In hindsight, growing your business in the government marketplace can be intimidating. The competition can be fierce, especially for up-and-coming enterprises. The process of getting your foot in the door in itself is lengthy and complicated. Without further knowledge about the application process or help from a reliable GSA Schedule contractor, it is challenging to acquire GSA Schedule. However, GSA offers a plethora of tools and opportunities readily available to businesses, big or small.
The initiatives of the Small Business Administration (SBA) focus on assisting small businesses to expand their reach across federal agencies. They developed online tools and training programs to help them increase their chances of winning government contracts. It is integral that these businesses take advantage of these tools to keep up with the fast-paced market. In this way, companies can always exceed the growing demands of federal buyers despite their size.
Before looking into GSA services, it is vital to ensure that your business meets the GSA Qualification Requirements. Take note of the GSA’s comprehensive policies to see if you are suitable for it. You can then proceed to have your GSA Schedule registered on the System for Award Management website. SAM is the primary database for all GSA contractors offering products and services to the federal government. Before you can register your GSA Schedule to SAM, make sure to obtain the DUNS number first. It refers to the Data Universal Number System (DUNS) number you can get from Dun and Bradstreet, Inc. The GSA Schedule number refers to the number assigned to your contract. GSA Schedule Contracts are five-year government-wide documents that allow you to do business across federal agencies.
The format of your GSA Schedule number should follow this format, “GS …”, or more recently the Contract numbers start with “47Q … “. The next three digits after General Schedule is the specific schedule you have been awarded a contract under one particular GSA schedule. For example, if you receive an IT schedule 70, you should expect the equivalent code 35F. The following string of letters and numbers pertains to the code specific to your company. After selecting your GSA Schedule number, you must verify with NAICS whether your business qualifies under that code.
Verifying your number based on NAICS:
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- Specific NAICS codes are depending on the threshold dollar amount for revenue or the number of people in your workforce. (This allows you to determine if your business is considered small and qualified for SBA opportunities.)
- You can also use the Size Standards Tool from SBA to determine if you qualify as a small business.
Different terms emerged to define what a small business is. You must leverage all the available tools to learn how you fit with GSA services. More importantly, it also helps you determine the role you play with your GSA Schedule.
Obtaining a GSA Schedule
Businesses must obtain a GSA Schedule before they can begin offering goods and services to federal agencies. The General Services Administration refers to the institution that grants the federal supply schedule program to the enterprises. Also known as the Multiple Awards Schedules (MAS), this governmentwide contract permits them to perform transactions across the federal government departments. GSA management allows these companies to utilize platforms, including GSA Advantage! Which will enable them to handle orders and acquisitions. Under GSA Schedules, businesses cover many products and services, from office supplies and furniture to services like accounting, IT, and infrastructure repair.
Before you can utilize your GSA Schedule, you must first receive a contract. Businesses must craft a comprehensive proposal that includes all the requirements from GSA. GSA officials carefully analyze applications looking at their track record, pricing, products, and offerings. Businesses must disclose complete information about their business practices to further the application. They prioritize examining the fairness of your offers by comparing your offering to your commercial products.
Contracting Tools for Small Businesses
Leveraging the readily available tools can help small businesses succeed in a competitive business landscape.
Dynamic Small Business Search (DSBS)
DSBS consists of the entire database of small business contractors affiliated with GSA. It is a platform maintained and established by the Small Business Administration (SBA). This reference allows federal buyers to focus on acquiring products and services from small businesses. In contrast, GSA contractors can also utilize this platform to locate other companies with whom they can collaborate. The information listed in this database earns merit from the data you entered in your System for Award Management (SAM) business profile.
Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS)
FDPS lets small businesses access comprehensive federal procurement reports. It is the central repository channel for sources regarding contracting opportunities and financial grants for GSA procurement. Users can find complete information about GSA contracting worth more than $3,000. On top of that, this can also help stay updated on the training programs offered by FDPS.
Market Research As Service (MRAS)
Entering your small business within MRAS allows you to increase the chances of winning government contracts. This platform enables federal agencies to search for their industry partners, allowing them to reach out to service providers and suppliers for long-term agreements.
GSA Forecast of Contracting Opportunities Tool
The Forecast of Contracting Opportunities is a tool that establishes the anticipated federal contracting opportunities. Learning about the potential options can prepare GSA contractors for streamlining the acquisition. The device can be filtered by agency, location (place of performance), NAICS code, contract type, and more.
GSA Schedule contractors already have the advantage of being sufficiently screened for quality, reliability, and capacity. It provides them a reputation and eliminates all the administrative work to complete various contracts and acquisition arrangements. Small businesses need to leverage all the tools available to maximize their potential and succeed in the government market. Utilize all of your options to streamline your services and turn your consumers into loyal customers. After all, the success of a business does not stand on its product or service alone. GSA contractors can succeed for years to come if they know how to market their brand. More importantly, they have to get on top of contracting opportunities despite a fast-paced market.