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Decoding Your GSA Contract Number

If you’ve ever heard someone rattle off a GSA Schedule Contract number quickly, you may question if the numbers and letters reference a government contract or a football play. It may seem that a random generator churns out these contract award numbers, however there is a method to the madness.  Let’s break down what each part means.

First, the format of your GSA Schedule Contract number depends on when the contract was awarded. Existing GSA contractors who obtained a new GSA Schedule Contract this past year may have been surprised to see their contract award number. That’s because, after nearly two decades, GSA changed the format of contract numbers to comply with new Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) rules.

GSA Schedule Contracts Awarded Before 10/01/2017

GSA Schedule Contracts awarded prior to fiscal year 2018 have a distinguishable format – GS**F*****. GSA made a minor change to the format starting in fiscal year 2013. The agency had been assigning each fiscal year a letter starting with “A”. Some letters (I, O, Q, Z) were skipped. After reaching the end of the alphabet in fiscal year 2012, GSA began assigning two characters to each fiscal year, changing the number of characters allotted to the contract number from four to three.

GSA Schedule Contracts awarded in or prior to fiscal year 2017 consist of 10 characters from 5 elements, listed below.

  1. Agency
  2. Regional Code
  3. Service/Office Code
  4. Contract Number
  5. Fiscal Year Awarded

GSA Schedule Contracts Awarded After 09/30/2017

In 2014, the FAR was amended to establish a standardized format for Procurement Instrument Identifiers (PIIDs). PIIDs are unique numbers used to identify federal contracts, agreements, and orders. GSA Schedule Contract award numbers transitioned to the new FAR required format when the rule went into effect on October 1, 2017. Today, GSA Schedule Contract award numbers consist of 13 characters and the 6 different elements detailed below.

  1. Funding Agency Code
  2. Awarding Organization Code
  3. Organization Office Code
  4. Fiscal Year Awarded
  5. Type of “Instrument” (e.g. BPA, Task Order, IDIQ, RFQ, or RFP)
  6. Number Unique to Your Contract Award
anatomy of a GSA Contract Number