What is Unison Marketplace?

What was originally founded in 1998, Unison Marketplace is a full-service online marketplace created to enhance how federal, state, and local governments and educational institutions purchase simple goods and services such as IT products, office supplies, and lab equipment. 

The marketplace services over 90,000 sellers, representing thousands of commercial, federal, state and local government, and education sector buyers. Notable participants include the departments of Homeland Security, Air Force, Army, and Health and Human Services, among others. According to a study released by the Reverse Auction Research Center in 2010, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection bureau saved the agency roughly 10% annually over the preceding four years on over $500 million in purchases through Unison Marketplace. Additionally, more than 90% of the participating acquisition professionals gave the reverse auction marketplace process overall glowing reviews because of lower costs and a streamlined buying process.

History of Unison Marketplace

As mentioned above, Unison Marketplace was founded in 1998 as a division within Procurement Technologies by Phil Fuster and Luigi Canali. The idea for the concept originally came to Phil due to the frustration of bidding on a request for a quote (RFQ). The company failed to acquire sufficient funding and had to be relaunched in 2004 under the name FedBid.

Under the name FedBid, the company would grow at an impressive rate over the following years. Initially, the company was founded to only service federal government purchasing needs, but in 2013 FedBid expanded its reach to service state and local governments, education institutions, and commercial markets. In 2017, the company was acquired by Compusearch, and in 2019 Compusearch rebranded the company to Unsion Software, Inc. Compusearch. Then, it rolled all of its existing Compusearch Software Systems into FedBid and named the company Unison Marketplace. Today, the marketplace operates at www.unisonmarketplace.com

How Does the Unison Marketplace Work?

Unison Marketplace is a full-service, reverse auction marketplace. The traditional auction model that you’re probably familiar with is a seller puts up an item, and buyers place bids until the close of the auction, at which time the item goes to the highest bidder. A reverse auction is a type of auction in which sellers bid for the prices at which they are willing to sell their goods and services.

Unison Marketplace Government Bids

On average, via this reverse auction model, the buyers can save roughly 11% on purchases. As sellers are bidding, they are unable to see other sellers’ bids. Although, they are alerted if they are the leading bid — which within a reverse auction would be the lowest price. Buyers can select any or none of the bids offered and cancel or repost the auction at any time. If the transaction doesn’t save the buyer money, they are not obligated to make the purchase. 

Unison Marketplace Fees

Unison Marketplace will collect a small fee on top of the final contract price; typically, this results in a 3% fee but can vary depending on the specifics of the auction. The buyer of the transaction will carry the brunt of this cost. For example, if a contract is won at $10,000, the buyer’s actual price with the added 3% fee will be $10,300. Unison Marketplace is free for sellers to use. 

Get Expert Consultation on Using Unison Marketplace

FAMR is dedicated to assisting businesses in navigating the Federal marketplace. FAMR’s team of federal government contracting experts will advise how to best leverage Unison Marketplace as a buyer. They will guide you through the process every step of the way and ensure you’re optimizing your federal government contracting opportunities. Learn more about additional topics on federal contracting today! 

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