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Its Hard to Become a Vendor for School District - Why?

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limitgov Posted: Thu, Oct 4 2012 11:11 AM

I order computer stuff each year.  We have a few vendors and usually their prices are crappy.  I was talking to the lady who puts in the orders and she said its very difficult to become a vendor for the school district.  My question is why?


Who is the person who is in charge of this?  Wouldn't the school district want as many vendors as possible to keep prices lower? 

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Bogart replied on Thu, Oct 4 2012 1:41 PM

Three reasons:

1. All money for anything in addition to salaries, maintenance and utilities comes from either the state or feds.  And they have to carefully adhere to the strings attached and it is very difficult for vendors to get in the club of vendors named by the state and/or feds.

2. It is because they have to be careful that your products or employees do not hurt the "children".  Do you hate the "children"?  Yes it is significantly more likely that a child gets abused by a teacher than a systems adminstrator in a building several miles away but they care more than you.

3. You do not have an in with the school bureaucracy.  The school system will want to help its friends and punish its enemies like any other bureaucracy.

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RagnarD replied on Thu, Oct 4 2012 1:46 PM

I would lay money that the reason both that it's hard to get in and that the prices are so high is because someone up the line already has deals to get kickbacks from the vendors.  Once you already have someone committing fraud they're fairly safe, every new vendor is a huge risk.

I can't remember the prices, but I had to deliver to the dock at a public school one day  and they had a table saw delivered at the same time.  They told me they weren't supposed to see the prices, but had gotten the wrong paperwork and asked me how much I thought the school paid for the saw.  I figured it would be high so I doubled my guess of what it would cost at Home Depot to $700.  They had me raise my guess 3 more times before they told me--I can't remember for sure, I think it was $4000.

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i say crappy prices....the main vendor is office depot.....

their prices aren't super high compared to others, but I usually can find better deals....and better selection elswhere.

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Depends how good your IT is at your school. You will almost certainly save a significant amount of money if you buy the parts on Newegg and then build it yourself. Hell, you could buy the parts on Newegg and then pay a local computer repair shop to put it together for something around $35-$50 and still save plenty of money. But if your school doesn't have good IT (or have it at all) or enough time for the IT to deal with problems, then it might be worth it to the school to just pay a higher price from a vendor and have warrantees for when parts break.

I have no idea what sort of deal office depot offers. If your school isn't buying a warrantee, then it's probably a waste of money.

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