How Multiple Award Works

Multiple Award Schedules (MAS), also known as Multiple Award Contracts (MACs), is a process that awards contracts to several entities from a single solicitation. These contracts are indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contracts, meaning the contractor provides an indefinite amount of services for a fixed time. The General Services Administration (GSA) uses IDIQ contracts when they cannot determine the precise quantities a government agency will need.

The GSA gives long-term governmentwide MAS contracts to commercial firms. Awarded businesses and organizations are confirmed to have the basic qualifications to provide a specific type of service or product. They must also be financially stable, compliant with the Trade Agreement Act (TAA), and in business for at least two years.

These contracts give local, state, and federal government buyers access to millions of products and services at volume discount pricing. By limiting the number of bids a government agency receives and consolidating schedule categories to 12, the GSA has simplified the federal procurement process. It is easier for federal buyers to find a complete solution by searching through one schedule category.

Example of Multiple Awards

For a GSA Multiple Award Schedule (MAS), awards are made to a select number of contractors with an approved vendor price list. These winning contractors then compete for business with each other. Task Orders or Requests for Quotes (RFQs) are given to one or more contractors to meet specific agency requirements. The minimum number of bids requested is commonly three.

Contractors can upload product photos and descriptions onto the "GSA Advantage!" online shopping tool to market their products and services. They can also use keyword features to help government agencies optimize search results. The approved price list includes a pre-negotiated ceiling rate for the period of the contract.

Businesses and organizations are awarded an initial contract of five years with three additional five-year option periods. This 20-year potential contract creates a long-term partnership with federal agencies.

Significance of Multiple Awards

The General Services Administration (GSA) administers the Multiple Award Schedules (MAS) according to section 201 of the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949, as amended. In 2020, the GSA consolidated the 24 legacy Schedules into 12 large categories.

The Multiple Award Schedules (MAS) make it more efficient to sell and purchase products and services at competitive prices. MAS is a streamlined competition process that reduces the time and resources local, state, and federal governments need for procurement.

In contrast, an open competition process can lead to over 20 contractors submitting bids making the procurement process time-intensive. Therefore with government budget cuts and less staff available, MAS ensures the procurement system can still run effectively.

MAS also makes it easier for businesses and organizations to expand sales within the public sector. With the consolidation of categories to 12, contractors for the General Services Administration (GSA) don't have to prepare separate offers to provide goods or services previously located under multiple schedules. It is also beneficial to advertise on your website if you are a GSA contractor.

Types of Multiple Awards

The federal government organizes Multiple Award Schedules (MAS) into large categories, subcategories, and Special Item Numbers (SIN). There are a total of 12 large categories. Each large category has subcategories, and each subcategory has multiple SINs.

The 12 large categories are the following:

  • Office management
  • Facilities
  • Furniture and furnishings
  • Human capital
  • Industrial products and services
  • Information technology
  • Miscellaneous
  • Professional services
  • Scientific management and solutions
  • Security and protection
  • Transportation and logistics services
  • Travel

Examples of subcategories within the miscellaneous large category are apparel, flags, musical instruments, and personal care. It also covers any support services or supplies required to carry out individual tasks or delivery orders.