A Brief Guide to the Costar Vehicle Dealers Program

The Costar vehicle dealers program is a unique way for government entities to purchase cars, trucks, and SUVs for work-related purposes. Many state and local agencies have taken advantage of the program; if you're interested in participating yourself, here's how it works.

What It Is

Costar is a cooperative purchasing program run by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. It helps local entities obtain a wider range of choices – as well as competitive prices – that may not otherwise be available. It was created with the passage of the Commonwealth Procurement Code of 1998. In 2004, the General Assembly expanded the authority of the Department of General Services (DGS) to enter into contracts to benefit state-affiliated entities as well as local public procurement units, or LPPUs. According to the DGS, thousands of companies are members of the program.

There are several different entities that fall under the category of LPPU. For instance, school districts and municipalities are considered LPPUs, as are non-profit, tax-exempt public health, and educational institutions. Fire and ambulance companies also qualify, as does any other entity that procures supplies or services through public funds.

Why It's Important

Local governments are feeling the budget pinch more than ever, and as a result, many agencies are forced to use vehicles that are out of date and unreliable. Costar vehicle dealers help those agencies by offering competitive prices. State entities not only have more choices, they also get better discounts as a result.

The program is relatively easy to understand. Let's say that a company that sells cars chooses to participate in the program. That seller can then sell vehicles that will be used by the state or local government. An employee of an agency, in many instances, will be able to use government-issued funds in order to make the purchase. It's very important to note, however, that there are several stipulations to the program that differ in various cities. However, the program can offer not only deep discounts, but also provide a great deal of convenience.

As a result, governmental departments can upgrade to fuel-efficient, reliable transportation with flexible finance options. This will free up money for other tasks, such as administrative work and addressing manpower needs. The program also substantially reduces paperwork and red tape.

Businesses also see substantial benefits. They are able to sell large quantities of vehicles and move inventory off their property. Costar vehicle dealers, like other sellers, have to pay interest on cars that sit on their lots – the longer they sit there, the more interest they have to pay. In addition, as part of their contracts they receive revenue from any repairs or service that is needed.

The Costar vehicle dealers program is a "win-win" for both governmental agencies and businesses. If you would like more information, contact a local participant.