Skip to main content
Purchasing photo


Welcome to Lake Michigan College’s Purchasing & Support Services Department


Our primary responsibility is to provide value-added service in the procurement of materials, supplies and services which arrive at the proper time, in the proper place, in the quantity, quality and price consistent with the needs of Lake Michigan College.

Our suppliers play an integral part in assisting us to fulfill our mission. Striving to maintain a diverse resource of qualified suppliers in our procurement process is fundamental. We, therefore, value the partnerships already established and welcome the opportunity to develop new successful relationships.

Although we maintain an open door policy, we recommend that you call and schedule and appointment prior to visiting. Business hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Phone number: (269) 927-8169.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions regarding the College procurement process or would like additional information.

Nathan Main
Purchasing Manager
2755 East Napier Avenue
Benton Harbor MI 49022-1899
Phone: (269) 927-8169
Fax: (269) 927-6291

The Supplier Registration/Information Form is available to fill out electronically, or paper copies are available in the Purchasing Office. The form requires some general business information and an indication of the types of supplies or services a supplier can offer to the College

Also required is a Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification (Substitute Form W-9). This must be returned with the completed Vendor Registration/Information Form. Completion of these forms is necessary in order to receive bids, contract/purchase order awards or payments from the College

It is important to remember that being added to the Supplier List does not guarantee receipt of bids or otherwise obligate the College to notify a supplier of a bid. It is, therefore, suggested that suppliers take the initiative to periodically check area newspapers.

Bid/Proposal Specifications and Documents

Please see Purchasing Thresholds section, below, to determine bidding levels. When preparing competitive bids, it is College policy that a sufficient number of vendors should be contacted/solicited to ensure fair and open competition in the procurement process.

In cooperation with the department making the request, the Purchasing Office will gather information about the goods or services desired; write specifications; and solicit bids/proposals from suppliers maintained on commodity-specific bid lists, as well as those provided by the requestor.  Bids shall be advertised through an appropriate media.  

The type of solicitation issued by the Purchasing office depends, in part, upon the complexity of the specifications.

  1. Requests for Bids (RFBs) - issued when specifications are of a nature that the award is to be made upon the lowest bid meeting specifications.
  2. Requests for Proposals (RFP) - issued when specifications or scope of work is complex and/or when subjective factors, other than price alone, are to be used in the evaluation for award.  
  3. Requests for Qualifications (RFQ) -  most appropriate in procurement of professional service contracts. An RFQ describes the scope of the work and requests information as to why a vendor would be best suited to provide the service.  A selection committee would rate the candidates based on a predetermined rating format. Negotiations then proceed with the highest rated candidate as to price and statement of work. Should an agreement not be negotiated with the highest rated candidate the process would repeat itself with the next highest rated candidate until the procurement is completed.

Regardless of the type of solicitation, the vendor/service provider may be required to proved certification that they are not an Iran-linked business nor on the Government Services Administration’s Excluded Parties List.

It is the responsibility of the Purchasing Office to ensure that potential vendors/suppliers have a reasonable amount of time to prepare bids and proposals and submit/deliver them. In determining this time, the relative complexity of each request, as well as the manner in which it is to be transmitted to and received from prospective vendors/suppliers are to be considered. For written requests that are to be physically transported and submitted/delivered or mailed, 10 business days is the norm, with 15 business days or more allowed for more complex requests. For requests transmitted and received electronically (e.g., by fax, electronic mail, Internet), a shorter time period may be used.

As a state-supported institution, Lake Michigan College is required to make available documentation and information relative to various purchasing records and bidding documents. It is appropriate for the Purchasing Manager to release pricing information to interested vendors when requests are made regarding a specific bid or purchase order. However, no information shall be released concerning a bid in process. Additionally, all bid response information marked "proprietary" will be considered confidential and not released.  

