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Question –> Intro of new services (how to buy from Sole source GSA vendor)?
February 2, 2010 at 1:44 am #90992
What is the acquisition procedure when buying services from the GSA schedules and only one GSA schedule holder is available for performance of the required service?
- Can purchasing officer(s) seek competitive bids outside of the schedule?
- FAR 8.404 seems to prohibit seeking competitive outside bids.
- What about the three vendor rule (find best value in three)?
February 2, 2010 at 2:20 am #91014
Disclaimer – I am not a Contracting Officer. Only your KO can really make this call.
With that said. . . . Your question talks about a specific contract vehicle (GSA Schedule – FAR Part 8). I think you would be in FAR 8.405-6. It is far easier to make the argument for products. When it comes to services, there is such a large population of vendors offering similar services that some KOs will have a hard time agreeing that only one company is capable of performing the required service. I cut and pasted the FAR part below.
8.405-6 Limited sources justification and approval.
(a) Orders placed under Federal Supply Schedules are exempt from the requirements in Part 6. However, an ordering activity must justify its action when restricting consideration of schedule contractors to fewer than required in 8.405-1 or 8.405-2.
(b) Circumstances that may justify restriction include—
(1) Only one source is capable of responding due to the unique or specialized nature of the work;
(2) The new work is a logical follow-on to an original Federal Supply Schedule order provided that the original order was placed in accordance with the applicable Federal Supply Schedule ordering procedures. The original order must not have been previously issued under sole source or limited source procedures;
(3) The item is peculiar to one manufacturer. A brand name item, whether available on one or more schedule contracts, is an item peculiar to one manufacturer; or
(4) An urgent and compelling need exists, and following the ordering procedures would result in unacceptable delays.
(c) When an ordering activity restricts consideration of schedule contractors to fewer than that required in 8.405-1 or 8.405-2, the ordering activity shall procure such requirements under this subpart only if the need to do so is justified in writing and approved at the levels specified in paragraphs (d) and (f) of this subsection.
(d) Orders exceeding the micro-purchase threshold, but not exceeding the simplified acquisition threshold as defined in 2.101. For proposed orders exceeding the micro-purchase threshold, but not exceeding the simplified acquisition threshold, the ordering activity contracting officer shall document the circumstances when restricting consideration of schedule contractors to fewer than required in 8.405-1 or 8.405-2.
(e) Orders exceeding the simplified acquisition threshold.
(1) For proposed orders exceeding the simplified acquisition threshold, the requiring activity shall assist the ordering activity contracting officer in the preparation of the justification. The justification shall cite that the acquisition is conducted under the authority of the Multiple Award Schedule Program (see 8.401).
(2) As a minimum, each justification shall include the following information:
(i) Identification of the agency and the contracting activity, and specific identification of the document as a “Limited Source Justification.”
(ii) Nature and/or description of the action being approved.
(iii) A description of the supplies or services required to meet the agency’s needs (including the estimated value).
(iv) Identification of the justification rationale (see 8.405-6(b)) and, if applicable, a demonstration of the proposed contractor’s unique qualifications to provide the required supply or service.
(v) A determination by the ordering activity contracting officer that the order represents the best value consistent with 8.404(d).
(vi) A description of the market research conducted among schedule holders and the results or a statement of the reason market research was not conducted.
(vii) Any other facts supporting the justification.
(viii) A statement of the actions, if any, the agency may take to remove or overcome any barriers that preclude the agency from meeting the requirements of 8.405-1 and 8.405-2 before any subsequent acquisition for the supplies or services is made.
(ix) The ordering activity contracting officer’s certification that the justification is accurate and complete to the best of the contracting officer’s knowledge and belief.
(x) Evidence that any supporting data that is the responsibility of technical or requirements personnel (e.g., verifying the Government’s minimum needs or requirements or other rationale for limited sources) and which form a basis for the justification have been certified as complete and accurate by the technical or requirements personnel.
(f) Justification approvals.
(1) For proposed orders exceeding the simplified acquisition threshold, but not exceeding $500,000, the ordering activity contracting officer’s certification that the justification is accurate and complete to the best of the ordering activity contracting officer’s knowledge and belief will serve as approval, unless a higher approval level is established in accordance with agency procedures.
(2) For a proposed order exceeding $500,000, but not exceeding $10 million, the justification must be approved by the competition advocate of the activity placing the order, or by an official named in paragraph (f)(3) or (f)(4) of this subsection. This authority is not delegable.
