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A GSA Schedule is a BRIDGE not a Vehicle

Dear Fellow GSA Schedule Holders:

A GSA Schedule is a BRIDGE-not a vehicle.

There, I said it. The GSA Schedule is not a vehicle. It’s not going anywhere. It doesn’t do anything and it needs a lot of maintenance, care and compliance.

One of the worst terms keyed in our industry is that GSA schedule is a contract vehicle. First of all, what did they mean by calling it a schedule? Isn’t a schedule something we follow in terms of booking out our time each day? This thing we call a GSA schedule – doesn’t manage our time. So, the feds call the GSA schedule a “contract vehicle.” What?

It’s not a “vehicle” either. People are lead to believe that when they get a GSA schedule (contract) that business will just drive to their front door on this “contract vehicle.” Wrong.

The next thing people will start to believe is that the GSA schedule – books an opportunity – and has it delivered to your front door in the GSA vehicle. Now, wouldn’t that be nice?

Oh! The GSA schedule is a contract vehicle for the contracting officer to book your business and then have you deliver it to them on the contract vehicle! Ah Ha! Now I get it!

Well, friendly GSA schedule holders, my job as your federal sales Sherpa is to explain to you a new metaphor for GSA Contracts so you now know what to do with this confusing document.

The GSA schedule is a BRIDGE across the “raging river of rules” I’ve nicknamed “Fedbizops,” which is the public website where requests for proposals take an average of 269 days to award. The contracting officers will never say this publically, but they’d like to avoid the public bid process “raging river of rules” by using some sort of quiet method which is well within the rules.

Enter: GSA. GSA allows contracting officers to go to GSAAdvantage and buy products under $25K sole source because the prices have already been negotiated and are considered “fair and reasonable” therefore the purchase meets the “fair and open” requirement. If it is over $25K they need to get three bids from GSA schedule holders – and it only taking about 14 days.

Vendors, it’s a contract bridge for you to maintain, keep up to date and comply with the regulations. The opportunities and the tasks need to be driven across your bridge, which means you need to tell the world that your bridge exists.

So, you have a Bridge – the GSA Schedule – which makes it easy to buy your products and services. It took you almost a year to build it and now you need to take care of it. Most of all, you need to let the Contracting Officers know you have it. So get out there, build a federal sales action plan and sell, sell, sell.

Your Federal Sales Sherpa,

Eileen Kent

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