Purchasing Thresholds

  • Less than $5,000 (less than $10,000 for Facilities and IT departments) – no requisition is required or comparison pricing is required, although comparison pricing is always expected to occur as a prudent purchasing standard. Purchases should be completed by direct pay (i.e., check request) or procard.
  • $5,000 to $24,999 ($10,000 to $24,999 for Facilities and IT departments) – a requisition and minimum of 3 written quotes are requested. The written quotes may be solicited either by Purchasing or by the requestor if approved in advance by Purchasing. The purchase/contract will be awarded to the supplier whose quote is most advantageous to the College, using price, quality, and other factors as considerations. All quotes will remain on file in Purchasing for at least 3 years.
  • $25,000 or more – require a requisition and competitive sealed bids solicited by Purchasing, other than as outlined following. Such solicitations require advertisement through appropriate media (e.g., solicited by mail, by e-mail, by public notice in a newspaper of general circulation, or on the internet). All bids will remain on file in Purchasing for at least 3 years.
  • When it is determined that it is neither practicable nor advantageous to solicit bids because of the unique or unquantifiable nature of the material or service (such as professional services) required, the competitive request for proposal or request for qualifications method may be used as outlined in the Bid/Proposal Specifications & Documents section herein. 

Professional services agreements for other typical professional services shall be solicited through request for proposal or request for qualifications method rather than competitive bid. Such solicitations shall be considered on the ability to perform the work and experience of the assigned professional(s) as well as of the firm, price and time frames for completion.  

Purchases of $100,000 and over must be approved by the Board of Trustees unless already authorized within the approval of a larger capital project. Such solicitations shall require sealed bids solicited by the Purchasing Office and shall remain on file in the Purchasing Office for a minimum of three years. Solicitations require advertisement through an appropriate media.
Procurement of professional services of $100,000 and over may use the request for proposal or request for qualifications method and require Board authorization. Documentation of the selection criteria/scoring must be submitted to the Purchasing Office.  

Bid Withdrawal

A bidder may withdraw a bid prior to the bid opening time and date by contacting the Purchasing Manager. Requests for return of a bid after the due date will not be honored since the bid becomes College property and is, therefore, not returnable. 

Source Selection  

Purchasing is responsible for the selection of reputable and responsible vendors. Vendors who have not previously conducted business with Lake Michigan College are advised to contact the Purchasing office and request an application to be added to our vendor list. Purchasing may solicit quotes/bids/proposals from all suppliers in any particular category or select those who it believes are best qualified to provide the supplies or services. The department submitting a request to Purchasing may suggest vendors as potential suppliers.  

Vendor Debarment

Purchasing may bar a vendor from consideration for award of contract or purchase order if:

  • Within the past three years, the vendor, an officer of the company, or owner of a 25% or more share of the company has been convicted of a criminal offense incident to the application for, or performance of a contract or subcontract.
  • Within the past three years, the vendor, an officer of the company, or owner of a 25% or more share of the company has been convicted of an offense which reflects on the vendor’s business integrity such as embezzlement, theft, forgery, bribery, falsification or destruction of records, receiving stolen property, or breaking state or federal antitrust laws.
  • Vendor has failed to substantially perform a College contract or subcontract according to its terms, conditions, and specifications within specified time limits.  
  • Vendor abused the solicitation process or violated the terms of a request for solicitation after bid submission.
  • Vendor failed to cooperate in monitoring contract performance by failing to provide information or documents required by the contract, failed to respond to complaints to vendor, or accumulated repeated justified complaints regarding performance of a contract.  
  • Vendor is listed on the General Services Administration’s Excluded Parties List System.
  • Vendor is an Iran-linked business

Bid Evaluation 

Every bid includes criteria for determining which vendor offers the best value to the College and meets the vendor qualifications, delivery time, specifications, terms and conditions contained in the solicitation. When a solicitation requires an oral presentation or submission of test samples, or inspection of facilities or place of business, the factors are part of the bid evaluation. The total cost may include unit price, delivery and installation, maintenance and cost of operation, as defined in the solicitation. If there is a discrepancy between a unit price and its extension, the unit price will prevail.

The Purchasing Department does not consider the following in evaluating bids:

  • Assistance in developing specifications or other advisory services a vendor provides.  Although such assistance is valuable and appreciated, there is no preferential treatment for these services.
  • Equipment a vendor installs on a free trial basis.
  • Financial contribution to the College or the College Foundation as there is there is no understanding or agreement that a vendor will be awarded a contract or purchase order based upon making such.


Award of a purchase order/contract is based on the best value to the College.The solicitation will indicate the various criteria that will be used in determining the best value, including price, quality, availability, delivery, and fitness for the particular purpose. Consideration is also given to the vendor’s potential ability to successfully perform under the terms and conditions, and the vendor’s past performance record.  

