GSA eBuy Tips
First What Is GSA eBuy?
GSA eBuy is an online Request for Quotation (RFQ) tool designed to facilitate the request for submission of quotations for the wide range of supplies and services listed on GSA Advantage. (A requirement for being on GSA Advantage is that the firm must have a GSA Schedule.) FAR (Federal Acquisitions Regulation) requires that for procurements over $250,000 a formalized bid process be used. In addition, when a Contracting Officer would like additional information because it is unclear to them which product or service to select and therefore would like to gain an understanding of available options in the marketplace GSA eBuy can be utilized.
How GSA eBuy Works
A Contracting Officer utilizing E-buy will select from the available sellers of the products or services they are interested in procuring. They will then send these buyers an email notification of the request on the GSA eBuy website bulletin board. This request is usually sent to a small number of GSA Contract holders, a most likely number would be around seven GSA Contract Holders.
Example: A schedule has 400 contract holders. The contracting officer conducts some market research and sends out notifications to seven vendors they think have a good chance at providing a solution. The solicitation will also be posted on the GSA eBuy bulletin board. This gives the other 400 schedule holders the ability to view the notification as well, even though they were not initially invited.
The contracting officer’s goal is to obtain a minimum of three quotes from schedule holders. This is important because otherwise the contracting officer will not fulfill their FAR requirements and will not be permitted to award the contract.
Note: The non-invited bidders can still bid because according to FAR the contracting officer is still required to review all bids submitted. This FAR requirement is the fundamental reason the contracting officer does not request quotes from all 400 GSA schedule holders. It would just create a massive administrative burden on the contracting officer if all schedule holders submitted a bid. The Contracting Officer is weighing the amount of time they will be required to spend evaluating the bids with the gain of potentially getting a slightly lower price.
The average number of proposals received for an eBuy RFQ is seven which provides for an average of four responses from Vendors.
How To Win the GSA eBuy Bid?
This is very easy to do with an internet type online bidding system such as E-buy to drop your proposal and forget about it. Any connection you can make with the contracting officer is of value since people buy from people, not bulletin boards.
GSA eBuy can be a great way to break into selling to a new agency and is regarded as an effective way of doing so, so keep watching that bulletin board for procurements that your firm has the capability to bid on!