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How do I add travel costs to a services task order?


This is a common question.  Here’s the version of this question from an actual Department of Defense Contract Specialist that inspired me to write this blog post:

I have a quick question for you about the best way to include a travel CLIN on a GSA order. I have frequently seen in our office the practice of including an ODC Travel CLIN on a cost-reimbursable basis; that is, the CLIN in the FFP contract is delineated as a cost-type CLIN, thus making it a hybrid FFP/Cost contract.  I understand the Schedules are for commercial items, and by definition do not allow for cost-type contracts or cost-type CLINs to be included in the order. So, my question is, what is your recommendation for the best way to include a travel CLIN if I truly cannot fix-price the travel?

Here’s the answer:

Travel on Schedules is not done as a cost-reimbursable basis.  Click here  for more discussion on why the cost reimbursable contract type does not apply to Schedules.

That being said (and with my explicit admission this may sound like splitting hairs), travel costs are handled instead as a "direct reimbursable" under our special ordering procedures.  They are handled this way specifically to avoid the hybrid contract scenario described in this question while at the same time making it easy to include travel costs as necessary to meet the requirements of a given acquisition situation.  When crafting your RFQ, you can certainly put travel in there as a fixed-price line item if you have some basis to set the price (e.g. $2,000 per trip based on historical amounts).  However, in the real world where airfare is a moving target and the contractors aren’t allowed to take advantage of the City Pair Program, most folks set travel up as a Not to Exceed (NTE) contract line item and pay the contractor’s actual expenses after reviewing receipts to ensure the claimed travel expenses are fair and reasonable.  I know, you want to know where it talks about travel in our basic Schedule contracts.  Well, to save you the trouble of looking it up for yourself, below are the applicable terms and conditions in each services contract we award:

From SCP-FSS-002

(9) Travel will be handled in accordance with clause C-FSS-370. Costs for transportation, lodging, meals and incidental expenses incurred by the contractor are allowable subject to the limitations contained in the Federal Travel Regulations and/or Joint Travel Regulations. They should not be included in the offered prices and will be considered at the task order level.

From C-FSS-370

(b) Travel: The Contractor may be required to travel in performance of orders issued under this contract. Allowable travel and per diem charges are governed by Pub .L. 99-234 and FAR Part 31, and are reimbursable by the ordering agency or can be priced as a fixed price item on orders placed under the Multiple Award Schedule. Travel in performance of a task order will only be reimbursable to the extent authorized by the ordering agency. The Industrial Funding Fee does NOT apply to travel and per diem charges.

Now I’m going to ask for your help.  Does anyone have a sample of where they have added travel to their task order as described in this post they would be willing to share?  It would be great to have some real samples for others to use as a starting point to build their CLIN structures.

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