Tuesday, February 02, 2010

FARS Part 8: Mandatory Sources Rules That Mean Business

Who Ya GOTTA Call?
Quick question: which FAR would let a government buyer call Ghostbusters? (Answer at the bottom....) And why do you care?  Meet FARS Part 8.

Reason One: Because it's great to be a mandatory source -- if you know the rules that say when government MUST buy from you.The best known mandatory sources are General Services Administration Schedule Contracts.  FARS SubPart 8.4 gives you the details on how government uses these popular contracts, including valuable info on Blanket Purchase Agreements.

Reason Two: But wait! Even if you have a GSA Schedule, did you know which mandatory sources are in line ahead of you?  

Reason Three: Other special rules might apply to you. You need to know how they work if you want to win. A client of mine in the printing industry had been providing millions of dollars worth of printing services through contracts administered by the Government Printing Office (GPO). She asked for my help exploring sources of new government business, because she wondered if she could offer a better deal directly than the prices her clients paid through GPO. FARS SubPart 8.8 specified GPO as a mandatory source, but says there can be exceptions, if the government buyer's needs can't be met by GPO.  So I called GPO's legal counsel to ask how one went about getting exceptions.

Um, well, don't bother trying, was the basic answer. He couldn't remember the last time they'd granted an exception. But knowing the rule to look for meant I could have an intelligent conversation with the person in charge of the rules and get good guidance.

Oh, if you gotta call Ghostbusters, better look up FARS Subpart 8.002 (b).

Sources other than those listed in paragraph (a) of this section may be used as prescribed in 41 CFR 101-26.301 and in an unusual and compelling urgency as prescribed in 6.302-2 and in 41 CFR 101-25.101-5.

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