The General Services Administration (GSA) offers contract vehicles called GSA Schedules. Vendors who want to sell to the Government can acquire GSA Contracts. This cumbersome process seems to be built to frustrate, often times resulting in multiple rejections. Your best use of time and resources is to outsource to a GSA Contract Specialist.
This 5-part series breaks down the complex process into 5 intelligible parts. This will allow you to focus on each part directly to gain the best understanding possible.
Getting a GSA Contract is a big step! And research & planning must go into making sure it will win your company federal business. You should (1) know the Federal Agencies who buy what you sell and if they utilize the GSA Schedule program, and (2) have a clear understanding of the commitment that maintaining a GSA Contract requires. Dedicated manpower to pursue federal bids and maintain your GSA Contract is very important to succeed.
Second Step – GSA Offer Preparations & Submission
The heavy lifting happens in the second step: preparing and submitting the Offer. A GSA Offer Package consists of 25-30 documents, some are simply downloaded and completed: proposal price list, summary of offer, commercial sales practices, etc. There are also many supplemental documents that must be gathered and prepared: financials, commercial price list, contracts and invoices, etc. Then there are higher level documents that take some time and experience, like Technical Proposal write-ups. Here are a few details that will give you a snapshot of the preparation process to get a GSA Contract.
Third Step – GSA Clarifications & Negotiations
With Clarifications the GSA must (1) be fully satisfied with your document package and (2) all information must be consistent. The offer package requires many mandatory documents that you have already submitted, but now you are at the mercy of the GSA Contracting Specialist. Negotiations cover 3 areas: assuring the major Terms & Conditions are understood, Negotiating the Discounts for the GSA Contract, and Preparation of a Final Document to “Cement” the terms of the GSA Contract.
Fourth Step – GSA Registration
The final step of getting a GSA Contract is registration. For those offering Products, GSA Advantage is a valuable marketing tool. For those offering Services, GSA E-Buy is a vital marketing tool. GSA E-Library is a collection of landing pages for all GSA Contract holders. With GSA Reverse Auctions, Federal buyers can post their needs in this system, and GSA Contract holders (exclusively) can view and bid on these opportunities.
Fifth Step – GSA Contract Management
Preparation comes into play when you develop a winning marketing plan in order to win federal contracts. This includes getting your set-asides in order, obtaining a GSA Contract, attending networking events, etc. Also, this means searching and tracking bid opportunities, and pursuing them with proposals. Discipline comes into play in the form of (1) GSA Contract upkeep, and (2) GSA Contract Compliance. GSA Management is easy to neglect, but it will keep you out of hot water.
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