Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for Buyers
Frequently Asked Questions
- How do I purchase IT products, services, and solutions using Schedule 70?
- How is purchasing from Schedule 70 better than purchasing on the open market?
- Will Schedule 70 meet all of my needs if the requirements are large and/or complex? What if the schedule contractor doesn’t have everything under contract?
- What is the maximum order threshold?
- When I place an order under a Schedule contract, does it really meet Competition in Contracting Act requirements?
- How can I be certain I will always be able to get the latest technology under Schedule 70?
- What is a contractor team arrangement under Schedule 70?
- What is the difference between software maintenance as a product vs. software maintenance as a service?
- Are small business set-asides permitted on Schedule 70?
- Can I ask for additional discounts?
- What are the benefits of purchasing from Schedule 70?
- What are Blanket Purchase Agreements (BPAs)?
- What must I do when administering a time-and-materials order under a GSA Schedule contract?
- Can I place time-and-materials or labor-hour orders under GSA Schedule contracts?
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How do I purchase IT products, services, and solutions using Schedule 70?
You can use the following tools to acquire IT products, services, and solutions:
- Government buyers can use eBuy to obtain quotes or proposals for services, large quantity purchases, big ticket items, and purchases with complex requirements.
- GSA Advantage!® is our online shopping and ordering system linking customers to thousands of contractors and millions of supplies and services.
- Our Assisted Acquisition Services staff can manage your next IT or professional services acquisition for you.
2. How is purchasing from Schedule 70 better than purchasing on the open market?
Purchasing from GSA schedule contracts offers the following advantages over procuring on the open market:
- GSA has determined prices under schedule contracts to be fair and reasonable.
- Synopses are not required for schedule purchases.
- Schedule contracts have been awarded in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.
- Administrative time is reduced.
- Schedule contracts offer a wide selection of state-of-the-art commercial supplies and services.
3. Will Schedule 70 meet all of my needs if the requirements are large and/or complex? What if the schedule contractor doesn’t have everything under contract?
With over one million products, services, and solutions available, Schedule 70 meets the vast majority of customers' needs. For large or complex requirements, Schedule 70 contractors can team with other schedule contract holders and submit a total solution to meet customers' needs under a contractor team arrangement (CTA). The modification process allows contractors to modify contracts at any time during the contract period. Therefore, contractors have the ability to place new items under contract to meet customers' needs. This also assures the latest technology is always available to the customer. Incidental items may be added to a schedule delivery order as well.
4. What is the maximum order threshold?
Customer orders are not restricted by a maximum order limit. New procedures have been developed to allow Schedule 70 contractors to accept any size order. In accordance with FAR 8.404(b) (3), the Maximum Order Threshold represents the point where it is advantageous for customers to seek a price reduction. In fact, after a customer reviews the pricelist(s) or GSA Advantage!®, the FAR instructs customers to generally seek price reductions for orders exceeding this threshold from Schedule contractor(s) appearing to provide the best value (considering price and other factors).
5. When I place an order under a Schedule contract does it really meet Competition in Contracting Act requirements?
Yes. Using the Multiple Awards Schedule program facilitates an agency's ability to meet the Competition in Contracting Act requirements (see FAR 6.102(d) (3)).
6. How can I be certain I will always be able to get the latest technology under Schedule 70?
IT Schedule 70 has a continually open solicitation, which permits new contract offers to be submitted at any time. With the updated contract modification process, IT Schedule 70 contractors can continually refresh what they offer under their MAS contracts.
7. What is a contractor team arrangement (CTA) under Schedule 70?
A CTA is an arrangement between two or more GSA schedule contractors to work together to meet an agency's requirements. The CTA allows the contractor to meet the government agency needs by providing a total solution that combines the supplies and/or services from the team members' separate GSA schedule contracts. It permits contractors to complement each other's capabilities to compete for orders for which they may not independently qualify. A customer benefits from a CTA by buying a solution rather than making separate buys from various contractors. Learn more about Contractor Team Arrangements.
8. What is the difference between software maintenance as a product vs. software maintenance as a service?
Software Maintenance as a Product is billed at the time of purchase. Software maintenance as a product is used for the purpose of maintaining the operability and usability of the software product by publishing patches, updates, or upgrades. An example is the publication of patches to keep the software free of bugs or defects. Software maintenance as a product is now found under the terms and conditions for SINs 132-32 and 132-33 as those two software-related SINs are considered products. This reclassification allows for Software Maintenance as a Product to be billed at the time of purchase.
Software Maintenance as a Service is billed in arrears in accordance with 31 U.S.C 3324. Software maintenance as a service is purchased for the purpose of solving user-identified problems with technical support outside the scope of software maintenance as a product. For example, when problems arise after implementation of software, such as the software's incompatibility with the organization's IT infrastructure.
9. Are small business set-asides permitted?
Yes.For detailed information, please refer to Small Business Set-Aside FAQs.
10. Can I ask for additional discounts?
Yes. Schedule contractors are able to offer one-time discounts from established Schedule contracts. Such commercial buying practices were introduced to empower you to negotiate higher discounts without doing a new procurement. Schedule contractors can give one buying member a discount without passing the discount on to the entire federal government. In essence, this provision allows the contractor to offer – and the government to avail itself of – spot pricing in the commercial market.
11. What are the benefits of purchasing through Schedule 70?
Schedule 70 is the government’s go-to source for technology acquisitions and is broadly recognized for its benefits of cost savings, time savings, selection, and built-in value. Federal, state, local, and tribal government customers should consider using Schedule 70 to optimize the often lengthy procurement process and leveraging GSA’s suite of e-Tools that facilitate market research and offer quick, automated purchasing capabilities.
12. What are Blanket Purchase Agreements (BPAs)?
Blanket Purchase Agreements are a streamlined acquisition method that enables agencies to secure discounts based on the potential quantity/volume of items frequently ordered. More details are available at Blanket Purchase Agreements.
GSA has created several technology BPAs through Schedule 70 to offer savings on commonly purchased technology to government customers: SmartBUY (software), IT Commodities (hardware), Cloud E-mail as a Service (EaaS), and Cloud Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).
13. What must I do when administering a time-and-materials order under a GSA Schedule contract?
Prior to placing a time-and-materials order, the ordering activity must ensure that it has and will maintain appropriate order administration capabilities to give the government reasonable assurances that efficient methods and effective cost controls are being used by the Schedule contractor. The contractor's accounting system should support the ability to closely track funding expenditures, since hours worked equate to hours to be paid.
Particular attention should be paid to ensure that services are performed by those persons belonging to the appropriate labor categories with specified qualifications, as stipulated in the order, and that the billing accurately reflects the correct rates.
A ceiling price must be established at the time of order placement. Contractors exceeding the ceiling price do so at their own risk. Any subsequent changes to the ceiling price must be justified and documented.
14. Can I place time-and-materials or labor-hour orders under GSA Schedule contracts?
Yes, but only under certain circumstances. A firm-fixed price quotation must be requested, unless the ordering activity makes a determination that it is not possible at the time of placing the order to estimate accurately the extent or duration of the work, or to anticipate cost with any reasonable degree of confidence. When such a determination is made, a time-and-materials (including labor-hour) quotation can be requested. A time-and-materials order must include a ceiling price. Contractors exceeding the ceiling price do so at their own risk.