Ordering Procedures for Services Requiring a Statement of Work (SOW)

The following ordering information provides a technical reference for requiring activity personnel to use in performing their duties as a Contracting Officer. Only FAR SubPart 8.4 gives us terminology appropriate for Schedule ordering.

Ordering activities must use the procedures in Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) 8.405-2 when ordering Schedule contract services priced at hourly rates. The applicable services will be identified in Schedule publications and contractors' Schedule price lists.

Note: Ordering activities must use the procedures in FAR 8.405-1, Ordering Procedures for Supplies, and Services Not Requiring a Statement of Work (SOW) when ordering Schedule contract supplies (products) and fixed-price services for a specific task, where a Statement of Work is not required (e.g., installation, maintenance, and repair or a well-defined, priced training class offering).

Order Procedures:
Services that require an SOW e.g., when ordering services priced at hourly rates.

  • Orders at or below the micro-purchase threshold:

    Place the order directly with any GSA Schedule contractor that can meet the ordering activity's needs.
  • Orders that exceed the micro-purchase threshold but not the simplified acquisition threshold:

    Prepare an SOW or PWS in accordance with FAR 8.405-2(b).

    Send the RFQ (including the SOW and evaluation criteria) to at least three GSA Schedule contractors.

    Note: The ordering activity should request GSA Schedule contractors to submit firm-fixed prices to perform the services identified in the SOW.

    Evaluate, then make a "Best Value" determination.
  • Orders that exceed the simplified acquisition threshold or when establishing a BPA:

    Prepare an SOW or PWS in accordance with FAR 8.405-2(b).

    Prepare the RFQ (including the SOW and evaluation criteria) and post on eBuy to afford all Schedule contractors the opportunity to respond, or provide the RFQ to as many Schedule contractors as practicable, consistent with market research, to reasonably ensure that quotes are received from at least three contractors.

    Note: The ordering activity should request GSA Schedule contractors to submit firm-fixed prices to perform the services identified in the SOW.

    Seek price reductions. Evaluate all responses and place the order, or establish the BPA with the GSA Schedule contractor that represents the best value (refer to FAR 8.405-2(d)).

The foregoing points summarize the requirements of FAR 8.405-1.

A helpful checklist [DOC - 609 KB] assists ordering activities in managing Schedule orders successfully from the initial planning process, and the decision to use GSA Schedules through performance management. Refer to Checklist B for orders requiring an SOW. Note that the ordering agency may have supplementary guidelines that should also be followed when placing a Schedules order.

For ordering services requiring a Statement of Work, ordering activities must:

Prepare a Request for Quotation (RFQ) that includes:

A Statement of Work.
  • To the maximum extent practicable; agency requirements must be performance-based statements.
  • All SOWs must include the work to be performed, the location of the work, the period of performance, the deliverable schedule, the applicable performance standards, and any special requirements (e.g., security clearances, travel, and special knowledge).
The evaluation criteria (e.g., project plan for performing the task, price, experience, and past performance).
  • A firm-fixed price order 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 labor-hour or time-and-materials quotation may be requested. The firm-fixed price of the order should also include any travel costs or other direct charges related to performance of the services ordered, unless the order provides for reimbursement of travel costs at the rates provided in the Federal Travel or Joint Travel Regulations. A ceiling price must be established for labor-hour and time-and-materials orders.
  • At the discretion of the ordering activity's contracting officer, orders and BPAs may be set aside for the types of small businesses listed in FAR 19.000(a)(3). Market research will reveal whether or not two or more small businesses of a certain type can meet agency requirements. Refer to FAR 8.405-5. If a set aside is conducted the order must contain the appropriate clauses from the list below:
  • Contracting Officers, at their discretion, may set aside orders and BPAs for small business.
  • Ordering activities may consider socioeconomic status when identifying contractors for consideration or competition for award of an order or a Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA). At a minimum, ordering activities should consider, if available, at least one small business, veteran-owned small business, service-disabled, veteran-owned small business, HUBZone small business, women-owned small business, or small disadvantaged business Schedule contractor. GSA Advantage!® and GSA eLibrary contain information on small business representations of Schedule contractors.
A requirement for pricing information that ties the offered prices to the Schedule contract prices and seeks additional price reductions where appropriate.

Evaluate Responses and Place the Order or Establish the BPA

The ordering activity must evaluate all responses received using the evaluation criteria in the RFQ.

GSA has already determined that the hourly rates for services contained in the Schedule contractor's price list are fair and reasonable. However, the ordering activity is responsible for considering the level of effort, and the mix of labor proposed to perform a specific task being ordered, and for determining that the total firm-fixed price or ceiling price is fair and reasonable.

The ordering activity should then place the order, or establish the BPA, with the Schedule contractor that represents the best value (see FAR 8.404(d)).

After award, the ordering activity should provide timely notification to unsuccessful offerors. If an unsuccessful offeror requests information on an award that was based on factors other than price alone, a brief explanation of the basis for the award must be provided.


At a minimum, the ordering activity must document:

  • The Schedule contracts considered; noting the contractor from which the service was purchased;
  • A description of the service purchased;
  • The amount paid;
  • The evaluation methodology used in selecting the contractor to receive the order;
  • The rationale for any tradeoffs in making the selection;
  • The fair and reasonable price determination required by FAR 8.405-2(d);
  • When applicable, the following must be included in addition to the foregoing:
  • (i) If an order is in excess of $500,000, the determination of "best procurement approach" made during the planning process in accordance with FAR 17.502-1(a);
  • (ii) The rationale for using other than a firm-fixed price order or a performance-based order;
  • (iii) When an order exceeds the simplified acquisition threshold and a minimum of 3 offers were not received and considered, evidence of steps taken to meet the competitiveness requirements of FAR 8.405-2(c), documentation demonstrating that the attempts to obtain offers from at least three firms that could meet the requirements were adequate; and
  • (iv) Documentation as required by FAR 8.405-6 of the circumstances and rationale for limiting consideration of Schedule contractors to fewer than 3 potential sources, including an approved Limited Source Justification when required.

Contractor Performance Evaluation

Ordering activities must prepare an evaluation of contractor performance for each Schedule contract order that exceeds the simplified acquisition threshold. See FAR 8.406-7 and 42.1502(c). Ordering activities must use agency-approved feeder systems to collect and electronically submit past performance reports to the Past Performance Information Retrieval System (PPIRS).

REMEMBER! Ordering activities placing GSA Schedule contract orders (particularly if governmentwide commercial purchase cards are used), should advise Schedule contractors that they are authorized Schedule users and cite the appropriate GSA Schedule contract number on each ordering document, in order to ensure that they receive Schedule contract services at Schedule contract prices. All services ordered must be within the scope of the GSA Schedule contract.

The shortcut to this page is www.gsa.gov/schedulesorderingwithsow.

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