If you’re a small business competing for federal contracts, your report card is critical: before a federal agency contracting officer (CO) considers doing business with you, he/she looks at your report card. No, not the one with comments from your English teacher about your studiousness (or lack thereof), but your federal report card.
That report card, known as CPAR (Contractor Performance Assessment Report) measures your company’s past performance on federal contracts. A CPAR is not required on every contract – generally, only on contracts over $100,000 – but the threshold varies for some services, such as ship repair ($500,000), Information Technology ($1 million), and a few other categories.
The CPAR on your contract can lag well behind the contract itself, since the CPAR is not required until at least 12 months after the contract was awarded. However, it will be done: FAR (Federal Acquisition Regulations) 9-105.2(i) require the agency CO to complete a CPAR for any contract above the threshold amount.
What does the CPAR list? Your company’s overall effort on the contract and whether your company met key milestones listed in the contract, as well as grades for specific tasks and functions within that contract. Was company management responsive to the agency? Were subcontractors well managed? Were costs forecast and managed accurately (not applicable for firm-fixed-price or firm-fixed-price with economic price adjustment contracts)? Did the quality of your products or services meet/exceed the contract? In short, almost anything a CO who was about to award you a contract would want to know about your performance on previous contracts is on your CPAR.
The good news is that you can see what COs have said about your company and add your own comments and explanations. To do so, you must first enter a Marketing Partner Identification Number (MPIN) in your profile in the Central Contractor Registration (CCR) system (http://www.ccr.gov/). If your company is already registered in CCR, you’ll be asked for your DUNS number (from Dun & Bradstreet) and Transaction Partner Identification Number (TPIN) when you update your contractor profile to include the past performance point of contact and MPIN. With that information, visit http://www.ppirs.gov/ to login and see your company’s information. (If you’ve developed a good relationship with your CO during the life of a contract, and even communicated about what he/she plans to put on the CPAR, there shouldn’t be any surprises.)
Note that a less than stellar CPAR on a contract won’t necessarily preclude your company from winning future contracts; nor will a 100% positive CPAR guarantee you’ll win the next one. But, like a positive comment from that English teacher, it couldn’t hurt.