MAIL BAG: CHARGING MORE THAN YOUR SCHEDULE ALLOWS CAN GET YOU IN TROUBLE
Long-time reader Richard Feder of Fort Lee, New Jersey writes: “My company is a new service Schedule contract holder. We have our Schedule labor rates, but we plan to charge extra for over-time, sick-leave, and people with special clearances. That’s ok, right?” Well, Mr. Feder, in a word, “no”. Schedule contractors cannot charge rates higher than those allowed by their contract. Unless you have negotiated special higher rates for things like over-time work or the services of people with advanced security clearances, you can’t just up-charge a federal agency when it is buying through your Schedule contract. That’s a violation of your contract terms and you can get in big trouble if you do it. Your company can certainly negotiate to have special labor rates to cover these circumstances added to your contract. Keep in mind, too, that your rates are “fully loaded” and should include things like paid vacation and sick leave. You can’t charge those rates on a Schedule project, however, unless they’re part of your Schedule contract. Otherwise, your firm must either charge the rates that are on your Schedule, or try to work with your customer to take the project off-Schedule and conduct the acquisition as an open-market procurement.