Blanket Purchase Agreements (BPAs)

What is a BPA?

A Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA) is a method of acquiring various goods and services from pre-approved vendors.

BPA is a basic agreement put in place once the government identifies items used on a repetitive basis.

  • BPAs are for anticipated requirements and use the terms and conditions of a vendors' existing GSA Schedule contracts (or other contracts).

BPAs are not considered binding contracts until orders are placed against them. Then, those orders become binding contracts.

Both agencies and vendors like BPAs - they help trim the red tape associated with repetitive purchasing and simplify the government purchasing process.

Once set up, repeat purchases are easy for both sides.

How Does a BPA Work?

The federal buyer places orders through the BPA over the course of the year.

A BPA between the government and a vendor allows purchasers authorized to use the BPA to place orders by telephone or in-person with simplified documentation.

  • BPAs are like "charge accounts" set up with trusted or qualified suppliers.
  • In most instances, the government has done business with your company, and government buyers know that you have reasonable prices and provide value. Usually, trust will have been established through a prior contract, and the prior contract can be used to establish the terms and conditions of the BPA.
  • The federal government also uses BPAs in conjunction with GSA Schedule contracts.

When Can BPAs Be Used?

The Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) states that BPAs are permitted when:

  • There is a wide variety of items in a broad class of supplies or services generally purchased. Still, the exact items, quantities, and delivery requirements are not known in advance and may vary considerably.
  • There is a need to provide commercial sources of supply for one or more offices or projects in a given area that do not require the authority to purchase otherwise.
  • The use of this procedure would avoid the writing of numerous purchase orders.
  • There is no existing requirements contract for the same supply or service that the contracting activity must use.

If a federal contracting officer decides that issuing a BPA is a good idea,  then they must do the following:

  1. Establish the parameters to limit purchases to individual items or commodity groups or classes, or permit the supplier to furnish unlimited supplies or services; and
  2. Consider suppliers whose past performance has shown them to be dependable, who offer quality supplies or services at consistently lower prices, and who have provided numerous purchases at or below the simplified acquisition threshold ($100,000).

Establishing BPAs

BPAs may be established with:

  • more than one supplier for supplies or services of the same type to provide maximum practicable competition;
  • a single firm from which numerous individual purchases at or below the simplified acquisition threshold will likely be made in a given period; or
  • GSA Federal Supply Schedule contractors.

Buyers prepare BPAs without a purchase requisition and only after contacting suppliers to make the necessary arrangements for:

  • Securing maximum discounts.
  • Documenting individual purchase transactions.
  • Periodic billings; and
  • Incorporating other necessary details.

Once a BPA is in place, buyers must still seek competition for purchases exceeding $2,500. Buyers can satisfy this requirement by contacting at least three vendors to obtain quotes.

Suppliers that are ideal for BPA purchasing have:

  • Dependable past performance,
  • A history of quality services and supplies at lower prices, and
  • Provided numerous purchases at or below the simplified acquisition threshold.

There are also GSA Schedule BPAs.

These differ from traditional BPA's and have become very popular.

Federal agencies can establish Blanket Purchasing Agreements (BPAs) under any GSA Schedule contract. A GSA Schedule BPA makes filling recurring needs for supplies or services simple while leveraging a customer's buying power by taking advantage of quantity discounts, saving administrative time, and reducing paperwork. In addition, the contractual terms and conditions contained in GSA Schedule contracts apply to GSA Schedule BPAs and therefore don't need to be renegotiated. This can eliminate contracting costs and the need to prepare and evaluate new solicitations. BPAs also:

  • Provide an opportunity for the government to negotiate improved discounts based on volume purchases
  • Reduce administrative efforts by eliminating repetitive, individual orders and payments
  • Enable an ordering activity to use streamlined ordering procedures
  • Permit an ordering activity to incorporate contractor teaming agreements
  • Allow for quicker turnarounds on orders

A BPA can be set up for field offices across the nation, allowing them to place orders directly with GSA Schedule contractors. In doing so, the entire agency reaps the benefits of additional discounts negotiated under the BPA. A multi-agency BPA is also permitted if the BPA identifies the participating agencies and their estimated requirements when the BPA is established.

GSA's Blanket Purchase Webpage answers a variety of questions regarding the use of BPAs.
A Sample GSA Blanket Purchase Agreement is included below. You can find other information related to the use of BPAs on the GSA website under:

  • Establishment of BPAs
  • Ordering From BPAs
  • BPA Documentation