Part II: Purchasing Practices

Commonly-used office supplies, office furniture and furnishings and office machines are usually obtained from mandatory sources or through Federal Supply Schedule Contract sources, as appropriate. Other purchases may be made by placing an order through the use of a government purchase card for micro-purchases, issuing a purchase order under simplified acquisition procedures, or award of a formal contract pursuant to sealed bidding or negotiation procedures.

After the consideration of required sources (see FAR Part 8), the contracting officer is faced with a major choice: the use of a pre-existing contract vehicle or open market procedures. One widely used pre-existing contract vehicle is the GSA Federal Supply Schedule. Here is a diagram of the major choice (please note that both choices have small business opportunities):

Pre-existing contract vehicle OR Open market procurement

For example, the contracting officer may consider the GSA Federal Supply Schedule to meet the requirement by placing a task or delivery order against a GSA schedule contract; in order to be small business friendly, we consider small businesses of all types that are on the GSA Schedule. This same approach may also be used for other pre-existing vehicles such as Treasury wide or Government wide contracts.

Therefore, in this example, if the products or services that your firms provide is available via the GSA Federal Supply Schedule, please consider contacting GSA to learn how to become a schedule holder.

At this point, the contracting officer follows the procedures at FAR 19 (there is no order of precedence for set-asides):

1) Small Business Set-Aside;

2) HUBZone Set-Aside;

3) Service Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Set-Aside;

4) Women Owned Small Business or Economically Disadvantaged Women Owned Small Business Set-Aside;

5) 8(a); and

6) Full and Open Competition.