Simplified Acquisition Procedures - The Purchasing Tool for Small Business

By Greg Faulkner, Director,
Illinois Procurement Technical Assistance Center

Every year the federal government works through its various agencies to promote the use of small businesses by establishing a goal of 23% of all prime contracts awarded to small businesses. The SBA’s definition of a small business varies based on industry but typically is fewer than 500 employees or less than $5,000,000 in revenue.  The 23% goal is supported in part by Federal Acquisition Regulation 13.009 which spells-out the government’s policy for using the Simplified Acquisition Procedures (SAPs) for purchases under $150,000. 

Simplified Acquisition Procedures (SAPs) require that all purchases between $3,000 and $150,000 are set-aside for small business to the maximum extent practicable.  Contracts of $150,000 to $500,000 can be set aside for small businesses if there are enough businesses to support competition.  Contracts over $500,000 are required to include a small business subcontracting plan to ensure small businesses are being served on larger contracts.

The SAPs are contracting methods designed to speed up the purchasing and payment process for goods and services needed by the government.  It also helps to reduce paperwork, labor hours, and administrative costs for business and government alike.  Most of these small purchases are done under a Government-Wide Purchase Card, Purchase Order or Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA).

The Government-Wide Purchase Card is a Visa card.  Vendors who are Visa capable are preferred suppliers.  A small business benefits by typically receiving payment within 24 hours.  They avoid the usual process of invoicing and waiting 30 days or more for payment.

The Purchase Order is an offer by the government to buy supplies or services at the stated price.  An order is generated with specific terms and conditions, which the business owner agrees to meet upon signing or performing on the order.

The Blanket Purchase Agreement is a simplified method of obtaining anticipated repetitive supplies by establishing a charge account with a business.  Orders are placed through “calls” to the business according the BPA and are filled and shipped to the contracting agency.

Small businesses looking to take advantage of these opportunities to sell to the government can find leads through www.fbo.gov.  The fbo.gov website has a tab at the top titled “Getting Started”.  If you have not used www.fbo.gov, it is best to look at the user guide and demonstration videos.  If you need assistance, contact the PTAC at Bradley’s Turner Center at 309-677-3297.