It is very important that federal contractors, especially those new to federal contracting, understand that only contracting officials (KO) can modify an existing contract. That means that only they can:
• Change the scope of the work (approve additional or new work)
• Change due dates or formats for deliverables
• Authorize additional payments
• Change the FAR clauses that are part of your contract (add or delete)
• Change how you must invoice for payment
• ANYTHING TO DO WITH YOUR CONTRACT!
The point is that your “customer/client/PM” can’t do any of the above without going through the KO. Where businesses get in trouble is usually getting caught between wanting to provide outstanding customer service (the “rock”) and the actual scope of work in the contract (the “hard place”). It is great to expand existing work on a contract but you also want to get paid for doing that work. If you do work without the proper KO authorization the government is not obligated to pay you.
So what should you do? If your customer wants to expand your work:
• First, tell the customer that you are more than willing to do the work on the third floor and ask her to contact the KO responsible for your contract to request a modification.
• Send an email to your customer verifying the conversation and the details of the proposed additional work.
• Send an email to the KO to give them a “heads up” that the government customer should be contacting them to modify the contract for additional work.
• The KO may require that you submit a price quote for the new work. If so, respond quickly.
• When the KO issues the modification, acknowledge it and start working.
All communications should be in writing and/or verified in writing by email.