Federal agencies and institutions represent a tremendous market for businesses, small or large.
The US government is one of the largest consumers of products and services, with a budget of over $500,000,000,000. For this reason, a majority of enterprises opt government contracting for a steady stream of income. The government marketplace rarely sleeps since these institutions stay operational as long as the state stands.
Businesses must go through the General Services Administration (GSA) to become eligible for selling to government sectors. GSA serves as the purchasing agent that handles government-wide procurement. They make the buying and selling process easier for both the consumers and GSA vendors.
GSA-approved vendors award a long-term contract that gives them access to numerous federal buyers. These buyers avail of GSA services to get in touch with qualified vendors and more than 11 million goods and services. Choosing a GSA Service Provider is dependent on many things, with one of them involves GSA certification duly.
What Is a GSA Certification?
GSA certification is vital to becoming eligible to sell your products and services to federal agencies and institutions. Using GSA services and tools, federal buyers can place an order to your business. Different GSA-approved vendors Schedules have various pre-negotiated prices, delivery terms, conditions, and warranties. GSA-certified vendors can expedite the federal acquisition process to develop the quality of their goods and services. By going through GSA Certification, Contracting Officers screen and validate the products before letting federal agencies make a purchase.
Before GSA vendors become qualified to make transactions with federal agencies, they must go through a lengthy process. Potential contractors must acquire a working DUNS number, register to the government’s SAM, and provide a product proposal upon approval. GSA officials evaluate each applicant thoroughly, so always beneficial to get assistance from GSA consultants.
The Importance of GSA Certified Vendor
A GSA-certified vendor is the only one who can make transactions with government sectors. Among other things, here are the reasons why it is integral:
GSA-Approved Vendors Can Sell to the Federal Government
As mentioned, GSA aims to simplify the acquisition process and quality assurance protocols of the government marketplace. They eliminate the potential conflict from arising by having potential contractors go through a rigorous process. This approval involves the negotiation of the contract, pricing, and setting up a GSA-approved vendors Schedule. Subsequently, it allows federal agencies to locate eligible vendors quickly. Instead of spending more time ensuring the quality of products and reading through contracting terms, they can focus on making the purchase.
Gives Businesses a Competitive Edge
When you are a GSA certified business, more consumers can find your products and services worthwhile. It builds a reputation for enterprises, with only 4% of registered federal contractors having a GSA contract. Apart from the distinction, contractors are eligible for GSA services, including GSA Advantage, GSA eLibrary, and exclusive opportunities in eBuy.
Checking the Schedule Policy and Procedures
Finding a worthy GSA vendor means that they are following through with the Schedule policy and procedures. Government contractors should be able to possess regulatory documents, including FAR and GSAM.
Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR)
You can find the principal rules and regulations throughout the federal acquisition procedure expressed in the FAR. A series of policies impose standard and consistent practices across Schedules and GSA contractors. Most of the terms in the GSA contracts get explained in detail in the FAR. Therefore, it is your responsibility to fully digest its clauses and provisions to comprehend the GSA Schedule acquisition process completely.
Moreover, the procurement policies to be followed by federal agencies when making a transaction with contractors, expressed in FAR 8.002. It provides a breakdown of the regulations and guidelines for utilizing GSA tools to acquire resources smoothly.
General Services Acquisition Manual (GSAM)
The General Services Acquisition Manual provides thorough guidelines about GSA services. You can read on the purpose, definitions of keywords, and terms frequently used in this selection in the GSA landscape. GSAM also provided an in-depth discussion on competition and acquisition planning. In contrast with FAR, GSA is exclusive to GSA contractors.
Instead of focusing on federal acquisition policies, GSAM highlights all things you need to know about GSA services. The socioeconomic programs that contractors can utilize, contracting requirements, to the contracting methods used per Schedule. Thus, it is a tool you can use to have an idea of what it’s like to become a GSA contractor.
Looking for Fair and Reasonable Pricing
As a federal buyer, you should look for contractors that have proof of fair and reasonable pricing. Before government contractors can start selling, they must provide supporting evidence of their goods and services pricing. They still need to deliver duly proof, even when they are implementing new services and products. GSA vendors must submit a request to GSA before they can increase their currently awarded rates.
Upon the approval of a contracting officer, contractors should show evidence that their pricing is “fair and reasonable.” In other words, the GSA officials make sure that your offerings can withstand the test of the competitive marketplace.
GSA contractors must provide evidence that supports the reasoning behind their rates to prove experience and commerciality. This evidence undergoes a thorough evaluation where potential contractors need to submit the following:
● Complete Price Proposal Template
● Pricing support for offered pricing
● A mechanism for future potential pricing adjustments
● Proof that the price is fair and reasonable*
*GSA Contracting Officers determine the fairness of pricing through their standards. If your goods did not meet their policies, they would negotiate to make the final determination of a more “reasonable” price.
GSA offers a plethora of services that accommodate the increasing demands of federal agencies. They intend to make the process faster and simpler by negotiating with large multi-user contractors. On top of that, it leverages the volume of government marketplace that results in a tremendous decrease in prices. Federal agencies can reach out to GSA service providers in different ways. From utilizing GSA tools, in-person auctions, and contacting eligible vendors directly, they can streamline the acquisition process altogether.