The Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act (FASA) of 1994 is intended to simplify
government buying procedures. It removed many competition restrictions on
government purchases of less than $100,000. Instead of full and open
competition, agencies can now use simplified procedures for soliciting and
evaluating bids up to $100,000. Government agencies, however, are still
required to advertise all planned purchases over $25,000 in thousands
Simplified procedures require fewer administrative details, lower approval
levels, and less documentation. New procurement reform legislation requires all
federal purchases above $2,500 but under $100,000 to be reserved for small
businesses, unless the contracting officer cannot obtain offers from two or
more small businesses that are competitive on price, quality and delivery.
Government purchases of up to $2,500 in individual items or multiple items whose
aggregate amount does not exceed $2,500 are now classified as "micro-purchases"
and can be made without obtaining competitive quotes. However, these purchases
are no longer reserved for small businesses. Agencies can make micro-purchases
using a Government Purchase Card (typical credit card).
Sealed bidding is how the government contracts competitively when its
requirements are clear, accurate and complete. An Invitation For Bid (IFB) is
the method used for the sealed bid process. Typically, an IFB includes a
description of the product or service to be acquired, instructions for
preparing a bid, the conditions for purchase, packaging, delivery, shipping and
payment, contract clauses to be included and the deadline for submitting bids.
Each sealed bid is opened in public at the purchasing office at the time
designated in the invitation. All bids are read aloud and recorded. A contract
is then awarded by the agency to the low bidder who is determined to be
responsive to the government's needs.
Contracting officials search the Find RFP database to identify qualified small
business contractors. Therefore, any small business that wants to sell to the
government should be registered on Find RFP
In certain cases, when the value of a government contract exceeds $100,000 and
when it necessitates a highly technical product or service, the government may
issue a Request for Proposal (RFP). In a typical RFP, the government will
request a product or service it needs, and solicit proposals from prospective
contractors on how they intend to carry out that request, and at what price.
Proposals in response to an RFP can be subject to negotiation after they have
When the government is merely checking into the possibility of acquiring a
product or service, it may issue a Request for Quotation (RFQ). A response to
an RFQ by a prospective contractor is not considered an offer, and
consequently, cannot be accepted by the government to form a binding contract.
The order is an offer by the government to the supplier to buy certain supplies
or services upon specified terms and conditions. A contract is established when
a supplier accepts the offer.
Government-wide RFPs and RFQs are available daily for review at
www.findrfp.comThis electronic government service also provides a
direct link to the request. In most instances, the government uses oral
solicitations for purchases less than $25,000, written solicitations for
purchases over $25,000, and purchase cards to obtain micro-purchases less than
One of the most significant changes government acquisition reform is the
increased importance of "best value." Best value means that, rather than making
awards to the lowest bidder as it generally did in the past, the government can
now make awards for the item that best satisfies its needs at a slightly higher
price. If purchasers are going to make an award based on best value, they must
state their intent in the solicitation document and include a description of
the evaluation criteria, award factors, and factors other than the price that
will be considered in making a contract award.