Purchasing Co-ops can be hard to understand. We know – we had trouble understanding them ourselves at first. However, once we dove in to our first co-op, NJPA (National Joint Powers Alliance), we realized this is a mostly untapped resource that could save our customers time, money, and headaches.
Co-ops take the headache out of the bidding process for you. They bid out products and services, compile the pricing, check the references, and declare the best possible bidder based on both price and quality. This way, not only do you avoid having to bid out each job yourself, but you also get a vendor that not only has competitive pricing, but also has a reputation for good service.
National Joint Powers Allliance (NJPA)
What is NJPA?
NJPA is a government agency that implements a competitive bidding process on behalf of members’ needs and expectations, mirroring their contracting process. Basically, this means that NJPA bids out certain categories for you – i.e. athletic flooring – and chooses the bidder that has not only a competitive price, but one that also provides quality products and services and has a good reputation. They then award a contract to the winning bidder based on their qualifications. Those contracts legally satisfy most local public bid requirements.
Nearly every client we do business with qualifies to use NJPA. They include State and Local Government Entities, Public and Private Education Institutions, and Non Profit Organizations (tax exempt organizations). In fact, once we started checking, around 95% of our client list is already signed up to use NJPA to purchase various items!
Joining NJPA is incredibly simple. You can fill out a membership application online at http://www.njpacoop.org/national-cooperative-contract-solutions/join-njpa/ and within 24 hours, you will receive your Member ID # electronically. It takes 7 days through the mail. The application should take no more than 5 minutes to complete.
There is no cost, obligation or liability to NJPA membership. Members simply save time and money while also avoiding the unpleasant experience of low bid, low quality responses. NJPA’s bidding process also creates and houses the necessary paper trail between the member and NJPA, which justifies the purchasing decision.
Purchasing through NJPA
So you’re signed up, but how do you start buying with NJPA? It’s easy. Just start browsing the hundreds of Awarded Vendor Contracts NJPA has to choose from. Once you find the contract for your desired product/service, simply click on the Awarded Vendor’s name, and their contact information will show up. Give them a call to tell them what you are looking to buy. The vendor will then send you a proposal with all the pricing and contract information on it. Sign the proposal or send them a Purchase Order, and you’re all set!