(updated: Aug. 7, 2013) On July 1, GSA launched its own reverse auction site that Federal Buyers can use to obtain non-complex products and simple services.  On GSA’s reverse auction sites, competing vendors bid down their prices until the auction ends and the award is made to the lowest-priced bidder. GSA has approved the following schedules to be auctioned through the new site:

Approved GSA Schedules:

Schedule 23 VAutomotive Superstore
Schedule 48Transportation, Delivery And Relocation Solutions
Schedule 51 VHardware Superstore
Schedule 56Buildings and Building Material / Industrial Services and Supplies
Schedule 58 IProfessional Audio / Video Telemetry / Tracking, Recording / Reproducing and Signal Data Solutions
Schedule 66Scientific Equipment and Services
Schedule 67Photographic Equipment: Cameras, Photographic Printers and Related Supplies and Services (Digital and Film-Based)
Schedule 70General Purpose Commercial Information Technology Equipment, Software, and Services
Schedule 71Furniture
Schedule 73Food Service, Hospitality, Cleaning Equipment And Supplies, Chemicals and Services
Schedule 75Office Products/Supplies and Services and New Products/Technology
Schedule 78Sports, Promotional, Outdoor, Recreation, Trophies and Signs (Sports)
Schedule 81 IBShipping, Packaging And Packing Supplies
Schedule 84Total Solutions for Law Enforcement, Security, Facilities Management, Fire, Rescue, Clothing, Marine Craft And Emergency/Disaster Response
Schedule 599Travel Services Solutions

Approved VA Schedules

Schedule 65 I BPharmaceuticals and Drugs
Schedule 65 II AMedical Equipment and Supplies
Schedule 65 II CDental Equipment and Supplies
Schedule 65 II FPatient Mobility Devices)
Schedule 65 V AX-ray Equipment and Supplies – Includes medical and dental x-ray film
Schedule 65 VIIIn Vitro Diagnostics, Reagents, Test Kits and Test Sets

GSA’s reverse auction site is similar to the current, commercially run reverse auction website,  Although there is no “upfront” cost, Fed Bid tacks on a transactional fee to each order. GSA does not plan on charging a fee for its reverse auction site. This may persuade Government buyers to use its site rather than Fed Bid.

Accessing the GSA Reverse Auction Site

You will use your eBuy log-in and password to access GSA’s reverse auction site. Although the website launched on July 1, the system is still working out kinks regarding login. GSA offers a comprehensive vendor’s guide and the site appears easy to navigate. When you log into the system, you will first access your User Dashboard that gives you quick references to your pending auctions, your awards, and any system or buyer messages. Please note that Reverse Auction does not currently have a “no bid” function so an open bid will remain on your dashboard until the auction ends.

Submitting your Bid

Although it is recommended that buyers keep an auction active for 3 to 5 days to allow various vendors to submit their bids, the amount of time is completely dependent on the buyer’s need and may be as little as 24 hours. It is recommended that you visit GSA’s Reverse Auction site often because of the short time frame some auctions may be active.  Reverse Auction does have proxy bidding capabilities where you can set a minimum bid price and the system will automatically reduce your bid by the Government’s set decrements. Also, depending on the Contracting Officer’s preference you can either bid on one part of an open auction or the entire auction. At this time however, Open Market Items are not allowed. Once the bid is closed you can view the lowest priced bid that won the auction but the name of the Vendor who won the auction will remain anonymous. There is currently not a way to cancel a submitted bid through the system- if you need to cancel a bid, you will have to call the Contracting Officer directly.

Does GSA’s Reverse Auction Fit your Strategy?

Although the use of reverse auctions for Government purchases has passionate defenders and critics, it is still an additional channel for selling your products, but must be approached carefully. Critics say there are too many variables in reverse auctions and, unless you can live with very thin margins, it may not be worth pursuing a bid. On the other hand, some people enjoy the streamlined acquisition process that reverse auction sites offer.  Let us know what you think.

We encourage you to log in, navigate GSA’s Reverse Auction site, and familiarize yourself so that you can determine whether or not reverse auctions fit your marketing strategy.

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