The Interlocal Purchasing System

Frequently Asked Questions

What is TIPS?

TIPS is an acronym for The Interlocal Purchasing System. TIPS is a national purchasing cooperative that offers access to competitively procured purchasing contracts to its membership. TIPS is housed at and managed by the Region 8 Education Service Center located in Pittsburg, Texas. Learn More About TIPS

How does my organization benefit from using a purchasing cooperative like TIPS?

For governmental agencies such as public education organizations, higher education entities, and city or county governments, membership in a purchasing cooperative offers the following benefits:

  • Access to competitively procured contracts with quality vendors
  • Savings of time and financial resources necessary to fulfill bid requirements
  • Assistance with purchasing process by qualified TIPS staff
  • Access to pricing based on a “national” high-profile contract
How are TIPS contracts awarded?

The general process to award a TIPS contract to a vendor is as follows:

  • TIPS posts an RFP/RFQ for a specific product/service with a deadline date and time for submission of responses
  • TIPS advertises the posting of the RFP/RFQ in a manner that meets the state of Texas requirements as well as in additional formats established by TIPS as beneficial to TIPS members including a national advertisement in USA Today
  • TIPS collects all incoming proposals until the deadline for submission
  • TIPS staff open and record all of the proposals submitted prior to the advertised deadline
  • A scoring committee reviews all proposals and scores the proposals based on the criteria established by TIPS (scoring rubric is included in the posted RFP/RFQ documents)
  • Vendors receiving at least the minimum score required for award as provided in the solicitation are then presented to the Region 8 ESC Board of Directors at the regular monthly meeting to consider final approval of a TIPS contract to sell the proposed products/services
  • The ESC Board of Directors has final approval authority of all awarded vendor contracts
Where are TIPS solicitations advertised?

TIPS solicitations (RFP’s/RFQ’s) are advertised for 2 consecutive weeks in the Pittsburg Gazette in Pittsburg, Texas as well as on a national scope in the USA Today. For solicitations advertised after July 1, 2014, postings are also advertised in The Advocate published in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Who can be a member of TIPS?

The Interlocal Purchasing System currently serves entities such as state and local governments and non-profit organizations, including but not limited to:

  • K-12 school districts
  • Charter Schools
  • Colleges and Universities (State and Private)
  • Cities/Municipalities
  • Counties/Parishes
  • State Agencies
  • Emergency Services Districts
  • Non-profit organization as defined by the Internal Revenue Service
  • Other entities with legislated purchasing/bidding requirements
How much does it cost to be a member of TIPS?

Membership in The Interlocal Purchasing System is free.

How does my organization become a member of TIPS?

The TIPS website offers step-by-step instructions on how to become a member. The process is fast, and it’s free. It is, however, specific to your home state. Please click on this link to access the membership instructions and documents:

How can my business become an awarded vendor to sell products or services through TIPS?

The only way a vendor can sell products or services through the TIPS cooperative is to be awarded a contract by TIPS. This can only happen when a vendor responds to a TIPS solicitation (RFP/RFQ) for their specific product or service and meets the scoring requirements to receive an awarded contract from the Region 8 ESC Board of Directors (which serves as the governing board of TIPS). For further information, please see question #4 of this FAQ or visit the following link:

I am not from Texas. Does the TIPS purchasing process meet the purchasing requirements of my state?

It is ultimately the responsibility of the purchasing member to ensure that all aspects of a specific purchase meet individual state purchasing laws, rules, and regulations. Please reach out to our legal counsel at [email protected] if you have any questions about TIPS' specific processes or procedures.

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Lead agency Region 8 ESCRegion 8 ESC