If you are a supplier who wants to add the federal government to your list of clients, you may want to put out a standing offer to secure repeat business. A standing offer is an offer from a potential supplier to provide specified goods or services at a stated price and under certain conditions when and if needed.
A standing offer is not a contract and does not create an obligation for the government to buy anything. If the government wants to make a purchase of a standing offer, it issues a "call-up," or "calls up" the offer, at which point it accepts the offer. Once the offer is accepted, it is an agreement that either side can legally enforce.
Issuing a standing offer is a good way to get the government interested in doing business with you. When the government calls up your offer, you deal directly with the agency or department that needs your goods. They reorder what they need more often, and there is less paperwork and administrative expense for you and the government, saving you and the taxpayers money.
Standing offers work best for goods that departments or agencies need on a recurring basis and items the government reorders frequently, or when the government has a need for goods, but isn’t sure how much to order or wants to wait until a certain date before ordering. Items that are reordered frequently include office supplies, truck tires, laser printer toner cartridges, and blank ID badges. An example of an item the government might need but might not know a quantity or delivery date is sandbags.
Keep in mind, there are additional rules and regulations that each agency and department must follow, such as financial limits on orders, and you may have to comply with regulations such as employment equity rules to be eligible to become a supplier to the government.