The Informal Procurement Method is commonly referred to as procurement under the small purchase threshold or simplified acquisitions. Although this method is permitted when the amount of a purchase falls at or below the most restrictive small purchase threshold ($80,000 in Montana), a school food authority could choose to use the formal procurement method rather than the informal procurement method.

The following steps are typically involved in an informal procurement:

  1. Develop specifications in writing.
    • Describe the goods or services that are needed
    • Any due dates or other requirements
  2. Identify sources eligible, able, and willing to provide products.
  3. Contact at least two sources.
  4. Evaluate quotes and response to your written specifications.
  5. Determine most responsive and responsible bidder at lowest price. Keep procurement documentation.


  • Specifications.
  • Receipts, invoices.
  • Documentation of price quotes from adequate number of sources (2 or more).
  • If only one qualified supplier, must document why there is only one qualified supplier. Include reasons, such as labor and mileage cost for driving to another location.

For more information about School Nutrition Programs informal procurement methods, contact OPI School Nutrition Programs at 406.444.2501.

Procurement Methods Page