OSBU FAQ: Contracts and Other Business Opportunities

OSBU has collected the more frequently asked questions and have created these web pages to ask and answer them. They have been organized into four categories:

Contracts/Schedules

Q: How do I get a Contract to Sell?

Five Easy Steps:

  1. There are many procurement opportunities to sell products and services. For procurements over $25,000 you should visit FedBizOpps (http://www.fbo.gov) and search for what you sell or services that you can provide.
  2. If a procurement specifies GSA Schedule Vendors only, you must be a GSA schedule contract holder to participate.
  3. In most cases, which ever type of contract you want, you will have to go through submitting an offer or bid.
  4. The agency will review your submission and either accept or reject it.
  5. If you are accepted you have won the contract and in most cases can begin selling your products or performing your services. In the case of GSA Schedules, when you win a contract you may be added to a list of other vendors who have won and have to wait for an order to be placed against your contract.

Q: What do I have to do to obtain a GSA Contract?

A: To become a GSA Schedule contractor, a vendor must first meet minimum qualifications:

  1. Last 12 months of revenue equal $25,000 or more
  2. Operating a legal business for 2 years or more.
  3. Registered on www.sam.gov (System for Award Management)
  4. Past experience with commercial buyers

Q: How do I modify a Schedules Contract?

A: You can add SINs to your current GSA schedules contract by using the online contract modification system, eMod. eMod allows you to prepare and submit modification requests, continue working on saved modification requests, and edit submitted modification requests. eMod can be accessed online at http://eoffer.gsa.gov/. Modification approvals are at the discretion of the Contracting Officer.

Q: How do I check on a GSA Number when paperwork has been submitted to obtain a schedule contract?

A: The contract number is not the next step to offer submission. There is a 4-6 month process before a contract is approved or rejected. Approval is the only way that a contract number will be issued. If you want to check on the status of your offer, you can call the point of contact listed in the solicitation you completed.

Here are the steps to find the point of contact:

  1. Find the Standard Form 1449 in the solicitation you downloaded from the web.
  2. In block 7(a) and (b) you will see a point of contact for asking questions during the application process and for follow-up to determine the status.

GSA Schedules vendor whose offer has been awarded will receive a notification of award and a copy of the approved contract from the Contracting Officer. Once the contract is loaded to our system, you will be able to view it at www.gsa.gov/elibrary

Q: Do I have an option to make my Schedule Private?

A: No, the contracts you obtain through the GSA Multiple Award Schedules Program are public and visible at www.gsa.gov/elibrary.

Q: How do I obtain information regarding GSA forecast of contracting opportunities?

A: The GSA Forecast of Contracting Opportunities may be viewed at www.gsa.gov/smbusforecast. The GSA Forecast is regularly updated and lists anticipated contracts offered by GSA for the current fiscal year.

Q: Where do I find a listing of solicitations/contracts?

A: Solicitations are the request from the agency to fulfill a particular procurement while contracts are awarded to those vendors who have won that procurement.

Q: How Do I obtain Veterans Affairs Schedules?

A: The best way to access VA Schedule procurements is to view their schedules through www.gsa.gov/elibrary. Search for the type of work you want to provide and then click on the corresponding schedule. If VA is a match then you can click on the link and use the contact information to take the next step.

You can also use the contact information below for general questions:

VA Office of Acquisitions

Telephone: 708-786-7737
Website: https://www.va.gov/oal/
Email: helpdesk.ammhinfss@va.gov

Other Procurement Vehicles

Q: What is an eOffer? Where can I submit a question regarding eOffer?

A: eOffer is an electronic system for submitting GSA Schedule offers. Visit the eOffer website (http://eoffer.gsa.gov) to learn more about the program. Questions, website technical issues, etc., can be emailed to effort@gsa.gov.

Q: Is there a way to identify the vendors that are interested in a certain RFQ via eBuy (not FBO - we're aware of the Interested Vendors listing)?

A: Only GSA Schedule Vendors can respond to eBuy. Their interest is based on the business category. All GSA Schedule vendors can be found on www.gsa.gov/elibrary and are categorized by their industry.

