GSA is the primary acquisition agency for the federal government. They are the direct contact that bridges the vendors and federal buyers to skip beating around the bush. The GSA services include full-cycle acquisition support, contract management, and procurement solutions. It is their goal to supply the federal government with supplies and services at a negotiable ceiling price.
GSA utilizes contracting vehicles, including the Multiple Award Schedules and Federal Supply Schedules. These GSA Schedules are government-wide, long-term programs that provide multiple agencies access to over 11 million goods and services.
What does GSA stand for, and what do they do?
The General Services Administration (GSA) is the one-stop-shop for federal institutions and government vendors since 1949. The agency has evolved over the years providing real estate support and streamlines the delivery of supplies and services. GSA contract holders undergo a tedious process before they are permitted to make a sale. GSA contracting officers make sure that these businesses comply based on GSA standards and policies.
The GSA Schedule, also termed the Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) or Federal Supply Schedule, is the most widely used throughout the program. As mentioned, businesses need to obtain a GSA Schedule contract before using all of the GSA services. This service can help enterprises leverage the buying power of federal institutions over the contract’s course.
What are the GSA Schedules?
GSA Schedules are long-term, government-wide contracts awarded by GSA. These contracts assist the government. Procurement of goods and services is made easier with leveraged pre-negotiated prices, delivery conditions, warranties, and more. Apart from the streamlined acquisition solutions, it can also help businesses boost their sales and revenue.
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Although the law does not require businesses to be GSA-certified before selling to the government, it increases their chances of getting a sale. Numerous federal agencies would strictly prefer to have a supplier that has a GSA Schedule. Not only does it give them protection as a buyer, but they also ensure that they get the value of the prices. As a result, many businesses find it necessary to submit a proposal to get a GSA contract.
GSA Schedules divide into general categories, with smaller subcategories 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.
General Schedule Categories
- Facilities and Construction
- Human Capital
- Industrial Products & Services
- Information Technology (IT)
- Office Management
- Professional Services
- Security & Protection
- Travel, Transportation, and Logistic
Process for Acquiring a GSA Schedule
While it is well worth the work to receive a GSA Schedule, the process of achieving one is not going to be easy. You have to go through a series of evaluations, training, and dozens of legwork to apply for the GSA Schedule of your choice. It might be challenging, but the hard work is worth it as soon as you get in.
If you want to streamline the application process, you can always opt for GSA contract consultants. These consultants have industry-related experience and expertise that can decrease your chances of getting rejected. They eliminate the stress and time wasted on research to help you polish your technical proposal.
To give you an idea, here is the process for obtaining a GSA Schedule:
Before jumping the gun, make sure that you qualify for the GSA Schedule first. It can also help you obtain a clear understanding of the process, requirements, and market conditions before preparing your application. This application also sets your expectation as a business when it comes to your potential sales. If your products are not as relevant in the government marketplace, why bother applying at all?
Performing extensive research can help you determine the GSA Schedule suitable for your business. You must do everything right, so all the effort is worth it when you finally receive that contract.
Businesses must acquire a DUNS number along with the Open Ratings Past Performance Evaluation. Your DUNS number is unique to your business, serving as your identification against other companies in GSA. The evaluation involves at least five survey ratings from your previous customers over the last two years. It is integrated into their system to evaluate within the next 35 days. The typical fee for the Open Rating Report is $185 and is only valid for a year. For this reason, it is integral that you proceed with your application before it expires.
Moreover, it is also essential to have your business registered on the System for Award Management (SAM). It registers your business to the federal procurement system database.
Choose a GSA Schedule
Select a GSA Schedule that is the most suitable for your business. There are more than 30 Schedules to choose from that provide millions of supplies, so make sure you are in the right place. Afterward, you can now obtain a copy of the solicitation based on your GSA Schedule. This solicitation helps you determine all the crucial components that you should include in your proposal.
Crafting a Proposal
Creating a technical proposal is the most challenging and most time-consuming part of the application. A majority of rejections refer to errors and mistakes in the proposal. To prevent chances of rejection, make sure that you follow the format based on GSA standards. It is also crucial that you complete all the requirements, including financial information, previous performance, offerings, and business practices.
Once you submit your proposal, it will undergo an evaluation. Contracting officers might get back to you for clarifications, so always be prepared.
When everything else has been clear, you may now negotiate the terms and conditions of the contract. You will usually discuss the pricing, discount, and delivery options. Once both parties reach an agreement, you can finally prepare and submit the revised proposal. You can start selling right away as soon as you receive your GSA contract.
Obtaining a GSA Schedule is vital to improving your sales and revenue in the government marketplace. Although the process can be lengthy and tedious, it opens opportunities towards scalability and exposure.
Working with GSA contract consultants can keep your GSA contract application a breeze. With years of experience in the industry, they have valuable insight into what it takes to receive approval quickly. They understand the most common errors done by businesses in the past. It is their goal to eliminate all mistakes, so you get your GSA contract without an issue. Expand your business to the government marketplace with the help of GSA consultants at GSA Focus today!