Making a sale within the government marketplace can be more complicated than it seems. Before you can begin earning, you need a contracting vehicle that permits you to do so. There are many restrictions and regulations involved in this venture that every business needs to know. Not to mention the fact that the application process in itself can be lengthy and time-consuming. Fortunately, one way to alleviate the tedious work is through the GSA.
Established in 1949 by President Harry Truman, the General Services Administration (GSA)’s main objective is to streamline government supplies procurement. It eliminates the need for administrative work for negotiations and acquisition between federal agencies and businesses. GSA developed a centralized platform where the federal government can gain access to many commercial vendors and services. At the same time, it gives the public some transparency with the transactions made within the government.
Once you receive a GSA contract, you can gain many opportunities within the General Services Administration platforms. From selling products, building government buildings, and offering other services, organizations can provide all the federal government’s needs.
One of the most significant benefits of being on the GSA Schedule is obtaining access to government work significantly faster. Whether it is the state or local government, enterprises can earn right then and from all public sectors. The streamlined process goes both ways between the federal agency and the business. Businesses already have pre-negotiated contracts to focus on getting the product as soon as they can to the customer.
Apart from landing projects quickly and more efficiently, there is much lesser competition in the market. Organizations can access all GSA services to take on public sector projects that have not been shown to the commercial market yet.
What is a MAS Contract?
Multiple Award Schedules (MAS) refers to the long-term governmentwide contracts that allow business owners to sell products and services to federal agencies at volume discount pricing. The Multiple Award Schedules Program, established by the General Services Administration (GSA), helps businesses, whether big or small, expand their reach to the public sector.
MAS contracts often last for an initial period of 5 years for those awarded GSA Schedules. They can extend their contract three more times with five year periods each. Therefore, a business can take advantage of GSA services for a total of 20 years. This contract indicates a long-term partnership and sales with the public sector.
How Can You Get a GSA Contract?
You need to go through a tedious process with the guaranteed income before even receiving a GSA Schedule. A handful of enterprises that come unprepared can likely result in rejections. Therefore, it is imperative to come prepared. Here is everything that you need to know to obtain a GSA contract:
Determine Whether your Business is Eligible for the GSA Schedule Program
Before entering the tedious and lengthy application process, make sure that your business is ready. It is important to note that GSA services get offered to companies that can deliver the best results. The threshold to be awarded a GSA contract expresses in detail in the solicitation. To give you an idea, here are the minimum requirements:
- The company must already be at least two years in the industry, with financial statements covering two years.
- Past Performance Rating following the Dun and Bradstreet Open Ratings system
- Your products and services must have a corresponding GSA Schedule. Each Schedule also receives Special Item Numbers (SINs).
After confirming your eligibility, it is imperative to identify the demand for your products in the market. The order lets you understand the potential earnings you can get extending your reach to the public sector. It gives you an idea of who your potential buyers are in the federal government and whether getting a GSA contract is worth it for your company.
Moreover, competitive pricing is another critical requirement before jumping into the world of GSA. The proposals submitted by businesses must justify how the pricing is considered fair and reasonable in the market and in line with competition for products and services proposed.
Preparation of Proposal
The next thing that you need to do is to read through the solicitation from FedBizOpps. This proposal helps you prepare all of the things that GSA requires you to submit along with the proposal. That said, three components complete a proposal:
- Administrative Documents
Along with the digital certificate, this includes the System for Award Management (SAM) Registration, Readiness Assessment, Pathways to Success, and financial statements of your business.
- Technical Proposal
One of the most crucial aspects of the application process is the narration of your history as a business. To further convince the contracting officer into giving you a GSA contract, let them know your quality control measures and project experience.
- Solicitation Requirements
Depending on what the solicitation states, the pricing proposal must showcase fairness while following the specified format. Every product must have a corresponding rate supported by documents that justify the company’s commercial discounting practices.
The proposal gets submitted on the GSA eMod website.
Clarification and Negotiation with Contracting Officer
Once you successfully submit your proposal, a GSA Contracting Officer (CO) will review its contents for approval. They can reach out to you for clarifications, so it is integral to have your lines open at all times.
After going through clarifications, you can now proceed to negotiate your contract. Negotiation is the preparation of your final proposal for minor revisions. This negotiation is where you arrange the General Discount, Volume/Quantity Discounts, Prompt Payment Discount, Freight Conditions, etc., of your GSA Contract. Furthermore, it is essential to carefully read the terms and conditions before you sign an agreement.
A majority of the products and services that the federal government procures come from GSA contractors. The public sector’s annual spending can reach over $40 billion, making it worth your time to get into the market. Not to mention that businesses are bound to secure a contract for five years with the potential to renew for 20 years. That is 20 years’ worth of steady income and vast opportunities!
On top of that, businesses on GSA Schedule can enjoy efficient processes through the lengthy and challenging application process. Bidding, negotiations, and acquisition is simplified making it easier for you to manage more federal buyers at once. The GSA contract allows you to build a business relationship with federal agencies that lasts long-term.
Although preparing a proposal can be a lengthy process, GSA’s high standards indicate that only the best firms can receive contracts. Federal agencies trust GSA contractors, knowing that they can access quality goods and services at a reasonable price. At the same time, businesses big and small gain access to one of the most exclusive market groups. As long as you have the right product and the track record to prove your worth, you have the fighting chance to win a GSA contract.