Vehicle Purchasing Frequently Asked Questions

A list of frequently asked questions for government entities purchasing vehicles in Washington state.
How does the state buy vehicles?

As the agency responsible for purchasing vehicles for state agencies, Enterprise Services competitively bids, awards, and manages all vehicle contracts. Agencies will submit their purchase order directly with the awarded dealer. Awards are based on Vehicle Category and awarded to a single dealer per manufacturer in each vehicle category. There are multiple vehicle types in each category. Besides state dealer licensing requirements and equipment specification compliance, award criteria include consideration of; base vehicle price, option pricing, and prompt payment discounts.

What types of vehicles are available on state contract?

All available models are listed in the Contract Automobile Request System (CARS).

Am I eligible to purchase vehicles on state contract?

Washington State agencies, colleges, universities, political subdivisions and non-profits are eligible to purchase vehicles on state contracts by submitting a Contract Usage Agreement (CUA) to establish eligibility to use state contracts. All purchases are for official business use only. Trade-ins and leases are not included on the contract.

Please note: The operating budget that Governor Chris Gregoire signed May 2, 2012, includes a proviso that orders the director of the Department of Enterprise Services to give written approval before any state agency can make a passenger vehicle purchase. This proviso is still in effect for state agencies, and is the first step in purchasing a passenger vehicle. Customers who are not state agencies do not have this requirement.

The Passenger Vehicle Request Form is available online. The signature of the requesting agency director is required prior to any review. An electronic version of the signed form should be emailed to

Executive and small cabinet agencies not requesting a Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) must obtain approval from the State Efficiency Environmental Performance (SEEP) office prior to any non-BEV purchases. A copy of this approval from SEEP must be turned in alongside the Passenger Vehicle Request Form. Link to non-BEV purchase exemption criteria and process can be found here.

Are state vehicle contracts seasonal?

While the contract is a multi-year contract, manufactures regularly shut down production of each vehicle yearly to re-tool their factories for the next year's model. Usually there is a 1-2 month period that ordering banks are closed and before the next model years vehicle pricing is released (ordering banks open).

How do I order vehicles from the state vehicle contract?

Vehicle orders can be quoted and placed through the online Contract Automobile Request System (CARS). For 'in-stock' vehicle purchases, you may contact the dealer directly to inquire about availability and options. Purchasers will submit their purchase order (PO) directly to the dealer.

View CARS instructions.

How long will it take to receive my ordered vehicle?

Once the dealer receives your PO and any supplemental documentation, they will place your order with the factory. After production, the vehicle will be released to a common carrier, shipped to the state, prepped and driven to your 'ship to address.' Total time from requisition submittal to receipt of your vehicle is usually within 90 calendar days for automobiles, 120 days for all other vehicles. Special equipment, upfitting, and/or special paint may extend delivery time.

What if I want to know the status of my order?

Each customer organization has access to view their Organization Purchase Requests by visiting the link provided on each quote generated. This will provide a list of all vehicles ordered through the CARS system including delivery information.

Depending on market demand, production capacity, and equipment selected it may take anywhere from a few days to several weeks for the dealer to receive notice back from the manufacturer of the scheduled production week for your vehicle. Until the vehicle is scheduled, it may not be possible to provide you with a projected delivery date. Once the vehicle has been produced and shipped, the dealer will be able to provide you with a reasonably firm delivery date. When the vehicle is ready for delivery, the contact person you indicated on your PO will be called. Dealers are required to provide a 48-hour notice for delivery according to the delivery instructions on your PO.

When do I pay for my vehicle?

You do not pay until you have received the vehicle and contract required paperwork. The dealer will invoice you directly for the vehicle price plus state and their local area sales tax. Payment is due to the dealership within 30 days, of receipt of the vehicle and correct paperwork. It is important that dealers be paid in a timely manner as after 30 days the dealer is entitled by the contract and state statute to assess a 1 percent late payment fee for which you will be responsible. If you can pay in less than 30 days you may also be entitled to a prompt payment discount from some of the contracted dealers. If a prompt payment discount exists, it will be noted on the state purchase order and dealer's invoice.

I'm a dealer, how do I sell vehicles on the state contract?

Vehicle dealers have submitted bids and have been awarded a contract. Solicitations are posted via Washington Electronic Business Solutions (WEBS). To register with this office for placement on our bidder's mailing list or to view our current bidding opportunities, visit our How to Work With the State webpage.

How do I purchase in-stock vehicles?

Dealers may have a supply of in-stock vehicles that may meet your needs. Customers may be able to take quicker delivery of these vehicles as they do not need to be made to order. An additional charge may be required for in-stock vehicles as the vehicle was manufactured for retail markets and do not have manufacture supported Government Discount supplied.

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DES Contracting & Purchasing