The GSA’s Federal Supply Schedule (FSS) program simplifies the procurement of commercial supplies and services for federal agencies, allowing them to save money by purchasing in volume.
A Federal Supply Schedule is a contract published by the GSA schedule contracting office that includes the details required to place delivery orders with schedule contractors. Through the Federal Supply Schedule, ordering offices provide delivery requests for the necessary goods and services straight to the scheduled contractors.
This article will provide a comprehensive overview of the Federal Supply Schedule.
The General Services Administration, or GSA, is a federal organization founded in 1949. This organization has undergone significant transformation since its foundation, and today it is most recognized for developing the GSA Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) or the Federal Supply Schedule.
The Federal Supply Schedule often includes pre-negotiated prices, terms, deliverables, warranties, and other information to streamline the purchase process. These streamlined processes enable government employees to establish and carry out such contracts with simplicity.
Which Companies Need a Federal Supply Schedule?
Ultimately, no regulations mandate the possession of a GSA Federal Supply Schedule to do business with the government. Still, many federal agencies only conduct business with companies that have a Federal Supply Schedule. As a result, having a GSA Schedule Contract in place is advantageous to many businesses looking to sell products or services to government agencies.
To qualify for a GSA Schedule Contract, all potential sellers must meet the following criteria:
- You must demonstrate the company’s financial soundness.
- It must have been in business for at least two years to qualify.
- The products must be available for purchase in the marketplace.
- The business must provide evidence of prior solid performance in management, cash flow, and client or customer satisfaction, among others.
Additionally, you must follow the Trade Agreements Act for all manufactured and produced goods.
Obtaining a GSA Federal Supply Schedule
Here is how to obtain a GSA Schedule Contract if you are eligible and you want to be allowed to conduct business with the government.
Knowing a GSA is a contract rather than merely being added to a list or given a number is a good place to start. Then, the subsequent step is to submit a proposal that is composed of two parts:
- The time required to prepare your submission for review by the GSA.
- The time frame for the GSA to assess your proposal and the ensuing contract negotiations should it be accepted.
The review procedure will typically take three to four months if you hope to get a GSA Schedule Contract for IT-related purposes. However, the evaluation procedure for a GSA Schedule Contract for the Furniture and Security Schedules might take more than a year to complete.
Is a Federal Supply Schedule Right for You?
To assist companies in selling to the government more effectively, the Federal Supply Schedule Program offers additional possibilities and resources. Expanding your business could be easier and more lucrative with GSA Schedule status, which gives you access to a slew of contracting and networking opportunities with the federal government.
However, new business opportunities bring with them new responsibilities. Understanding the compliance and maintenance requirements associated with the award of a GSA Schedule is essential. Despite the apparent benefits, businesses must ensure they have the resources to keep up with GSA contract maintenance.
Here are a few pros of receiving a GSA Schedule Contract:
- Prior Approval of Costs
When purchasing items or services, the federal government seeks the best value for the government. GSA Schedules establish ceiling prices that have been pre-negotiated for each product and service for the duration of the contract.
A significant advantage of doing business with the federal government is that individual agencies do not have to investigate your pricing to determine whether it is competitive in the market.
- Prior Assessment of Technical Capabilities
Your pricing and technical skills are both approved by GSA. Technical narratives demonstrating a company’s knowledge in the sector and specialized expertise in the proposed Special Item Numbers (SINs) are required when submitting a GSA bid. Moreover, an oral technical examination is also required of SIN providers like HACS SIN 132-45 to guarantee that the primary criteria get met.
Although this may result in a more drawn-out proposal process at times, it does give government agencies the ability to purchase services from private contractors safe in the knowledge that the work they provide will be of high quality and fulfill all of their needs. Moreover, GSA Schedule holders will not have to write separate technical narratives for each bid submission if they take advantage of this opportunity.
- Access to Specialized GSA Opportunities and Tools
You have access to GSA sites that other businesses do not after you have a Federal Supply Schedule contract.
For instance, only contract holders and agency buyers can visit GSA eBuy. Agencies use this acquisition tool to contact GSA Schedule holders for information and bids. In the end, finding business opportunities, responding to government requests, and building new business connections are all made simple with GSA eBuy.
A GSA Schedule Contract also comes with a few cons.
- Restrictions Applied to Pricing
Establishing a company’s Most Favored Customer (MFC) and discounting from there determines your GSA Schedule pricing. Maintaining the established discount connection is a crucial component of having a GSA Schedule since GSA is required to ensure that the government receives the best pricing.
It would help if you charged government buyers at or below your ceiling GSA rates after getting granted. Thus, if you are selling through the Schedule, you may never charge more than the ceiling rate set by the GSA.
- Compliance Checks and Routine Schedule Upkeep
The GSA Schedule should be flexible enough to grow and develop your business. Schedule holders must keep a close eye on the contract’s pricing and terms and conditions during the contract’s life to ensure that any commercial developments get properly reflected in the agreement.
Moreover, contractors must record all GSA sales, accept schedule updates, and keep contract terms and conditions up to date, accurate, and complete to remain compliant.
Having a Federal Supply Schedule requires additional time and work. Still, if maintained appropriately, it may be a vital tool for your company’s future growth in the federal marketplace.