The College reserves the right to award by item, group of items, or total bid. The College further reserves the right to reject any and all bids if it is determined that the best interests of the College are served by doing so. The College may reject all bids for a solicitation and not award, may cancel a solicitation, or conduct a rebid. The Purchasing Department notifies successful and unsuccessful bidders in writing.  

For awards of $25,000 or more, the Purchasing Department shall verify that the vendor/service provider is not on the General Services Administration’s Excluded Parties List System.

Tied Bids  

If the lowest, most responsible, and responsive bids received are for the same amount or unit price and all the criteria mentioned above in Award are equal, then the award shall be made to the local vendor. If both vendors are local, then the following criteria will be used:

  • Ability to provide service/goods (i.e., most favorable references/recommendations)
  • Date and time of bid submission

Vendor Appeals

Only a bidder on the solicitation may appeal an award decision. A bidder is considered a vendor who has submitted a formal offer which meets all specified requirements. In order to initiate an appeal, a vendor must:

  • Within 24 workday hours (based on 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.)  of the bid opening, issue a written appeal to the Purchasing Manager.
  • The written appeal should include the bid name and clearly state the facts believed to constitute an error in the award recommendation. Only information provided within the 24-hour deadline will be considered.
  • The Purchasing Manager or appropriate College designee/administrator will provide a written decision after investigating the matter. This decision is final.

Until issuing a final decision on a timely appeal, the Purchasing Department will not award a contract or purchase order pursuant to a disputed solicitation. However, if there is a threat to public health, safety or welfare, or danger of immediate and substantial harm to College property from delay in making an award, the College may proceed with an award and provide written justification for such action.

Appeals requesting a waiver of the following omissions and requirements cannot be granted:

  • Failure to sign a bid
  • Failure to properly submit a bid per bid instructions
  • Failure to submit the bid by the required date and time
  • Failure to initial erasure or correction to pricing information in ink
  • Failure to provide a required bid deposit or performance bond by the date and time required
  • Failure to submit a timely appeal

If there were no responsive bids, these requirements may be waived.


The College may cancel or rebid a solicitation before the award of a contract or receipt of a purchase order by a vendor for any of the following reasons:

  • Initiating College department requests cancellation for financial or program reasons
  • All of the responsive bids exceed the cost estimated for the bid
  • No bid met the required specifications or complied with the terms and conditions of the solicitation
  • No bids were received
  • A vendor appeal was granted
  • The best interest of the College will be served by doing so
  • The specifications, statement of work, or terms and conditions will not accomplish the intended objective
  • The specifications, statement of work, or terms and conditions do not adequately protect the College’s best interest
  • The solicitation or the resulting contract would be in violation of law.

Exceptions to Bid Process

  1. Library:  library books, subscription renewals
  2. Items/services intended for resale (ex: food and beverage)
  3. Documented sole source purchases
  4. Emergencies
  5. Cooperative/association purchases
  6. Mendel Mainstage show contracts
  7. Advertising contracted services

Bonding Requirements

  1. Bid bonds are required on all construction or maintenance project bids that are estimated at $100,000 or larger. Exceptions to this policy must be approved by the Vice President, Financial Services or Vice President, Administrative Services. Bid bonds are normally required in the amount of 5% of the vendor's bid.
  2. Performance and Labor/Material Bonds are required on all construction or maintenance project bids estimated at $100,000 or larger. Exceptions to this policy must be approved by the Vice President, Financial Services or Vice President, Administrative Services. Bonds are normally required to be 100% of the vendor's total bid.
  3. All bonds in effect are to remain in the Purchasing office and are the responsibility of the Manager. All bonds are returned to the appropriate vendor after approved completion of the project.  
  4. All bonds must be from bonding companies licensed to do business in the State of Michigan. 

Government Contracts & Grants

The College receives support from the state and federal governments in the form of contracts, grants and other agreements. Specific agencies and individual agreements will sometimes impose unique administrative requirements. An inherent responsibility in accepting government funding is that financial administration and procurement will be carried out with the same care and control as is exercised in the College's purchasing procedures.  

The Purchasing office will assist persons involved with special sources to solicit bids and/or quotes, where appropriate, to maximize to the fullest extent the purchasing value of these funds.

Supplier Diversity Information

Lake Michigan College believes in contributing to the economic well-being of the community and state in which we conduct business by encouraging the use of local suppliers offering competitive quality, service and prices. We further believe these local suppliers should include businesses that are minority-owned; woman-owned; or socially and economically disadvantaged businesses such as those employing primarily minority and handicapped persons. Doing business with these suppliers strengthens the community and expands the opportunities for Lake Michigan College to purchase quality goods and services at competitive prices. 

