The General Services Administration (GSA) established its programs to nurture entrepreneurship and foster small business growth. At the same time, federal agencies can ensure that they meet with GSA’s trusted industry partners to assist their products and services procurement.
How to Sell Your Products and Services to the Government Marketplace
Selling your products and services to the government marketplace can be intimidating, but here are ways to help get your foot in the door:
Apply in GSA to become a vendor
Small businesses must meet the minimum requirements set by the GSA to become a vendor. They are required to submit evidence of at least two years of their operations along with annual revenue of around $25,000. There are also particular industries like technology and service contracts that need skills, expertise, and experiences, so be prepared for that.
Look Into the Federal Market
If you want to thrive in your new venture, it is imperative to take some time to discover federal services available for your business. Otherwise, there is no point going through the entire tedious process.
Explore Various Business Models in GSA
Federal marketplace vendors must familiarize themselves with how the organization operates—exploring GSA business models, including the Schedule programs, types of contracts (IDIQs, GWACs, Non-Schedules Based Contracts, subcontracting, and set-aside contracting allow companies to learn more about the agency.
Register Your Business
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 companies must follow. Otherwise, your application will get rejected. As previously mentioned, you need to follow GSA policies and measures to increase the chances of approval. You must read the solicitation to learn more about the required documentation. The GSA sets different standards and formatting for over 30 Schedule categories. Make sure that you have a clear understanding of the GSA requirements on your specific Schedule.
Small Businesses Resources
There are many resources tailored especially for small businesses to assist your GSA vendor journey. Let us take a look at them:
- Training Resources: GSA offers recorded and actual training sessions exclusively for their contractors. For instance, recorded training involves “Federal Opportunities for Small Businesses in Artificial Intelligence” and “Advancing Small Business in Unprecedented Times.” There is also a series of introductory training for newcomers and advanced sessions for long-term contractors.
- Video Resources: These clips aim to walk the GSA contractors through the basics of how the negotiations work. It helps small businesses maximize all the benefits they can acquire from GSA.
- GSA News: Tune in to the agency’s official platform to learn about the latest news and events relevant to small businesses and the federal government.
- GSA Policies: Before jumping into the entire thing, it is best to come prepared. It is your duty as a small business to determine the policies and regulations the organization enforces. Not only can this prolong your contract, but it can also increase the chances for contract renewal.
5 Ways to Win a GSA Contract
Although the chances of getting awarded a GSA contract can be slim, there are plenty of ways to help contracting officers notice your application.
1. Determine the Schedules You Qualify for Before Pursuing a GSA Contract
GSA Schedules became the primary contracting vehicle of federal agencies throughout the years. It provides them with endless opportunities to procure products and services at a valuable price. As for businesses, they will become exclusive contractors of the federal government. They gain access to GSA services like eBuy, Advantage!, and eLibrary.
GSA Schedules get divided into general categories, which also have smaller subcategories. These subcategories are called Special Item Numbers or SINs. SINs have different requirements when it comes to submitting a proposal. It usually depends on the business’s previous experience in the industry, their proven track record, and more. Different categories have specific requirements that GSA contracting officers use to evaluate their proposal.
2. Learn About Governmentwide Acquisition Contracts (GWAC) for Selling Total IT Solutions to the Federal Government
GWAC contracts target the Information Technology Categories. These can help supplement your IT Schedule 70 GSA Contracts that can expose you to opportunities. They are especially helpful for systems design, software engineering, information assurance, and enterprise architecture solutions.
3. Explore Indefinite-Delivery/Indefinite-Quantity Contracts (IDIQs)
Often used for service, IT, and architect-engineering services, the indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contracts are services provided at a fixed time. These contracts get leveraged when the specific quantity of certain goods and services utilized throughout the contract period is unclear. All the federal agencies need to specify are the minimum and maximum quantity limits of the product or service they need. IDIQs streamline the procurement process while making sure that the goods and services are acquired when necessary.
4. Collaborate with Other Businesses to Provide the Best Value to the Federal Customer
Prime vendors are the large corporations that are on the federal supply schedule. More often not, the federal GSA requires them to collaborate with small businesses and subcontract portions of their enterprises. Teaming up with prime vendors can help you earn experience with the government marketplace as well as revenue.
5. Learn More About Set-Aside Contract Opportunities Designated for Special Interest Groups
Set-aside contracts get established to further the government’s goals to ensure small businesses thrive within the government marketplace. The purpose of the set-aside agreement is to provide small businesses with a fighting chance to earn more revenue. For instance, federal agencies purchase between $10,000 and $250,000 worth of services per year. This funding gets automatically allocated for small businesses. This agreement has only one condition: at least two companies can provide the product or service at a fair and reasonable price.
Here are the small businesses qualified for this contract:
- Women-Owned Small Businesses (WOSB)
- Small Disadvantaged Businesses and 8(a) Small Businesses
- Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUBZone) Small Businesses
- Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses (SDVOSB)
In summation, the GSA makes many special provisions to ensure small businesses in America can earn good money by becoming scheduled GSA contractors. So, make sure you do everything you can to get your business a slice of the profitable GSA pie.
Find out if you qualify for GSA contracts!