GSA Schedules are the primary medium used for contracts of the federal government and, in some cases, local and state. Some state and local buyers involve educational institutions, hospitals, and tribal governments. The coverage is usually long-term and government-wide and settled with commercial suppliers.
It helps them save a lot of time as suppliers select products and services within arms reach. The millions of products and services they offer can give cost-savings because they sell at negotiable ceiling prices. Purchases made under GSA schedule contracts represent up to 21% of the overall federal procurements. On average, purchases by these agencies tend to reach $42 billion yearly.
That said, acquiring a schedule contract provides valuable opportunities for businesses. You don’t even need much effort and commitment to get started. So if you want to succeed in pursuing GSA Schedule contracts, here are the things you need to remember.
Market Research is Essential to Develop Valuable Prospects
Market research is the key to understanding the next steps you need to take to succeed. This extensive research includes determining who buys your product, your key competitors, and how much they are buying. You can begin by looking through the federal procurement marketplace. Federal agencies report all contract actions in the Federal Procurement Data System. You can even find the estimated value above the micro-purchase threshold and the expiration date of the contract on there.
Navigating through the database helps you identify the federal agencies that can be your potential customer. You can check and analyze those who purchased the products and services you sell to recognize your leads. Input your Product Service Code (PSC) for better filtering processes. This system allows you to categorize the specific products and services based on federal agencies’ purchase history. Additionally, keep a copy of your PSC because it is submitted when you register in the System for Award Management (SAM).
You can also utilize the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) for categorization across business segments.
After successfully conducting thorough market research, you can now produce effective marketing and sales strategies. It is crucial to analyze how you can use the information for valuable opportunities to do business with these agencies. To study your competitors, utilize the Schedule Sales Query database integrated with the GSA library.
Eligibility Requirements to Hold a Schedule Contract
Those who are qualified should be around in business for at least two years. You should be able to support this claim through two years’ worth of financial statements. Otherwise, you can still be eligible if you are qualified for the Springboard Program aimed towards IT offerings.
Those eligible for the program have experience related to at least three years of previous federal contacts. Additionally, they should provide proof of their last performance metrics. Their past ratings should be found in the Contractor Performance Assessment Reporting System (CPARs) to be deemed acceptable. For those who don’t have those, a combination of federal and non-federal experiences will do over the last six years. You only need to provide your previous performance ratings and evaluations report. These metrics are evaluated through Dun and Bradstreet and processed for up to 12 months. When awarded a Schedule, you proceed to compete with the rest of the contractors for orders.
Dun and Bradstreet will provide an Open Rating report that follows the following criteria:
● Business Relations
● Order Accuracy
● Personnel Professionalism
● Customer responsiveness and support
What to do After Obtaining a Schedule Contract
It is integral to be prepared for the next steps as soon as you acquire a Schedule contract. Here are some of the most critical factors:
It is crucial to keep yourself informed regarding the terms and conditions expressed on your Schedule contract. You can ask a GSA representative for support on the duration of your term to maintain compliance.
Required Minimum Sales
Over the first two years of your contract, you must make at least $25,000 in sales. It is vital to maintain that streak for the preceding years by remaining proactive with your sales pursuit. Maintain exceptional sales and marketing strategies through tools like FedBizOpps and eBuy.
Tracking Your Sales
It is essential to monitor your GSA Schedule sales to generate a comprehensive report. This report is the Industrial Funding Fee (IFF) remitted for all sales against the contract. The information is integral to determine how to award your Schedule contract.
Your pricing should be submitted for the public to view. It is vital to send your full Schedule price list on GSA Advantage within a month of award.
Paths you can take for Efficient Selling
Before submitting an offer to become a Schedule contractor, you need to familiarize yourself with the MAS schedule contract. You can take web-based courses such as the “Pathways to Success” and the Readiness Assessment training to get started. All of these courses are free and available for home completion. These courses are also essential to help you make effective decisions in the future.
Pathways to Success provide an in-depth explanation of how GSA schedules work. This portion demonstrates the requirements to become eligible, the offer process, and contracting opportunities to explore. By the end of this training, you will determine what it takes to be a thriving industry partner. The Readiness Assessment Training helps you apply to the right offerings for you. They will hone your skills in utilizing GSA data sources to develop leads.
As mentioned, the results can take up to a year, so it is vital to spend the extra time to prepare. Register your company to designated places before you even submit your offer. If you do this, you can complete all the necessary registrations even before you get your results.
Gather All Requirements
You need to secure all the documents and fill out the necessary forms. After collecting them, they get uploaded as an attachment to the eOffer. This is besides completing all the details on the website.
To easily organize what you need, categorize them into two categories: the forms they provided and the information you have. The documents that you need to complete include the following:
● Agent Authorization Letter
● Letter of Supply
● Price Proposal Template
● Sample Labor Category Matrix
Here are is the information they need from you:
● Financial Statements
● Subcontracting Plan
● Technical Proposal
● Professional Compensation Plan
● Previous Notification of Determination to Not Exercise an Option Letters
● EULAs or TOS
● Commercial Sales Practice-1
● Commercial Pricelist
● Pricing Support Documentation
● Price Narrative
Finalizing Your Offer
Finalizing your offer involves double-checking the information, attachments, and signatures you provided. After your submission to eOffer, it will immediately be subjected upon review. As previously mentioned, this process can take up to 12 months to ensure that you have the capabilities to deliver quality products and services.
You can proceed to sell commercial commodities and services as soon as you receive your contract. However, it is essential to note that getting awarded a Schedule contract does not guarantee sales. You should sustain a promising marketing strategy to attract customers and comply with their standards.