Disclosure: D&B is the parent company to AllBusiness.com. In writing this post I only relied on information that was publically available to me. I have chosen the topic because it affects any companies that are applying to have their products or services included in the Government Services Administration (GSA) supply schedule. No one from D&B or AllBusiness.com influenced my post in any way.
D&B provides a service called the Past Performance Evaluation service (PPE) that is required of all companies seeking to sell their products or services to the federal government using the GSA catalog for multi-award federal contracts. D&B contacts customers whose references you have given them and survey them to determine how well your company has performed in the past.
Federal contracting agents have access to this data to assist them in determining your capacity to perform on any potential contract awarded to you.
From having worked with companies that went through the GSA application process I learned a few things that can help you achieve the highest rating D&B gives a company.
- Applying for your PPE should be one of the first steps you take in applying to be included in the federal GSA catalog. The entire process to obtain your PPE report takes about 35 days.
- When you submit your references submit as many as you can not to exceed 20. Submitting more references to D&B can result in a high average rating. The minimum you may submit is 4, the maximum is 20.
- You will be providing D&B the reference company name, telephone number, address and email address of the reference giver.
- It is a good idea to contact the reference giver in advance so they may know to expect D&B’s email as well as so you can know how likely they are to give you a good supplier reference.
- D&B has a sample report where you can see the kind of information your references are going to provide on the survey D&B emails them.
- When you look at the sample report you may notice that your references are categorized by industry code. D&B uses these industry codes to compare your rankings to other companies in the same industry. For that reason, having a broad range of customer references is also valuable.
- The cost of the service is currently $185.00.
- Since the report shows how many surveys they received, having as many customer surveys as possible will increase the government contracting officer’s confidence in your ability to perform on any contract they might award you.
Applying to the GSA catalog is a time consuming process. The complexity of the process is significant enough to be a barrier to entry for companies that don’t want to put the time and effort into it. It would be a shame to spend all the manpower to complete all the steps and then not have good references from past customers, so make sure you take PPE step very seriously so you can maximize your chances of reaping the rewards of your hard work.
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