The General Services Administration’s schedules program brings in more than $38 billion in revenue each year.
It’s one of the most well-known acquisition programs in the country with a reach across more than 100 agencies, state and local governments and the private sector companies. If a company wants to play in the federal market, usually their first step is to get on the schedule.
This is why recent actions by some GSA contracting officers trying to drive down prices, particularly for services, that some say to an unreasonable level is causing so much concern and eliciting words like “bullying” and “holding hostage” from those vendors facing this pressure that has re-emerged over the last four to six months.
Multiple vendors as well as consultants, lawyers and a major GSA-focused trade association representing hundreds of schedule holders say the pendulum has swung too far in how the Federal Acquisition Service is requiring vendors to renegotiate prices, with some being reduced by as much as 40%.
“We are getting our next five years on the schedule and [were] just finishing our 10 year[s] in total. In our entire time on the schedule, we’ve never gotten an economic price adjustment so we have not increased our rates since 2009 or 2010. GSA deemed our rates fair and reasonable at the time,” said one vendor executive, who requested anonymity for fear of reprisal. “When we recently went to modify our schedule contract, the GSA contracting officer said our prices were no longer fair and reasonable and asked us to reduce five of our rates. That just shocked us. We have multiple blanket purchase agreements and other contracts against these rates so for us to back track was unthinkable.”