What is a GSA contractor?
A GSA Contractor is a Company that holds a GSA Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) Contract. The important points of this federal certification are:
- It is a 20-year term
- Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) Contract
- Channel for Federal sales to flow through
- Reviewed and awarded by GSA (Government Agency)
So, a GSA Contractor, gains an advantage in the federal market by accessing exclusive opportunities (Request for Quotes), marketing their products on the GSA Advantage website, and being sought after by Agency buyers on GSA eLibrary.
How to become a GSA contractor
There are 3 (long and complex) steps that every GSA Contractor must go through to enter the MAS Program.
- Document Preparation
the GSA Offer package is a group of around 25-30 documents prepared in a very specific way that the GSA requires. The instructions can be found in the GSA Solicitation document, and other templates and other important documents can be downloaded elsewhere on the GSA website. The process is riddled with obstacles (mostly, the instructions are lacking and confusing). Therefore, using a GSA specialist is usually a good idea.
- Offer Review
Many important details about future GSA Contractor are entered into an online system named eOffer, and the completed Offer Documents are uploaded. Once this is submitted, the GSA will begin their review process, which typically will take 3-6 months.
The GSA will first conduct an initial review and reject if any large issues are found (even just one). Otherwise, a Contracting Specialist will be assigned to your case, and they will begin their deeper review of the document package.
Clarifications are very common. There are so many details in these documents, the GSA always has some questions or requires further support. After a few rounds of Clarifications, negotiations are conducted to discuss GSA discounts and other terms & conditions. Then the award is made, and the Offeror is now a GSA Contractor.
The final stage is the long-term pursuit to become a successful GSA Contractor, which has two very different categories:
- Marketing – GSA Vendors have an easier path to win federal business, and it requires an ongoing pursuit of excellence in writing proposals.
- Maintenance – Keeping your offerings up-to-date and assuring that you are compliant with the GSA Contract requirements.
Benefits of a GSA Contract
There is certainly no guarantee that you will win any business once you are awarded a GSA Schedule Contract. However, GSA Contractors that are willing to put in the work will very often enjoy some large boosts in revenue through this channel.
There are many benefits that GSA Contractors enjoy:
- We work almost exclusively with small businesses, and our clients average GSA sales are over $900k per year.
- The ability to view and respond to exclusive Federal Opportunities (RFQ’s) in the GSA eBuy System.
- The ability to upload products into GSA Advantage (GSA “Amazon.com”), and process orders from this system.
- Being found in GSA eLibrary when a federal buyer is researching Companies for specific solutions.
- Becoming more appealing to Agency Buyers because you are easier to buy from (Sole-source opportunities, etc.)
- Access to other IDIQ and BPA opportunities (OASIS, etc.)
- All Federal Agencies buy from GSA Contractors through this program, and other organizations (State, Local, tribe, etc.) have access through special programs.
How to View Current GSA Contractors
Anyone can go to the GSA eLibrary website and research the current group of GSA Contractors quite easily. You will begin on the large list of GSA Special Item Numbers (SIN’s) found on GSA eLibrary. I recommend using your browsers “find” tool to search the very large webpage for keywords relating to your offerings (e.g. satellite phones, IT Services, etc.). Then you will be able to click on the SIN code to view:
- The full SIN Description
- The list of GSA Contractors listed under that SIN
- Details about these GSA Vendors
- Links to view even more details about specific GSA Vendors