Understanding an SOW

An SOW is essential when purchasing commercial services. Be aware that SOWs are read and interpreted by government and industry personnel with diverse backgrounds such as engineering, science, accounting, law, contracting and other business fields. The SOW must be clear, precise, complete and concise. It should contain the following elements per FAR 8.405-2:


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There are some general preparation guidelines to consider when preparing an SOW:
  • Preparation responsibility. Normally, the person responsible for preparing the purchase request may also be responsible for preparing the SOW. If so, the person may seek advice and assistance from others involved in the procurement process.
  • The person responsible for issuing the delivery/task order must ensure that the SOW is adequate for the procurement. If the functions are not completed by the same person, it is important for the preparer of the purchase request and the preparer of the SOW to work together to ensure that the services required are clearly described.



Tasks or Requirements

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Remember to define requirements within the scope of commercial items or services.

All services ordered must be within the scope of the GSA Schedule contract.

Deliverables or Delivery Schedule

Government Property and Information

Refer to FAR 45.101 for more information.

Security Provisions

Place of Performance

Period of Performance