Letter of Supply for Business with the Government

Business with the Government

A GSA Schedule Letter of Supply is a required document for resellers looking to do business with the government. In this article we explain in detail what a Letter of Supply is, whether it is  mandatory for a GSA contract holder, how to determine if your business needs it, and what the requirements are for obtaining one.

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What is the GSA Letter of Supply?

A Letter of Supply or a Letter of Commitment is a document that assures the government that certain products or supplies provided by a contractor will indeed be shipped in sufficient quantity for the entire duration of a GSA Schedule contract. Simply put, the government wants to be sure that it will receive what it pays for, without interruption and in sufficient quantity.

If you want to sell goods to the U.S. government, but your company does not manufacture those goods, a Letter of Supply is a must for you, just like it is a must for the majority of resellers. If you sell multiple products manufactured by different companies, you need a Letter of Supply from each one of them.

A GSA Letter of Supply template can be found on the GSA’s official website, the Available Offerings and Requirements section. Note that this is merely a placeholder, because the actual elements of the Letter of Supply vary and depend on the type of the product and SIN.

Why do you need a Letter of Supply and when?

Technically, the Letter of Supply is not mandatory. The government simply wants to be sure that in the end it receives quality products from a reseller. However, since the Letter of Supply is practically the only way to assure the government of it, one сan safely say that it is a must for every reseller who wants to offer their products to the government. Indeed, getting a GSA MAS offer approved by GSA is very unlikely without a proper Letter of Supply.

The Letter of Supply states and confirms the following:

  1. It authorizes you as an official reseller of the manufacturer. That is, it permits you to sell authorized products to the government on their behalf. Unauthorized products cannot be sold within the GSA Schedule contract.
  2. It provides evidence of an uninterrupted source of supply that is sufficient to fulfill the government requirements in terms of the GSA Schedule contract.
  3. Products supplied by the manufacturer are in compliance with the Trade Agreement Act (TAA).
  4. Price changes if any will be available to the contractor in a timely manner.
  5. Products supplied by the manufacturer are certified as safe for the environment, if certification is required for such products.

As to exactly when you will need a Letter of Supply to add products to your GSA Schedule contract; it must be obtained before you actually start selling anything. However, in 2021 the GSA has introduced some changes here to facilitate faster and simpler modifications to contracts.

Now, if a contractor offers Commercial Off-the-Shelf (COTS) products under the GSA Schedules Program, a Letter of Supply is no longer required if the manufacturer is using the GSA Verified Products Portal (VPP) for authorization. Put this simply, if your manufacturer’s product has already been awarded with a valid Letter of Supply, you don’t need to get or submit a new one.

GSA Letter of Supply Requirements

A GSA Letter of Supply has very few requirements to it. In fact, most of them are more of guidelines than rules or requirements.

The requirements include:

  • The Letter of Supply must be signed by both contractor and manufacturer and printed on the original manufacturer’s letterhead.
  • The Letter of Supply must not be dated older than one year, otherwise it won’t be accepted.
  • The Letter of Supply must not have an expiration date.
  • The Letter of Supply should mention either contract number or solicitation number. This makes the life of a Procurement Officer a little bit easier, and therefore helps you as a result.
  • The Letter of Supply must state that products are TAA compliant.
  • The Letter of Supply must disclose any restrictions a product or product category may have, or explicitly state that there are no such restrictions.
  • You must have a Letter of Supply for each manufacturer if there are more than one in your GSA MAS contract.

Conclusion

As you can see, a Letter of Supply bears no significant troubles for contract holders. However, it does require attention and diligence. In our experience, we’ve seen GSA contractors whose Letter of Supply submissions were declined due to incorrect contents, expiration or certain statements that do not comply with GSA requirements.

In order to avoid potential pitfalls while working with the government, we recommend all resellers holding a GSA contract or just pursuing one right now, to consult with a GSA expert agency. At Price Reporter, we have more than 12 years of experience in the government procurement field, so we can assist you in your attempt to establish business with the government.

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