasing to fill their needs. Education buyers are finding that cooperative contracts give them the same great value as competitive bidding — without all the time and aggravation.

What Is Cooperative Purchasing?
The use of cooperative contracts reduces the cost of goods and services by aggregating the collective buying power of public schools and agencies. Using a contract from a nationally recognized cooperative such as Sourcewell or Equalis Group helps schools streamline the buying process by meeting all state and local competitive bidding requirements on large purchases without having to put these items out to bid for themselves.

Instead of seeking quotes, bids, or proposals, K-12 buyers can simply choose products and services from the cooperative contract’s service catalog. These services have been pre-selected by the agency behind the cooperative through its own competitive-bidding process. In essence, the cooperative has done this work for schools already, and so buyers are complying with all local, state, and national procurement laws when they make purchases through a co-op.

Quicker, Easier, and Cheaper
With cooperative purchasing, K-12 schools can buy items much more quickly and easily than going out to bid. Traditional procurement is a lengthy and inefficient process that can take months to complete. By contrast, cooperative purchasing is a simplified process that eliminates the need to write and advertise an RFP, solicit bids, and review responses. Once schools have identified their purchasing needs, all they have to do is identify and compare co-ops that have contracts specific to their needs, then secure approval and make their purchase through co-op suppliers.

Ordering in quantity always saves money, even when it comes to buses. When many schools order through one program, vendors, like DATTCO Sales & Service, can offer better prices. With cooperation from school bus vendors, both Sourcewell and Equalis Group have bus purchasing programs in which school districts can take advantage of group purchasing, regardless of the size of their order.  A district ordering one bus gets the same price as a district ordering 20 buses.

Cooperative Purchasing Options Through DATTCO Sales & Service
DATTCO Sales & Service has cooperative purchasing agreements through Sourcewell for IC Buses and Equalis Group for Collins school buses and multifunction school activity buses. DATTCO Sales & Service can assist you in securing all types of vehicles required to fulfill your school transportation needs.

Not only will schools receive competitive pricing by taking advantage of cooperative purchasing of school buses through DATTCO Sales & Service, but they can take advantage of other benefits as well — such as a customer support team with 75 years combined experience, preventative maintenance plans, and other fleet repair services, New England’s largest inventory of OEM parts with fast, reliable delivery, and access to two specialized collision repair facilities featuring one of the largest downdraft spray booths, and one of the largest frame straighteners in New England.

If you have questions about the cooperative purchasing process, feel free to reach out to your DATTCO regional sales representative.

Southeastern New England: Eastern Massachusetts, Eastern Connecticut, Rhode Island
Mark Fredrick, School Bus Sales Representative
[email protected], 860-229-4878 x5772

Southwestern New England: Western Connecticut, Western Massachusetts
Shane Legare, School Bus Sales Representative
[email protected], 860-229-4878 x5757

Northern New England: Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont
Matthew Kearns, Bus Sales Representative
[email protected], 207-459-0766