VA Federal Supply Schedule Frequently Asked Questions — VA FSS Customers
How long is a VA FSS contract effective?
Is it easier to purchase supplies/services off of VA FSS contracts rather than making an open market purchase?
How are the procedures for ordering supplies under VA FSS schedule contracts different from the procedures for ordering services?
What are the documentation requirements when placing orders against VA FSS contracts?
Can I use GSA Advantage! to order VA FSS contract supplies and services electronically?
What is GSA eBuy?
Can items NOT on a VA or GSA Schedule contract be included on a task/delivery order?
Can an agency use a Government credit card for payment?
Do ordering activities pay the Industrial Funding Fee (IFF) in addition to the price listed by the VA FSS contractor?
1. How long is a VA FSS contract effective?
A VA FSS contract is effective for a five year period and can be renewed for an additional 5 year period (except for contracts on the 65IB Pharmaceutical schedule, which are only effective for 5 years).
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2. Is it easier to purchase supplies/services off of VA FSS contracts rather than making an open market purchase?
Purchasing from VA FSS contracts offers the following advantages over procuring on the open market:
- VA FSS has determined the prices under Schedule contracts to be fair and reasonable.
- Schedule buyers are no required to synopsize solicitations on FedBizOpps unless the requirement is funded by the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act.
- Schedule contracts have been awarded in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.
- Administrative time is reduced.
- Schedule contracts offer a wide selection of state-of-the-art commercial supplies and services.
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3. How are the procedures for ordering supplies under VA FSS schedule contracts different from the procedures for ordering services?
Although the Ordering Procedures for Supplies, and Services Not Requiring a Statement of Work (SOW) (FAR 8.405-1) differ from the Ordering Procedures for Services Requiring a Statement of Work (SOW) (FAR 8.405-2), both sets of procedures are designed to simplify the acquisition process.
- For orders of supplies and/or services at, or below, the $3,000 micro-purchase threshold: Place the order with any Schedule contractor that can meet the agency’s needs. Though not required to solicit from a specific number of Schedule contractors, ordering activities should attempt to distribute orders among contractors (FAR 8.405).
- For orders exceeding the $3,000 micro-purchase threshold, but not exceeding the maximum order threshold:
- Supplies, and Services Not Requiring an SOW: Survey at least three Schedule contractors through the GSA Advantage! online shopping service or review the catalogs or pricelists of at least three Schedule contractors and seek additional price reductions where appropriate; evaluate; and make a best value selection.
- Services Requiring an SOW: Prepare a Request for Quotation (RFQ) that includes the statement of work and the evaluation criteria; transmit the request to at least three Schedule contractors; evaluate responses; and make a best value selection.
NOTE: Each Schedule contract has a maximum order threshold, which will vary by special item number (SIN). The maximum order threshold represents the point where, given the dollar value of the potential order, the ordering activity shall seek a price reduction.
- For orders exceeding the maximum order threshold or when establishing a Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA):
- Services Not Requiring an SOW: Follow the same procedures for orders exceeding the micro-purchase threshold, except review additional Schedule contractors’ pricelists (the GSA Advantage! online shopping service may be used to facilitate this review); evaluate; seek price reductions; and make a best value selection.
- Services Requiring an SOW: Follow the same procedures for orders exceeding the micro-purchase threshold, except transmit the RFQ (including the statement of work and evaluation criteria) to additional Schedule contractors that offer services that will meet the needs of the ordering activity; evaluate responses (using the evaluation criteria provided in the RFQ); seek price reductions; and make a best value selection. When determining the appropriate number of additional Schedule contractors, the ordering activity may consider the complexity, scope, and estimated value of the requirement, and the market search results.
NOTE: Department of Defense (DoD) offices and non-DoD activities placing orders or establishing Blanket Purchase Agreements (BPAs) for supplies and services on behalf of DoD must comply with the additional requirements under Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) 208.405-70.
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4. What are the documentation requirements when placing orders against VA FSS contracts?
The documentation requirements for placing orders against VA FSS contracts are outlined in FAR 8.405-1(e) and 8.405-2(e). Documentation should contain the following basic information:
- For supplies, and services not requiring a statement of work:
- The Schedule contracts considered, noting the contractor from which the supply or service was purchased;
- A description of the supply or service purchased;
- The amount paid; and
- If applicable, the circumstances and rationale for limiting consideration of Schedule contractors to fewer than required in the Ordering Procedures for Supplies, and Services Not Requiring a Statement of Work (see FAR 8.405-6).