(3) For a proposed order exceeding $10 million, but not exceeding $50 million (or, for DoD, NASA, and the Coast Guard, not exceeding $75 million), the justification must be approved by—
(i) The head of the procuring activity placing the order;
(ii) A designee who—
(A) If a member of the armed forces, is a general or flag officer;
(B) If a civilian, is serving in a position in a grade above GS-15 under the General Schedule (or in a comparable or higher position under another schedule); or
(iii) An official named in paragraph (f)(4) of this subsection.
(4) For a proposed order exceeding $50 million (or, for DoD, NASA, and the Coast Guard, over $75 million), the justification must be approved by the senior procurement executive of the agency placing the order. This authority is not delegable, except in the case of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, acting as the senior procurement executive for the Department of Defense.
February 2, 2010 at 3:51 pm #91012
The Hierachy of Contracting in FAR Part 8 rules. So, if there is only one GSA vendor available for performance, then they should be given the award. But that does not preclude you from doing market research to determine that the pricing is fair and reasonable. You can also negotiate with the GSA vendor if the dollar value of the award is sufficient to warrant better pricing.
February 2, 2010 at 7:31 pm #91010
Excellent answer: Here is amplifying info.
Search GSA advantage for NAICS code 561740 (Carpet Cleaning)
Two vendors returned in results.
Barton’s custom cleaning & HECO industries DBA ServePro
Barton’s has service area in mid-west
HECO is primarily a disaster restoration company, and cleans carpets as a consequence of fire or flood.
What would happen if a GSA schedule owner / carpet cleaning company arrived on scene in Norfolk, VA?
February 2, 2010 at 7:39 pm #91008
The safest way to demonstrate that there is only one responsible source would be to post a RFI on e-Buy or email the two firms directly and cite your results in your market research.
February 3, 2010 at 3:02 pm #91006
Awesome discussion on this topic – very informative and practical. Thanks to you all for contributing. I’ve tweeted the link to this discussion.
February 3, 2010 at 5:35 pm #91004
Peter G. TuttleParticipant
James – Based on your below amplification re your carpet cleanuing requirement…I suspect that you have a number of vendors in the Virginia Beach (Hampton Roads) area that are carpet cleaners, whether they are on the GSA Schedule or not. Norfolk, Little Creek, TRADOC, Langley, Fort Eustis, USCG in York County, the VA hospital in Hampton, etc. all have to get their carpets cleaned somewhere! Why restrict the available market to GSA Schedule holders if your GSA Advantage search revealed results that do not appear to help you? You might be better off opening up competition and not sole-sourcing a commonly provided service. Just a thought. Pete
February 4, 2010 at 5:00 am #91002
A requirement in excess of the Micro-Purchase threshold $9,000.00 to 12,000.00 expected, and need work done soon. Competitive procurement vehicles are time consuming.
I can decide to buy from GSA vendor, and take delivery tomorrow.
Buying from the GSA vendor will save gov’t hundreds of dollars and many hours of paperwork.
Buying from the GSA vendor is safe (pre-determined to be fair and equitable, and counted the same as fair and open)
Buying from the GSA vendor avoids legal challenge from unsuccessful bidders.
February 4, 2010 at 2:34 pm #91000
Peter G. TuttleParticipant
February 4, 2010 at 3:47 pm #90998
Here’s what I would do:
Call the GSA vendors. If they can do the job in VA, then issue the purchase order. If not, call three local companies, get quotes and award to the best value. You can also check CCR by the NAICS code and location to see if there are any local companies already registered.
February 19, 2010 at 10:04 pm #90996
I am late to this discussion but I agree with Pamela. We spend government dollars to achieve mission goals and we should use the GSA vendor only if it meets our business needs
February 26, 2010 at 1:42 pm #90994
As a CO, I always operated that for “competition” there needs to be at least 2 vendors unless the requirement was advertised. The Schedules program goes a step further and states that best practice is to get 3 quotes. Rarely if ever would there be the opportunity to sole-source a commercial service. In fact, I have a hard time not justifying that requirements be set-aside for small firms even WHEN they’re being purchased from Schedules, even though FAR 19 doesn’t apply to GSA (to me, it’s the CO’s discretion if it should be set aside or not).
I did a CCR search, since all firms that want to do business with the federal Gov must be on CCR, and most firms, believe it or not, do not have GSA schedules. Not sure if it was a “sample” NAICS or not, but James suggested 561740. His GSA Advantage search returned 2 firms. The CCR search turned up 2632 firms:
CCR Search Results
2632 records found for NAICS Code: 561740
You can then look by location and business size…
And there’s nothing wrong with verbal market research 🙂
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