Someone just purchased stuff from you using a “GPC” from the government?

Upfront:  The federal government has two ways of doing business:  the “Government Purchase Card” (GPC) and contracts.

The GPC is for a streamlined way of buying small stuff and services that are immediately needed such as meals for Soldiers.

Contracts larger ongoing requirements such as lawn maintenance or expensive items such as computer networking equipment.

So What? One of the rules with the GPC is that one merchant cannot be preferred, and purchases must be spread out among competitors.  So if you are a restaurant who provided impeccable service to a military unit, that doesn’t mean you automatically get the next gig.  The excellent service may only keep you available for future business when it is your turn again.

Another rule is that the GPC cannot be used for ongoing requirements.  If something is constantly needed, at predictable times, then a contract must be used.

This rule of avoiding repetitively choosing the same vendor is to ensure fairness, but also is to avoid the appearance of the cardholder profiting from government business.  Rewards, gifts, and prizes are also (generally) not allowed.  If any rebates or refunds are provided, the check must be made payable to the U.S. Treasury.

Bottom Line: If you want more business with the government than an occasional purchase of less than $3500, then seek out bidding on contract solicitations.  Trying to gain repeat GPC business only puts the cardholder in an awkward position, and might be required to report the awkwardness.  (Or, else is breaking the law.)

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