A GSA Schedule is a type of indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contract under the General Services Administration (GSA). As part of the agency’s Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) program, federal buyers can procure GSA contractors’ goods and services. Nevertheless, GSA is the primary source of the federal government purchasing over $30 billion worth of products every year.
The government marketplace is exclusive to contract holders, providing ample opportunities to small businesses. Before enterprises can begin venturing into the government market, they are required to pass the application process. They undergo a tedious process before they can utilize GSA services privileges for a 5-year term. As part of GSA’s initiative to streamline the acquisition process, officials check their products, prices, and track record. The contract negotiation also happens as early as the application process to reduce administrative work once accepted. More importantly, it helps federal agencies place orders to trustworthy brands knowing that they are GSA-certified.
Key Features of GSA for Schedule Buyers
Federal buyers spend more than $38 billion from GSA Schedule contractors in one fiscal year alone. A majority of these agencies would opt for GSA-certified companies for the simplified procurement and negotiation processes. As one of the government’s primary contracting vehicles, Schedule buyers enjoy several valuable features.
Pre-negotiated Contract Ceiling Prices
GSA services include pre-negotiated contract ceiling prices to ensure that their customers achieve the best value. Before businesses award GSA Schedules, they are required to submit a proposal to GSA Contracting officers. The request comprises complete information about the products and services they offer and their proven track record. According to FAR, they could also provide a price list that is “fair and reasonable.” Otherwise, their application can either be rejected or re-negotiated.
Opportunities for Discounts at the Order Level
The GSA market platforms: eBuy, and GSA Advantage!® consist of carefully screened GSA Schedule holders. This screening prioritizes GSA’s value over the number of goods and services. Although the chances for acceptance are slim, the government marketplace features several competent vendors across Schedules. This exclusivity means that federal buyers will not have any problem acquiring products and services, no matter how obscure they are. You can expect multiple contractors in contact a few minutes after you request quotes.
Moreover, contractors can also offer discounts at the task order level. This feature provides opportunities for federal buyers to explore their options to find the best pricing available.
Simplified Contracting Vehicle for Your Ongoing Needs
GSA offers the Schedule program as a simplified contracting vehicle that caters to your complex ongoing needs. It is part of GSA’s services to eliminate as much administrative paperwork as possible to streamline the goods’ procurement. Apart from facilitating the acquisition process, GSA features Blanket Purchase Agreements (BPAs) and Contractor Teaming Arrangements (CTAs) to protect their buyers.
Blanket Purchase Agreements (BPAs)
Both the federal agencies and the contractors can come up with the Blanket Purchase Agreements (BPA). These agreements refer to the simplified acquisition method to fulfill the repetitive needs for products or services. Federal buyers can access a full range of services under a single BPA instead of going through different PSS Schedules. Thus, both parties can benefit because it makes repeat purchases easier and accomplished quickly.
Contractor Teaming Arrangements
The CTA emerged from the GSA’s primary objective to fulfill the federal government’s needs and growing development demands. The GSA Contractor Teaming Arrangements (CTA) allows two or more sellers to merge to accommodate federal buyers’ needs. Various Schedules can complement their offerings with each other to fulfill the requirements that they cannot provide independently. The varying aspects of different GSA projects pave the way for many different schedules and individual small businesses to become involved.
Streamline Procurement of Products and Services
To streamline the procurement of products and services, GSA offers less administrative time and contract documentation. GSA officials manage the master contract from the very beginning to prevent the long haul of paperwork. There is a team of specialists that underwent GSA training to handle different contractors. They are not only there at the initial stages of the application process. After reviewing and verifying the documents of the company, they need to oversee FAR compliance. This regulation indicates that GSA contractors must remain compliant according to the Federal Supply Schedules regulations throughout their contract. It is also essential that they consistently adhere to the GSA Schedule Solicitation for their agreement. Overall, strict compliance ensures that they provide quality products and services at the best value.
The Federal Acquisition Regulation refers to the rules set by the Code of Federal Regulations for government contractors. Businesses must follow all the procurement rules and policies to win contracts and maintain their GSA Schedule. GSA Schedule holders need to be FAR compliant. They are monitored during purchasing reviews to make sure they are aware of the latest policies.
Provide Opportunity for Small Businesses
GSA shines the spotlight on all small businesses through its GSA Schedule program. Yet, since they have ample opportunities given to them, federal buyers are encouraged to contribute to their socioeconomic goals. The Small Business Administration encourages agencies to incorporate the dollar value of orders expected to be placed against GSA MAS contracts to report actual Schedule procurements as accomplishments against these goals. Subsequently, federal buyers can receive credit when they help SMBs reach their business goals when utilizing GSA Schedules. According to GSA, here are the socioeconomic indicators of qualified businesses:
- Small Business
- SBA Certified Small Disadvantaged Business
- Women-Owned Business
- Veteran-Owned Small Business
- Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business
- SBA Certified HUBZone Firm
- SBA Certified 8(a) Firm
The federal government spends more than $30 billion on GSA Schedule contractors annually. Most federal buyers prefer purchasing from them due to the streamlined acquisition process and simplified negotiation process.
The federal government can also benefit from discount opportunities and products sold at fair prices. More importantly, federal agencies can connect to small businesses in a way that the rest of the government cannot.