Contract Vehicles..Does It Include a GSA Schedule?

What is it? A contract vehicle (includes a GSA schedule) is the government’s method of streamlining how they buy goods and services.  Instead of soliciting offers for goods or services by releasing a Request for Proposal (RFP) or similar, the government pre-approves companies that can provide the items needed. The agencies enter into a agreement with these firms that allows the government to purchase them over a set time period and for a set price. There are several forms, but a high-level review of some common ones are:

Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity Contracts (IDIQs)

IDIQs allow the government to purchase items under contract when needed and in amounts, as needed. They can be awarded to multiple or a single vendor and are restricted to use within the awarding agency or partner agencies – meaning they can only be used by those authorized. IDIQ’s have on-ramp periods and once the period is closed, new contractors can’t enter. These contracts typically expire in 3-5 years.

Governmentwide Acquisition Contracts (GWACs)

Meaning agencies “government-wide” can buy products or services from this vehicle. A GSA schedule or Federal Supply Schedule (FSS) is a long-term GWAC, renewable up to 20 years. Agencies can use to buy total IT solutions, including both products and services and pretty much anything else under a GSA schedule.

Blanket Purchase Agreements (BPA)

A BPA is a simplified method of filling anticipated repetitive needs for open market supplies and services below the Simplified Acquisition Threshold, which is currently $250,000. Good for those contractors looking for the smaller contract opportunities.  

Bottom Line

When timing and quantities needed are uncertain, a contracting vehicle is a good way for agencies to pull from a list of pre-approved vendors. Of course, there are times when a contract vehicle won’t work and a new solicitation is needed. However trends show the government looks to these vehicles more often than not to meet its procurement needs. Finally, it may be a fit for you as you look for ways to decrease the number of competitors. What we covered here is just a sampling. Contact us to learn more about contract vehicles and business development strategies.

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Province Consulting Group, Inc.

Province Consulting Group specializes in positioning small and mid-sized firms in successful entry and growth within the government and commercial marketplace. We understand the complex and unique challenges that small and emerging businesses face when trying to navigate the govcon space.