The GSA Schedule is a convenient, effective option for both buyers and sellers. Buyers enjoy simplified ordering procedures and reduced prices, while sellers can connect with federal buyers quickly and easily. The Schedule program supports compliance but also allow for flexibility to meet your buying needs of:
- Negotiated contract ceiling prices
- Opportunities for discounts at the order level
- Single contracting vehicle to fulfill complex or ongoing needs and reduce overall contract awards and administration
- Less administrative time and contract documentation, since the master contract is managed by GSA
- Socioeconomic credit for orders awarded to small business and other socioeconomic categories
- Service Contract Labor Standards (SCLS) Compliance [PDF - 119 KB]
- Increased opportunities to reach federal buyers
- Increased opportunities for socioeconomic set-asides
- Opportunity for a 20-year contract, if all options are exercised
Competition in Contracting Act Compliance (CICA)
To reduce burden on buyers, GSA Schedule has been synopsized on FedBizOpps. The Schedule satisfies the requirements of the Competition in Contracting Act (Pub. Law 98-369) and Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Part 5, Publicizing Contract Actions. Therefore competitive (fair opportunity) Schedule Orders and Blanket Purchase Agreements (BPAs) are not required to be synopsized in FedBizOpps.
Buyers must follow procedures outlined in FAR 8.4 to fully comply with CICA.
The only exception to FedBizOpps posting is for any sole-source Schedule Order or BPA in excess of the simplified acquisition threshold AND supported by a Limited Sources Justification (LSJ) The LSJ must be posted on FedBizOpps within 14 days AFTER award.
AbilityOneSupplies and Services
The AbilityOne Program provides many supplies and services to federal customers under its mandatory source authority. AbilityOne Program sources supplies manufactured or services performed by people who are blind or who have other severe disabilities. Before making any purchase from a Schedule contractor, buyers should determine if there is a comparable AbilityOne supply or service. Buyers should contact an AbilityOne representative to determine if there is an appropriate supply manufactured or service performed by people who are blind or have other severe disabilities.
UNICOR Supplies and Services
UNICOR (Federal Prison Industries) is a mandatory source of supply for certain items similar to those on GSA Schedules. Buyers are encouraged to purchase UNICOR supplies and services to the maximum extent practicable.
In accordance with FAR 8.6, if a UNICOR supply item meets the buyer's requirement, before purchasing the item from UNICOR, the buyers should conduct market research to determine whether the UNICOR item is comparable to supplies available from the private sector that best meet the government's needs in terms of price, quality, and time of delivery.
If the UNICOR item is comparable, the buyer should follow UNICOR's ordering procedures and purchase the item from UNICOR, unless UNICOR grants a waiver (FAR 8.604), or one of the circumstances in FAR 8.605 applies. View a list of UNICOR supplies and services.
Note: FAR 8.002 specifies the order of priority when acquiring supplies or services. Although UNICOR has priority over the GSA Schedule for supplies, the GSA Schedule has priority over UNICOR for services.
To help customers comply with the environmental laws and Executive Orders (considering price, availability, and performance requirements), Schedule contractors have been requested (where possible and/or feasible) to identify items that:
- Have recycled content (e.g., EPA-designated items in the Comprehensive Procurement Guidelines Program);
- Save energy and/or water (e.g., Energy Star-certified or Federal Energy Management Program-designated);
- Have biobased content (USDA-designated items in the BioPreferred Program);
- Are or contain EPA-specified alternatives to ozone-depleting substances; and
- Have reduced toxic or hazardous constituents (e.g., low volatile organic compounds (VOCs)).
Note: Buyers should review contractor literature and contact the seller directly to obtain complete information regarding environmental claims. Applicable guidance can be found in Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Part 23, Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) Part 223, and on the Green Procurement Compilation (GPC) Products website.
As a government buyer, before you lease equipment, you must determine whether it is more advantageous to lease or purchase the equipment. To make this determination, you should compare the leasing terms offered from the third-party leasing companies on Schedule to those offered by the Schedule equipment sellers. OMB Circular A-94 [PDF] describes the economic analysis to determine the economic impact of leasing vs. purchasing.
For example, most Information Technology (IT) leases, other than Lease to Ownership Plans (LTOP), require the buyer and the leasing contractor to determine, as part of the initial lease agreement, the market value of the equipment at the end of the lease term; i.e., its residual value.
Once you understand all the options and you determine leasing is in the best interest of the government, you will select the best leasing terms offered. Leasing requires the agency to commit to all the lease terms and conditions for the full term of the lease. If your agency has annual appropriations requiring issuance of supplemental funding documents, the agency's procurement and accounting systems must be capable of producing these required documents. Customers must also submit "renewal delivery orders" in a timely manner to ensure that leases do not expire.
Cancelling a lease for lack of funds should only be done when the organization is no longer funded. Court decisions have held that termination for convenience should only be employed when the agency no longer requires the equipment.
Reminder, customers need to submit their renewal delivery orders in a timely manner to ensure that their leases do not expire.
General Services Administration Acquisition Manual (GSAM) Clause 552.211-73, Marking incorporates general requirements that address delivery to civilian and military activities.
General requirements—Interior packages, if any, and exterior shipping containers must be marked as specified elsewhere in the contract. Other marking requirements may be specified on delivery orders issued under the contract. If not otherwise specified, interior packages and exterior shipping containers must be marked according to the standards outlined in the GSAM.
Each Schedule contract has a maximum order threshold (MOT), or maximum order limit, which varies by Special Item Number (SIN). The maximum order limit does NOT limit the value of any task order or contract awarded against the SIN. The maximum order threshold simply represents the point where, given the dollar value of the potential order, the Schedule contractor can decline the order. See 52.216-19 ORDER LIMITATIONS (OCT 1995) for further information on maximum order limitations.
- 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 shall 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.
- 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.
Trade-ins (exchanges) will be considered against the purchase of new equipment and will be used in determining the "best value" purchase at the lowest overall cost; i.e., the price of the item plus administrative costs. If equipment was traded in as part of the purchase arrangement, the file should show the type, brand, and value of the equipment exchanged. Trade-ins should comply with provisions of the Federal Management Regulation (FMR) Part 102-39.