It is our intent to give minority, woman-owned, and disadvantaged businesses an opportunity to earn business with Lake Michigan College. We do not have a set-aside program. We expect these businesses to be fully competitive in quality, service and price. 

It is our goal to identify and include qualified diversity suppliers when we purchase the products and services required by Lake Michigan College faculty and staff. To reach this goal, we:

  • Maintain a database of businesses meeting the College’s criteria
  • Encourage the various departments to purchase from small minority and woman-owned businesses
  • Provide potential vendor sources to campus departments
  • Circulate suppliers’ brochures to various campus departments
  • Encourage vendors to become certified through the Michigan Minority Business Development Council, Michigan Women’s Business Council, or other regional or government certification programs
  • Contact suppliers with potential opportunities at Lake Michigan College

We welcome you as a potential supplier and hope this guide will be of assistance to you. The College works actively to increase its supplier diversity and to ensure that all segments of the business community have the opportunity to do business with the College. The guidelines presented in this Supplier Guide are provided for informational purposes only. They do not supersede the laws, regulations, and procedures governing Lake Michigan College. In the event of changes in those laws, regulations, or procedures, those changes are binding and take precedence.

The Purchasing Department supports academic, administrative, advancement and student affairs activities. Central Receiving augments the purchasing and delivery system for all campuses.

The Purchasing Department is located at the Benton Harbor Campus in Benton Township at 2755 East Napier Avenue, Benton Harbor MI 49022, room A311. We can be reached Monday-Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. at (269) 927-8169.

We would ask that:

  1. Suppliers call ahead for appointments.
  2. Contact the Purchasing Department before calling directly on departments.
  3. Suppliers and potential suppliers maintain contact by telephone calls or visits.
  4. Be sure we have your current catalog and price lists.

The Purchasing Department is responsible for the procurement of all supplies, equipment and services for the College. College policy states that a purchase order must be generated for all goods and services ordered. The College’s procurement card (Corporate MasterCard) is now also an official means for purchasing low-value, non-strategic items. To protect your company, make sure you have a purchase order before you proceed with any service or provide any goods to the College. If you provide goods or services without a purchase order or procurement card number, you are doing business with the individual who places the order and that individual is personally responsible for any obligations occurred.

The College maintains lists of prospective suppliers by commodity. Suppliers interested in being placed on our bid list must complete a Supplier Registration/Information Form online or call the Purchasing Department at (269) 927-8169 to request a print form.

It is important for suppliers to respond to bid invitations even when not bidding in order to maintain their active supplier status. It is the supplier’s responsibility to keep the Purchasing Department informed of any changes in address or other pertinent information.

The Bidder’s Mailing List is consulted when a product or service is to be acquired. On formal, sealed-bid purchases (goods or services valued at greater than $25,000), the Purchasing Department will solicit bids from suppliers they have on file who market/supply the item(s) being sought. For informal purchases (goods or services valued at less than $25,000), the Purchasing Department may select suppliers on a random basis, at the discretion of the professional purchasing agent handling the specific commodity needed.

The College accepts deliveries from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday thru Friday at the Receiving area of the Benton Harbor, Niles-Bertrand Crossing and South Haven campuses. Unless otherwise specified on the purchase order, all deliveries should be made to the Benton Harbor location. All packages must be correctly addressed and must clearly show the purchase order number on the outside of the package. Failure to do this may result in refusal of the shipment.


Upon completion of services or delivery of goods, submit your invoice to Accounts Payable, Lake Michigan College, 2755 E. Napier Avenue, Benton Harbor MI 49022. Be sure our purchase order number is on the invoice. Without a purchase order number, your payment will be significantly delayed. In addition, your invoice should:

  • Invoice number and date
  • LMC’s purchase order number
  • List of services or goods provided, with quantity delivered and price per item (do not invoice for items not shipped)
  • Include the name of the site or individual to whom the service or good was delivered (if known)
  • “Remit to” address

Normally, it will take at least 30 days to process your invoice. If you have not received payment within 30 days of actual invoice, you may want to check the status of your invoice by calling the Accounts Payable Coordinator at (269) 927-6836.

