The following guidelines have been developed to streamline the process of working with external vendors.

How it works

  • All communications work over $5k and requiring a vendor (freelancer or a firm), must have at least three bids, including one from an internal resource if Duke has a resource in that area (this applies to web, photography, and videography).
  • Vendor names are managed in conjunction with Duke Procurement and Accounts Payable.
  • Vendors have agreed to Duke’s terms and conditions. This documentation supersedes any and all in place with Duke previously.
  • Clients send out an RFP to the three or more vendors.
  • Once the client selects their vendor
  • a project kickoff is held.
  • Payment terms should never be less than 2 installments and all invoices are net 30 days.
  • Please note: vendor services should not be charged to your P card.

Submitting a Project for Approval

For projects over the $5,000 threshold, please contact OMSC by email at Please provide a brief description of your project or an RFP if you have one, along with your budget and proposed deadline. In most cases, approval and guidance will be provided in a timely fashion, with less than a 48-hour turnaround. Print projects will continue to be bid through Duke Print Management Office of Procurement Services.


All work that exceeds $5,000 will be flagged for approval within the Procurement system. To maximize the use of Duke resources, one of the competitive bids must be from a qualified internal service provider if one exists in that category. For example, bids for video work over the $5,000 threshold should include a bid from Duke Media Services. The remainder of the bids must be from approved Duke external vendors.


Payment of Vendors

Approval from appropriate parties is needed for getting a vendor paid. All communications projects utilizing an external vendor should be put forth on a Purchase Requisition order, not on an AP Check Request. If a Purchase Requisition is presented to the Procurement or Financial Services without prior approval, it will not be paid.

Please do not submit an AP Check for communications projects over $2,500, as the request will be denied which will slow the payment process. AP Check requests are reserved for goods and services of $2,500 or less.

!!Important: Special guidelines exist for the use of freelancers or vendors that are former employees of the University or Health System. These circumstances involve a separate process and/or the use of multiple groups within Duke – Duke Temporary Services, Procurement, HR, etc.