- For services that require a statement of work:
- The Schedule contracts considered, noting the contractor from which the service was purchased;
- A description of the service purchased;
- The amount paid;
- If applicable, the circumstances and rationale for limiting consideration of Schedule contractors to fewer than required in the Ordering Procedures for Services Requiring a Statement of Work (see FAR 8.405-6);
- 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); and
- If applicable, the rationale for using other than a firm-fixed price order or a performance-based order.
NOTE: When ordering supplies or services exceeding $100,000 using Department of Defense (DoD) funds, ordering activities shall follow the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS). The DFARS has been amended to implement Section 803 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2002 (Public Law 107-107) for the acquisition of services, and to establish similar policy for the acquisition of supplies. DoD offices and non-DoD activities placing orders on behalf of DoD, including orders under Blanket Purchase Agreements (BPAs), should refer to DFARS 208.405-70 for additional information regarding ordering procedures and documentation requirements.
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5. Can I use GSA Advantage! to order VA FSS contract supplies and services electronically?
The GSA Advantage! online shopping and ordering system includes supplies and services under all of the VA and General Services Administration (GSA) schedules. With over 12 million supplies and services currently available, electronic ordering through GSA Advantage! allows a customer to send an order directly to the schedule contractor, creating a direct customer-contractor relationship.
For services that require a statement of work (SOW), eBuy, a component of GSA Advantage!, provides a convenient way to publicize and disseminate the SOW and solicit quotations among VA and GSA contractors. Federal agencies (buyers) may generate purchase orders through eBuy using governmentwide commercial purchase cards, or they may create purchase orders separate from eBuy using their own internal systems. Additionally, orders generated using eBuy will be recorded in the buyer’s Advantage! order history.
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6. What is GSA eBuy?
eBuy is an online Request for Quotation (RFQ) tool designed to facilitate the request for submission of quotations for a wide range of commercial supplies and services offered by the VA and GSA schedule contractors who are on GSA Advantage!.
eBuy allows federal, state, and local government agencies (buyers) to maximize their buying power by leveraging the power of the internet to increase schedule contractor participation in order to obtain quotations that will result in a best value purchase decision. eBuy provides schedule contractors (sellers) with greater opportunities to offer quotations and increase business volume for supplies and services provided under their schedule contracts.
eBuy streamlines the buying process with point-and-click functionality by allowing RFQs and responses to be exchanged electronically between agencies and VA/GSA Schedule contractors. In short, eBuy provides both agencies and contractors with a tool that will result in savings of both time and money.
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7. Can items NOT on a VA or GSA Schedule contract be included on a task/delivery order?
Yes, under certain circumstances. Open market items are also known as incidental items, non-contract items, non-Schedule items, and items not on a VA/GSA Schedule contract. In accordance with FAR 8.402(f), for administrative convenience, an ordering activity Contracting Officer may add items not on a VA/GSA contract — i.e., open market items - to an individual task or delivery order or BPA only if:
- All applicable acquisition regulations pertaining to the purchase of the items/supplies not on the VA or GSA contract have been followed (e.g., publicizing (FAR Part 5), competition requirements (FAR Part 6), acquisition of commercial items (FAR Part 12), contracting methods (FAR Parts 13, 14, and 15), and small business programs (FAR Part 19).
- The ordering activity Contracting Officer has determined the prices for the items not available on a VA or GSA contract fair and reasonable.
- The items are clearly labeled on the order as items not on a VA or GSA contract.
- All clauses applicable to items not on a VA or GSA contract are included in the order.
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8. Can an agency use a Government credit card for payment?
Payment by a Government credit card is preferred and strongly encouraged. Please note that all VA FSS contractors are required to accept the Government’s credit card for orders equal to or below $3,000. In certain situations, some VA FSS contractors have been granted a credit card waiver. In order to determine if a VA FSS contractor accepts the Government’s credit card, please review the NAC Search Tool.
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9. Do ordering activities pay the Industrial Funding Fee (IFF) in addition to the price listed by the VA FSS contractor?
No. The IFF is already included in the net VA FSS price of an item/service.