Establishing a Service Center

Service centers are established for operations that intend to function for a period of time and to recover no more than their cost of operation over this period. Given the possible financial risk and significant compliance concerns associated with service centers, a significant proposal and approval process is warranted. This proposal will serve to justify the business need for the service, document the resources required to establish the service center, and describe the plan for a compliant operation of this service center. This section describes what should be included in the proposal and the approval and setup process. The Department of Costing and Compliance is available to assist the unit in preparing this proposal. Please contact X6-0536 for assistance. 

Proposal Content

All proposals for the establishment of a service center project ID should contain the following items. See Appendix A for an example of a service center proposal.

  1. Service Center Cover Sheet (available online at

    Title of the service center

    Department Name

    eUMB Department Code

    Name and contact information for the service center director

    Name and contact information of an administrative contact person

    A nonsponsored chartstring that can be used to fund deficits, should this be necessary

    NOTE: A New Project ID Request Form is normally required for the establishment of all nonsponsored project IDs. This Cover Sheet will replace the New Project ID Request Form for service center project IDs.
  2. Narrative Description of the Goods/Services to Be Provided — Provide a description of the goods or service(s) that the service center will be providing. Indicate the basis for billing for this service (per test, per labor hour, time and materials, etc.). See the Establishment of Rates section of this manual for guidance on determining the basis for billing. This section also should describe the programmatic oversight of this operation. For example, describe any advisory committee.
  3. Market Analysis — This section should identify whether this service or similar service is available elsewhere either within the University or outside the University. This should include the pricing of the service from other providers. If the service center cannot provide the service at a comparable cost, please describe the benefit to the University for providing this service in this service center as opposed to procuring the service from the outside vendor.
  4. Five-Year Service Volume Projections — Provide a five-year projection of expected service volumes.
  5. Narrative Support for Service Volume Projections — To support your five-year projections of service volumes, provide a narrative description of your projection methodology. If possible, include a listing of potential customers and a description of their current and potential funding sources for this service. Please indicate if any external users are anticipated.
  6. Five-Year Cost Projections — Provide a five-year cost projection for this service center. These projections should be based on the accounting methodologies outlined in this manual. 
  7. Narrative Support for the Cost Projections To Support Your Five-Year Cost Projection — Provide a narrative description of your projection methodology. Indicate how you estimated staffing needs, salary levels, and salary increases. Indicate how you estimated the cost of supplies and other support items.
  8. Space Needs — Provide a description of the space the service center will require and whether this will exist in space already assigned to the unit or if new space is required. If the space has already been identified, please note the location. 
  9. Initial Rate Calculation — Provide an initial rate calculation sheet. See Establishment of Rates section for guidance on developing a rate.
  10. Description of Billing Procedures — Describe the process that will take place for users to request service, how eUMB chartstrings will be collected to bill once services have been performed, and the activity logs that will be kept to support the service center billings. The BIORESCO core has a service available to all service centers on campus. This service will post your rate schedule on the web and allow users to order your service (collecting the appropriate charging information) from a web interface. This billing data will then be interfaced monthly with eUMB. To view the website, go to For information on using this service, please contact Carol McKissick at 410-706-0322.
  11. Equipment Listing — Provide a listing of all equipment >$5,000, if any, to be used by the service center. This schedule should indicate whether this equipment has already been purchased by the University or if the service center will be making the purchase. For items already purchased, indicate the tag number of the piece of equipment and how it was funded.
  12. Summary of Startup Cost Funding — The initial volume of the service center may not be sufficient to cover the startup and operational expenses incurred in the early stages of the service center operation. Therefore, it may be necessary to secure startup funds and to identify the sources of the funding. This schedule should summarize all of the costs, including initial equipment purchases, and specify if and when these costs will be recovered through future rates.
  13. Rate Schedule — Provide a rate schedule that can be used to post the approved rates to the internet. This can be an HTML document or a Word document. This can include any marketing material you would like but should not include details on how the rates were calculated.

Approval Process

All service center proposals must go through the following approvals:

  1. Department chair, if applicable
  2. Dean or his designee in the Dean's Office
  3. Cost Analysis and Studies

Each dean's office may establish an approval process. For example, in the School of Medicine, all service center proposals will be reviewed by the Research Affairs Advisory Committee (RAAC). Please speak with your dean's office as to what approvals are necessary for your school.

Approvals will be collected on the Service Center Cover Sheet.  Once all approvals have been collected, Cost Analysis will forward a copy of the service center cover sheet to Quality Assurance in Financial Services for chartstring setup. Cost Analysis also will send a copy of the service center proposal to Budget and Financial Analysis for their files.

eUMB Chartstring Setup

Service Center chartstrings will be set up in eUMB as follows:

PCBU: 00135 (Revolving Fund)

Project: Sequentially assigned by eUMB

Fund: 135 (Revolving Funds)

Program: 353 (Recharge Service Centers)

Department: eUMB Department indicated on the cover sheet

Title: Title indicated on the cover sheet

NOTE: Only projects that are subject to this manual should be set up using the 353 (Recharge Service Centers) program.