Office of Procurement, Acquisition and Logistics (OPAL)
Getting on Schedule
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Now that you’ve decided that a VA FSS contract is in your firm’s best interest you are ready to prepare an offer in response to a VA Schedules solicitation. This page will walk you through what to expect when submitting an offer.
Completing the Solicitation Package
Once you have selected the appropriate Schedule program for your products/services, it is important that you read through the entire solicitation package and understand all of the solicitation requirements. Note that you can download a complete zip file of all the required documentation for each solicitation package from FedBizOpps.
Incomplete or incorrect submissions will be returned to you, which will greatly lengthen the processing time of your proposal.
While not all firms are awarded VA FSS contracts, the VA FSS program, in accordance with statutory authority, is open to all responsible offerors. To be considered for contract award, you must demonstrate that your firm is responsible and is able to meet all Schedule program requirements, including price.
Completing the Solicitation
Some basic guidelines for submitting a successful proposal include:
- Thoroughly review the “Read Me First” and solicitation documents and follow all instructions. Not sure how to complete the Vendor Response and CSP sections? Take a look at our Prospective Contractors Solicitation Assistance section of our Training web page for step-by-step instructions on preparing your proposal
- Submit a Pathways to Success completion certificate. The certificate holder for this online course must be both an officer of the company listed on the Signatory Authority Form as well as an Authorized Negotiator listed in Document 04 — Vendor Response Document. For more information on this course, see Document 01 — Read Me First.
- Submit the requested information on required forms and in a readable format (typed proposals are preferred).
- Submit a signed Standard Form 1449 (SF-1449). Only an authorized signatory of the company should sign the form. Please note that the Signatory Authority Form and SF1449 signature date must be no later than 10 calendar days from submission of the proposal via the eOffer e-mail process. Failure to comply with this date restriction will result in your proposal being returned to you without further consideration.
- Submit pricing that will be held firm for 180 days from offer submission. Per solicitation clause A-FSS-12-C Period for Acceptance of Offers, the offeror is required “to hold the prices in its offer firm for 180 calendar days from the date of the offer, within which the offer may be accepted.” Therefore, it is imperative that offers be submitted timely (within 10 calendar days, as stated above) after the SF1449 and Signatory Authority Form are signed.
- Submit a complete Commercial Sales Practice Format (CSP-1), including detailed responses and justifications where necessary. Additionally, please provide the date range of the transactional data used in preparing the disclosure of MFC pricing, TC pricing, and Figure 515.4-2 data in the Document 06 Excel spreadsheet. Per the instructions at CSP-1, the data provided must be current, accurate, and complete as of 60 calendar days prior to its submission.
- Submit two dated copies of the commercial pricelist(s), or other pricing documentation.
All proposed products and services must be within the scope of the solicitation. Be sure that your pricing is competitive with other similar products/services already on Schedule and be prepared to negotiate your best offer for the Government.
Elements of a Successful Offer
Ensuring these key elements are included in your proposal may expedite the review and award process:
- Scope. Are the supplies/services within the scope of the Schedule?
- Past Performance. Does your firm meet its commitments?
- Financial Capability. Is your firm financially sound?
- Pricing. Is your proposed pricing competitive with current market conditions? Is your firm ready to negotiate its best offer for the Government?
- Subcontracting Plan. Required if your firm is considered “other than a small business” and the estimated value of the contract exceeds $650,000. See the Business Size Determination page for more information.
- Other Regulatory Compliance. Is your firm debarred? Are all registration requirements complete? Are your proposed items manufactured in a Designated Country? See the Compliance Requirements page for a complete list of all required registrations.
- Pricing Analysis & Review of Terms. Are your proposed prices fair and reasonable? Did you submit data that supports and explains your pricing practices?
Contact the FSS Help Desk for additional information on submitting a proposal or on the VA FSS review and award process!
You can also contact your local Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC). The PTAC offers a wide range of assistance — most free of charge — through one-on-one counseling, classes, seminars, and matchmaking events.
Proposal Review & Award Process
The goal of this review process is to ensure the vendor is responsible, the Government is receiving a fair and reasonable price, and that any potential contract award is in the best interest of the Government.
Review Process Time
Refer to the Contractor - Workload Expectations; Procurement Action Lead Time (PALT) and Priorities Frequently Asked Questions page. Requests under the 65 I B program will be processed within 180 days of receipt and assignment to your contract specialist of record. A complete and accurate offer will help speed the process – many offers are returned to the vendor for correction or clarification. To further discuss the review process or estimated review time, please contact your assigned contract specialist or the FSS Help Desk.
Generally, the review time for proposals that must be reviewed by the VA Office of the Inspector General (OIG) exceeds 180 days. Visit the OIG Threshold page to see if your proposal meets the requirements for an OIG review.
Negotiation & Contract Award
Once the assigned contract specialist completes their review of the offer, if necessary, they will schedule a meeting with you to discuss terms and negotiate pricing. The Government’s negotiation objective is to establish pricing, terms, and conditions that are equal to or better than those received by your Most Favored Customer (MFC). The MFC is the customer(s), or class of customer(s), that receive(s) the best discount and/or price agreement on a given item from a supplier, regardless of terms and conditions; it is a required disclosure.
After negotiations, the CS will request your Final Proposal Revision (FPR) and prepare a final version of your offer for review. This final version will include all negotiated pricing discounts, terms, and conditions.
If an offer fails to meet the evaluation criteria, or the CS determines the pricing, terms, and/or conditions are not fair and reasonable, it may be rejected. If an offer is rejected, you will receive notice from the CS identifying the deficiencies. Depending upon the circumstances for the rejection, you may alter and re-submit your offer based on the feedback received in this notice.
If the offer is accepted, you will receive a VA Schedule contract and will be eligible to start doing business with the Government through the Schedules program.
Manage and Market
Being awarded a VA Schedule contract can bring great opportunity for company growth and expansion; however, this does not come without important contract obligations and responsibilities as well as a concerted effort to market your business to the federal marketplace. Newly awarded contractors are encouraged to learn more by visiting the Managing Your VA FSS Contract and Marketing to the Federal Government pages.
Contact the VA FSS Help Desk to for additional information on the proposal submission process or the proposal review/award processes!