Potential Distributor FAQ
Do I need to be authorized before distributing AbilityOne® products?
Yes, any firm wishing to distribute AbilityOne products must be authorized first.
How do I become an authorized AbilityOne distributor?
You should first obtain and review the criteria for authorization available on the Potential Distributor page of this website. Then, fill out the application (also located on the Potential Distributor page) and submit it to the Commission staff. Vendors are not automatically authorized when they submit an application. Vendors will be notified in writing when their authorization is final, and should not advertise themselves as AbilityOne-authorized or pending prior to the Commission's notification.
How long does it take to become authorized?
It depends on several factors, including how complete your application is, whether or not you currently have government contracts or significant government business, and how long it takes your firm to implement an effective blocking system, etc.
Is there a cost or fee to become an authorized AbilityOne distributor?
The Commission does not charge any fee for authorization. The only costs involved would be any necessary programming to add AbilityOne items and cross-reference files to a distributor's order-taking system, and any desired marketing literature or efforts.
Once I am authorized, am I authorized indefinitely?
Authorizations are typically effective for one year at which time they may be renewed at the discretion of the AbilityOne Program or the authorized firm.
Once I am authorized, how do I obtain AbilityOne products?
AbilityOne office products must be obtained from an authorized wholesaler. AbilityOne hardware/industrial products must be purchased and brought into stock. The Commission staff will work with you in this process to discuss product mixes and recommended ordering levels.
How will becoming an authorized AbilityOne distributor benefit my firm?
Federal personnel are required to purchase AbilityOne products. As a result, you are more likely to secure Federal business if you are able to supply AbilityOne products. In addition, becoming AbilityOne authorized fits nicely into Supplier Diversity programs.
Would I be responsible for distributing every item on the Procurement List to Federal customers?
No, the Commission would work with you to determine which products fit into your current product line and are appropriate for you to carry. Within the office products and hardware/industrial products categories, the Commission has established a required list of items that all commercial distributors must make available.
Can AbilityOne products be sold to commercial entities?
The vast majority of AbilityOne products on the required list can be sold to commercial entities. There are several items that are on our "restricted items list" that can only be sold to Federal personnel. Upon authorization, you will be provided the restricted list and asked to confirm that such items will not be sold outside your government accounts.
Do you authorize every firm that applies?
No, due to limited resources, we must prioritize authorizations for firms that have an existing government single-award or multiple-award contract for like items.
How can authorized AbilityOne distributors participate in Federal electronic commerce?
Any authorized AbilityOne distributor that has a GSA Multiple Award Schedule contract will have the opportunity to post their products in the GSA Advantage! website. Additionally, Department of Defense contractors may load their items on the DoD Electronic Mall (EMALL).