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There are several predatory GSA Consulting firms out there. This post will help you expose the bad GSA Schedule Consultants, and select an effective GSA Contract Service.
There is often a debate of whether a GSA Contract Consulting firm should be used, or if a company should try to acquire and manage their GSA Contract in-house. I am obviously not impartial, but I do believe that there are many good reasons to contract a specialist to complete this complicated and time-consuming task (More on that topic here and here).
The rejection rate of GSA offers is at an all-time high, and the system is now built to frustrate. Below you will learn what I have come up with as an insider to help you choose the right GSA Consultant. I have learned these by way of experience, many of my clients have vented about their previous consultant, and I have taken these rants into consideration.
- Do they guarantee their work?
I have heard horror stories of GSA Consultants taking all the money up-front and not delivering. First off, you should not pay more than half as a down payment. And second, the GSA consultant should have a guarantee (with terms) that they offer clients. GSA Focus has a guarantee that protects both the client and us, so the terms of the agreement is up-front and binding.
- Are they on Ripoff report?
There are several predatory companies out there. I have found Ripoff Report to be a pretty good sounding board for these victims. Click Here for a search of the term “GSA” – if you are about to contract a company that is listed here, stop immediately and search out another company (Like GSA Focus). You can also check BBB, but they are not as good as they used to be (Although GSA Focus has an A Rating).
- Are they an expert in their field?
In today’s digital world, you can easily take 15 minutes and research a company to see if they are among the experts in their field, or if they are just fly-by-night. Many GSA Consulting specialists are small firms, so a simple google search of the presidents name will likely yield their expertise (Check out Josh Ladick – ). This will show you how active they are in the world of GSA Contracts, and it’s also a good sign when an expert is generous with their knowledge.
- Do they have a high success rate?
No one can be perfect, so if a GSA Consultant boasts a 100% success rate, that is a little suspicious. However, anyone worth their salt will be near 100%. The GSA is a living organism, constantly shifting requirements and secretive at times, as I often say the process is “built to frustrate.” But it is perseverance and experience that break down the barriers that arise throughout the average GSA Contract Acquisition (and often times in modifications too).
- Do their References back up their work
A client once told me that they had called on a reference or two for a GSA consulting specialist that had taken their money and left them without a GSA Contract. They said “I guess even the bad companies have a few clients they satisfied.” This is true, so it makes it so much more important to call on several references and have pointed questions prepared. Also, doing the online research can save you from a bad consultant. Everyone has references, but not everyone has an arsenal of dissatisfied customers who have complained online (Again – check out Ripoff Report).
- Do their clients actually succeed in selling off their GSA Contract?
I have lost business from being honest with potential customers about the difficulty of breaking into the federal market. A GSA Contract is not a silver bullet to start winning multi-million dollar government jobs. It takes time, patience, planning, and workforce. So, if a GSA Consultant is not preparing you for after GSA award, then they are really just looking to take your money and leave you with a contract vehicle that will likely take you nowhere. Also, some GSA Schedules have some very real and important limitations that the client must know before signing the dotted line. Asking about limitations built into the Solicitation will help you decide if a GSA Contract is beneficial for your company or not. Some companies will slide on honesty to make the sale, GSA Focus does not.
- Have they worked with the Acquisition Center for your GSA Schedule?
Many think that choosing a firm that has experience with your GSA Schedule is beneficial, because you are not their guinea pig in preparing the documents. This has a fiber of truth to it, but it is more important that your GSA Contract Consultant be able to deliver than have experience in the GSA Schedule. This is because the document preparations for GSA Contracts have a good deal of redundancy, so a trustworthy consultant with a track record of delivering is better that a bad consultant with some modest experience in your GSA Schedule.
- Are they way too expensive (or way too cheap)?
There are Consultants that charge upward of $15,000 to acquire a GSA Contract, and there are some that charge seemingly very little. Many firms on the high end are good with delivery, but some (not all) farm out the work and keep $$$ for themselves. While those on the lower end offer sub-par services, or their services only take their clients far enough to say they have a GSA Contract, and leave them stranded to fend for themselves on some of the vital long-term tasks. A GSA Consulting firm is very much worth investigating and comparing the services to the price, to see what your hard-earned dollars are actually buying you.