Q: Are Contracting Officers (COs) required to provide debriefs to firms that submitted unsuccessful bids (upon request)?

A: Debriefing unsuccessful offers is a good practice and the standard is usually three days from the date you are notified that you were not awarded. If you do not request a debriefing within three days of rejection you may not receive one.

Q: We have had a lot of trouble trying to get debriefings. Is it different with eBuy? Any suggestions?

A: To clarify the debriefing process for the procurement you are applying for, it is suggested that you ask about the process prior to your offer submission.

Q: A common problem we have experienced is the lack of knowledge of Agency managers on GSA Schedules and how to use them. What information can be provided to Agency managers so that they can order our services through GSA Schedules? We have found some information for Agency managers on the GSA site, but is there a Bulletin/memo/instructs that is sent out to Agency managers that we could also use?

A: FAR 8.4 outlines the GSA Schedules Program. www.acquisition.gov/far. Also, we are always developing inreach efforts to educate on procurement methods when considering small business. Please provide your feedback to us through 1855-OSBUGSA.

Q: If a firm has not been notified directly of an opportunity in eBuy, does it mean that a quote submitted by them would have a lower probability of being selected than the firms that were notified of the opportunity directly

A: No, all quotes submitted are considered equally. GSA’s eBuy system allows buyers to post opportunities (Requests for Quote - RFQ or Request for Proposals - RFP) under Federal Acquisition Service contract vehicles for relevant categories such as Special Items Numbers (SINs) under Multiple Award Schedules (MAS) or functional areas or pools under Government-wide Acquisition Contracts (GWACs) or Multi-agency contracts (MACs).

Buyers have the option to email the opportunity directly to contractors that fall under the category, but all contractors with a contract awarded under that category are able to view the opportunity and provide a quote. This means that contractors are made aware of the opportunity either via direct email notification or by logging into eBuy to view all current opportunities available under their awarded categories.

eBuy is built to be highly competitive. To help ensure strong competition, eBuy is both a push and pull system. The buyer at the ordering agency selects firms to be notified of an RFQ or RFP opportunity (the push). All firms with an award under the category have the ability to view and compete for the opportunity (the pull). The Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) require that all quotations received in response to an RFQ or RFP are considered equally, no matter how the contractor learned of the opportunity.

Q: Where do I find Procurement Technical Assistance Centers assistance?

A: PTACs are a great resource and located throughout the country. To find the PTAC closest to you, please visit http://www.aptac-us.org/new/.

Q: What are Governmentwide Acquisition Contracts (GWACs)?

A: GWACs are task order or delivery order contracts for information technology established for governmentwide use (see Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) 2.1, Definitions). Each GWAC is operated by an executive agent designated by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) pursuant to section 5112(e) of the Clinger-Cohen Act. The Economy Act does not apply when placing orders under GWACs. To use GWACs, agencies may either obtain a delegation of authority from the GWAC Program Office or work through a procurement support operation such as GSA's Office of Assisted Acquisition Services. For further information and to view current GWAC procurements, please visit www.gsa.gov/gwac.

Q: Is there a way to know when a Request for Quotes (RFQ) is a new procurement?

A: Even though some procurement may be exercising an option, in the case of a RFQ posting these are considered open for new contracting opportunities.

Q: There are many instances where GSA RFQs are full and open. Are there any steps we could follow to try to make them small business set aside?

A: Set-asides for schedules are different than other procurements. They are already established as a part of the schedule because the set-aside was determined at the time of the acquisition planning. However, other procurements are reviewed and set-aside based on the rule of two which basically means that if two vendors apply for a procurement who are small business and meet all qualifications then the procurement should be set-aside for small business.

See Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) 19.502-2 (b)(1)

(b) Before setting aside an acquisition under this paragraph, refer to 19.203(c). The contracting officer shall set aside any acquisition over $150,000 for small business participation when there is a reasonable expectation that:

(1) Offers will be obtained from at least two responsible small business concerns offering the products of different small business concerns (see paragraph (c) of this section);…

To read the complete FAR clause, please visit Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR). Your knowledge of the FAR is the best way to know agency rules and regulations.

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