GSA Contract holders can leverage their business into a whole new world full of opportunities. Apart from becoming the primary contracting vehicle of federal institutions, they can also boost government buyers’ sales. A majority of agencies in the government marketplace prefer businesses with GSA contracts because they know that they avail products at their most reasonable prices.
Before you begin selling to the federal government, you need to undergo a tedious certification process. GSA set strict standards and eligibility requirements to be eligible for providing GSA services. We shall be discussing these requirements in this article to ensure your success in getting a GSA contract.
Process for Certification
Securing a GSA contract is not as simple as filling and submitting a series of business-related documents. GSA requires businesses to craft an elaborate proposal that articulates their offerings and services. They establish strict standards based on different Schedules that you must follow. Otherwise, your application is bound to get rejected.
To give you an idea, here is the process for GSA certification:
Submission of Required Documentation and Proposal Based Upon Solicitation
As mentioned, you need to follow GSA policies and standards to increase the chances of approval. You must read the solicitation to learn more about the required documentation. For over 30 Schedule categories, there are different standards and formatting set by the GSA. Make sure that you have a clear understanding of the GSA requirements on your specific Schedule.
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GSA Review & Clarifications
After your submission, your application will get assigned to a GSA contracting officer. They will review your application and proposal over the next four months. If your application gets declined due to some errors or lack of information, you need to re-submit a whole new application. A contracting officer would also get back to you for clarifications or minor issues. You must check any inconsistencies and make modifications accordingly.
GSA Contract Negotiation
If you get to this point, congrats! You are almost there.
GSA contract negotiation is similar to any other form of business negotiations. You need to talk to a GSA representative until both parties agree. The primary goal of contract negotiation is to come up with reasonable and feasible contract terms and conditions.
After finally agreeing, make sure to implement the changes in the final revision of your proposal.
GSA Contract Awarding
Soon after you submit your proposal’s final revision, GSA will proceed to award you a contract. The GSA Schedule contract entails the terms and conditions that dictate how your business would operate within the government marketplace. It is the foundation of your reputation amongst the federal buyers, which can contribute to your success.
Any business entity should be able to meet the minimum qualifications set by GSA. Before you prepare your application, it is crucial to meet these criteria first. These are the mandatory requirements that apply to all the GSA Schedules.
- The business must be actively operating over the last two years. They should provide financial statements that support their claims. It must include a balance sheet and income statement that discloses negative financial information (if any).
- Businesses with their GSA contracts canceled in the last 12 months due to low sales are ineligible to re-apply. Those who have previously expired contracts are also not qualified.
*For offerors that wish to re-apply, submit the following:
Proof of present federal sales above $25,000
Copy of the cancellation letter
Marketing Plan to increase sales with the use of a new GSA contract
- Businesses that offer services must provide at least two project experiences completed within the last two years. You are required to present two project experiences for each service provided to the federal government.
- Products must show TAA compliance certification and must get manufactured in a designated country.
- If you are not the manufacturer of your products, submit a letter of supply from your supplier. The letter must express the terms of how they can deliver supplies without any delays throughout the contract.
- Submit a Supply Pricing Sheet, which consists of invoices, commercial price list, catalog, quote sheets, etc.
- Obtain a digital certificate for the GSA contract negotiations
- Businesses should be able to provide 5 to 10 references of their previous performance.
How to Choose Consultant
With the plethora of opportunities for GSA-certified businesses, a growing number of companies begin to take a chance. The application process can be challenging, tedious, and overwhelming, especially with the increasing rejection rates. For this reason, many companies seek help from GSA Consultants. GSA Schedule consultants assist businesses in their application to guarantee approval. Here’s what you need to consider before working with GSA contract consultants:
Expertise in Particular GSA Schedules
As you already know, different GSA Schedules have specific policies and requirements. To make sure that you are going to succeed, work with an experience GSA contract consultant. Check the track record, work history, and testimonials of the company you are eyeing. The best way to check whether your GSA schedule consultant has seasoned experience in the field is through customer testimonials. It is most definitely a goods sign if your GSA consultant has numerous positive reviews from past customers. If the GSA company aggressively markets a 100% success rate with many negative reviews, that is already a red flag.
Perform reference checks on your own to verify the reviews on their website. This verification can also help you obtain a clear understanding of their work ethic and style of work. If possible, talk to a previous client with the same situation as you.
Even though a majority of their clients receive GSA contracts, they might end up failing to sell their products and services. A promising GSA schedule consultant takes pride in their integrity. They should let you know from the start if your business can thrive in the government marketplace. On top of that, they should also be able to provide valuable insight to succeed in the world of GSA.
Relevant Experience in the Acquisition Center
An ideal GSA contract consultant has relevant experience in documentation. Apart from helping you craft an elaborate proposal, they must know all the requirements and proper format based on GSA standards. GSA application is all about the details and adequate preparation. A good consultant must have a proven track record in delivering GSA applications with little to no error.
There are various prices established by different GSA consulting firms. Expensive firms boast streamlined delivery services, but some might trick you into spending a lot. Some also offer sub-par services at a lower price. More often than not, they provide you with efficient advice but leave you handing for vital, long-term tasks. You can make sure that you get the value of what you pay for through extensive research. Compare the services of various firms to make sure that you get what you deserve.
Before jumping the gun, ensure that your company meets the eligibility requirements to acquire a GSA contract. The application process can be challenging, but it gives your business a competitive edge. Therefore, you must develop a strategic proposal that meets your organizational goals while maintaining fairness. GSA Schedule consultants can help you prepare for a lengthy application process. It is their goal to ensure your success and provide valuable services to the federal government.