Setting out on a new journey can be overwhelming, and the GSA Contract’s standards do not help assuage that sensation. While it makes sense that the government would only want the best applicants, opting for a GSA Multiple Awards Schedule (MAS) contract can be intimidating.
Fortunately, thorough and rigorous preparations must get implemented to be successful in both. Thus, contractors who want to get a GSA contract must understand all the requirements first and research to grasp what they are about to take on.
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Step 1: Start Preparing Your MAS Offer to Send to GSA
Upon establishing that their company is eligible to get a GSA contract and undertaking initial steps such as securing Dun and Bradstreet Number (DUNS) and registering in the System for Award Management (SAM), contractors can now begin to prepare a GSA MAS offer. Contractors must devote enough time to ensure that their offer is right the first time. Otherwise, errors rooting from hastily submitting a GSA MAS offer usually lead to outright rejection.
A GSA MAS offer must consist of three major sections: the Administrative, Technical, and Pricing Proposal sections to get a GSA contract.
As the foremost part of a GSA MAS offer, a solid administrative section can be pivotal to getting a GSA contract. The Administrative Section comprises necessary background information and certifications of the contractor’s company as required by the GSA. A strong administrative section of a GSA MAS offer includes:
- A comprehensive Cover Letter
- A Pathways and Readiness Certificate
- An Agent Authorization Letter
- Financial History and Status
- A Certificate of Registration in the System for Award Management Small Business
- A Subcontracting Plan, necessary if the company gets considered in the “Other than Small Business” category
- Digital Certificates of any Authorized Negotiators and
- Letters of Supply, necessary if the company is providing products that they do not manufacture.
Whereas the administrative section is all about establishing the business’s legitimacy and demonstrating a great understanding of all the rules, the technical area is where contractors must prove that they can provide the products or services they are offering. Within this section are pieces including:
- A Corporate Experience Narrative
- Past Performance Records are necessary if the company provides services. This record includes CPARS Reports for companies who previously worked with the government and referenced CPARS Reports’ unavailability.
- A Narrative on Relevant Project Experiences
Pricing Proposal Section
After establishing the legitimacy of business and demonstrating a good grasp of all the rules and regulations in the administrative section, and proving the capacity to provide legitimate products or services they offer, contractors must negotiate the prices of their products or services.
Rather than something formulaic, the pricing proposal section is, from its name, a proposal. In this section, contractors tell GSA the prices they are willing to sell their products or services. Since the actual prices get determined in later negotiations, contractors should propose the highest prices possible and assume a maximum supportable position in the initial offer. This portion of the application gets completed with the expectation that the GSA will negotiate to bring costs down to get a GSA contract.
The pricing proposal section includes notable pieces such as:
- A Commercial Price List or Internal Market Rate Sheet
- The company’s Commercial Sales Practices and
- A comprehensive Price Proposal List.
Step 2: After Receiving a Welcome Letter from GSA
After completing and finalizing the three sections of a GSA MAS offer, contractors will then submit their final offer to GSA through the eOffer system for review. Shortly after the submission, contractors will receive a welcome letter from GSA stipulating necessary and basic information on what they should expect moving forward in the process.
Usually, the contractors can expect a Contracting Officer within a month. The Contracting Officer assigned to each contractor will review their offer and work with them throughout the process until securing a GSA MAS contract. The designated Contracting Officer will be responsible for the heavy screening and evaluation regarding the offer’s completeness and correctness. However, the financials and subcontracting plan get passed to other departments within the GSA for review.
With the influx of GSA MAS offers, contractors must expect that the review process can take a while. However, this short period of waiting would amount to nothing once contracts get a GSA contract.
Once negotiations are accomplished, and both parties agree to certain terms and conditions, the GSA will then provide the contractors a Final Proposal Revision (FPR) listing all the agreed-upon terms and conditions.
Understandingly, contractors may want to sign right away. However, you must still observe caution. Contractors must review the FPR to ensure that everything is correct. Only then must they sign and return it. Upon the Contracting Officer’s countersigning, the laborious process that contractors went through to get a GSA contract now gets awarded an actual GSA MAS contract.
Contractors must safeguard their FPR as it will be important in settling any confusion or issue in the future.
Step 3: Post GSA Contract Schedule Award
Although the target is to get a GSA contract, obtaining one is only part of a long-term task. Now that contractors have a GSA MAS contract, they must ensure to maintain their contract. Contractors must regularly update their GSA MAS contract and keep it compliant with GSA regulations. Whenever necessary, contractors must submit their contract modifications to edit, add, or delete something in their existing contract.
True enough, attempting to get a GSA contract is a lot of work requiring considerable time and effort. However intimidating and overwhelming, nothing can compare to the feeling of finally securing a GSA MAS contract, not to mention the several doors of opportunities that open simultaneously with its acquisition.
Pursuing something relatively alien and new can be overwhelming. However, with the right resources, people, and experts to consult, the arduous task of getting a GSA MAS contract can be a whole lot easier. Although taxing and time-consuming, contractors who undertake necessary steps will later reach their goal to get a GSA contract and secure an actual GSA MAS contract for themselves.
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