Athletic equipment & supplies
Building materials/hardware
Communication equipment & supplies
Classroom equipment & supplies
Computer software/hardware
Custodial equipment & supplies
Draperies, upholstery, blinds
Electrical equipment & supplies
Grounds maintenance products
HVAC equipment & supplies
Kitchen equipment
Lab equipment & supplies
Musical instruments & supplies
Office equipment and supplies
Plumbing equipment & supplies
Safety, fire & security supplies & equipment
Vehicles & accessories

Armored car
Elevator maintenance
Financial auditing
Food/beverage vending
Hazardous materials removal
Hotel/motel lodging
Memberships & dues
Office equipment maintenance
Pest control
Temporary personnel
Window/door glass replacement
Workers Compensation insurance

Price quoted by the supplier must be exclusive of all tax. The College is exempt from the payment of federal excise taxes and state and local taxes. The College's Taxpayer ID Number is 38-1738980.

Lake Michigan is an equal opportunity institution, affording enrollment, employment, and services without distinction on the basis of age, color, height, weight, creed, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, or gender identity or expression.

Employees of the College are expected to conduct business according to the highest legal and ethical standards. For the protection of the College, as well as the employee, employees must maintain a high degree of integrity in dealing with all past, current, and potential suppliers providing goods and services to the College.

As a basic condition of employment, all College employees have a duty to act in the College's best interest in connection with business relationships arising from or related to their employment at the College. This duty means that employees must not engage in any business practice that will interfere with their obligations to the College, damage the College's reputation, compromise the independence of College business activities, or reasonably be seen as doing so. 


In general, acceptance of any gift or gratuity by College employees from outside entities is prohibited. This includes merchandise, cash, services, entertainment, and other courtesies. It is essential to both the College and suppliers that all decisions and actions regarding purchasing are based upon proper business considerations and not influenced in any way by personal obligations. 

However, insignificant non-monetary gifts may be accepted in the interest of maintaining positive business relationships with vendors, consultants, and contractors, subject to compliance with the guidelines below.

Except for fund-raising activities where gift solicitation has been formally approved, employees are strictly forbidden from soliciting gifts of any type or value for themselves, their family, friends, or favorite organizations.

  1. Prohibited Staff – Purchasing staff and any other staff member whose primary function is to oversee solicitation and selection of vendors to provide goods and services to the College are strictly prohibited from accepting any gift or gratuity, regardless of value.
  2. Initial Response – Upon offer or receipt of any gift, each College employee should attempt to either not accept or to return the item to the donor, reminding donor of the College policy discouraging receipt and acceptance of gifts.
  3. Value Limitations – Non-monetary gifts valued at $25 or less may be accepted without disclosure, subject to the remaining guidelines. 
  4. Monetary Gifts – Acceptance of monetary or near-money items such as cash, gift cards, gift certificates, business credits, tokens, and other cash substitutes is strictly prohibited other than as discussed below. 
  5. Disclosure Process – Any College employee must fully disclose receipt of any non-monetary gift valued at more than $25 in writing via the Gift Disclosure Form. This form should be submitted to the employee’s supervisor or the appropriate Cabinet member as soon as possible after offer or receipt of gift. Disclosure should include details such as name of donor, item description, and estimated value. The supervisor or Cabinet member must acknowledge in writing the disclosure and identify recommended disposition.
  6. Acceptable Gifts – Certain gifts are considered acceptable due to their nature, such as:
    • Calendars, desk novelties, or similar marketing items valued at less than $25
    • Reasonably priced meals accepted in settings where College business is conducted
    • Books, media, software, or similar work-related items for which there is not charge
    • Gift cards or gift certificates that will be used by receiver’s department for supplies, equipment or for a department meal (e.g., gift card for pizza) may be accepted. Disclosure guidelines must be followed when accepting any gift cards or gift certificates for department use.
    • Perishable gifts such as fruit baskets or flower arrangements that cannot easily be returned should be shared or distributed among department employees. 
    • Event tickets, golf outing invitations, or convention and seminar admission fees provided such are rotated among department or College employees.
  7. Participation in Sponsored Activities – College employees who participate in vendor-sponsored events or activities during the regular workday must have the supervisor approval. Such participation may require the time away be charged as vacation leave.
  8. Dollar Value Threshold – The Director of Finance will periodically review the dollar value threshold in this policy and revise such in accordance with Internal Revenue Service limits on business gift deductions.


Back to Top Apply Now