“Our revenue grew $26.8M in 4 years on the GSA Schedule Program” – Ted M.

The Most Common Mistakes Companies Make When Pursuing a GSA Schedule Contract


When pursuing a GSA Schedule contract, you must clearly understand the policies and steps you need to take. It is a lengthy process, but it opens up many opportunities to make your business more attractive to federal buyers.

A GSA Schedule is a contract that businesses utilize to streamline the acquisition process across federal agencies and institutions. The deal involves information about pre-negotiated pricing, order terms, delivery conditions, and guidelines that leverage the sales process. To increase the chances of approval, most companies opt for GSA contract management services. They work with GSA contract consultants to prepare all the requirements needed to apply and create a well-established contract. The rate of businesses that get awarded contracts is slim, but GSA consultants can increase this probability.

Moreover, GSA Schedule holders can capture a fraction of the annual spending of the federal government. Not only can they obtain a stable source of income but also build a reputation for their company. Consumers can easily recognize GSA-certified vendors inside and outside the government marketplace.

Potential GSA contractors can submit a proposal at any time. However, the process can take a while, considering that you have to go through a series of evaluations and negotiations. With that in mind, it is important to assess yourself as a business before considering this venture. Preparation and preliminary research is the key to success in any project, including obtaining a GSA contract. Consider taking a look at your organizational structure, financial capacity, and track record. Can you complete all the requirements to pursue a GSA Schedule Contract successfully? Otherwise, your business is bound to make some major mistakes.

Incorrect Special Item Number

There are multiple reasons behind a GSA proposal rejection. One of the most common involves potential contractors submitting an incorrect SIN. The Special Item Number (SIN) refers to the unique subset of numbers that describe the type of products you offer. Although generated uniquely, SINs get grouped according to the respective Schedules.

Under legacy Schedule 70 offers commercialized Information Technology Equipment, Software, and Services has designated 24 SINs. The numbers represent the contractors’ IT-related subsets. For example, the SIN for Term Software license is 132-32.

For Purchase of New Equipment is 132-8. For IT and Professional Services, the SIN is 132-51.

Potential contractors should go through the solicitation documents to become fully informed of specific SIN requirements. Some Schedules and clauses require various conditions. For instance, there are SINs exclusively for small businesses. There are also necessary certifications and testing evidence for some Schedules like 71 (furniture) and 56 (Building materials/Industrial Services and Supplies).

Incomplete Proposal Submission

To increase your chances of winning a GSA Schedule contract, make sure that your proposal is concise and complete. Submitted proposals undergo strict evaluation, so you must ensure they are polished. A quality proposal explains clearly why your business deserves a government contract. You should persuade contracting officers using hard facts, evidence, and a conclusive basis why your business is perfect for a deal. The choice of words, tone, grammar, and sentence structure all matter.

Indeed, policies from the recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) decision in Federal Acquisition Services Alliant Joint Venture, B-411842.2 expresses sloppy syntax, grammar, and punctuation errors are sufficient grounds for rejection. The approving commission renders your contract unacceptable as these mishaps keep your business out of the competitive range.

Here are the factors that affect your proposal approval:

● Technical aspects of the content
● Experience and performance of the business
● Pricing

Proposals must be expressed with clarity and contain little to no error for a realistic opportunity to get awarded contracts. The pricing is negotiable if the rest of the aspects get accomplished accordingly. However, it’s best to keep all aspects of your proposal complete to increase approval chances.

Inconsistent Pricing

As part of the evaluation, contracting officers pre-screen the proposal to check for inconsistent pricing. If your proposal contains inconsistencies and incomplete requirements, it can be automatic grounds for rejection.

More often than not, businesses overlook specifying the best prices on their proposal. To ensure a contract, contracting officers look for pricing set based on the most favored customer (MFC). MFC defines your pre-negotiated prices when you begin transacting with government agencies.

Before crafting your proposal, read through the GSA solicitation to understand the acquisition process. GSA tends to collect the bids and selects the one most preferable to them for approval. You are looking at establishing fair, reasonable, yet competitive pricing in comparison to your direct competitors. This competitive pricing model means that your prices should be the same or lower than what you offer to the commercial market.

Outdated Past Performance

GSA Schedule contract holders are bound to submit their previous performance records to demonstrate their core competencies. To avoid being rejected, avoid incorporating services to your proposal that you cannot substantiate using your track record.

Moreover, it is essential to submit previous recent performance records. The ideal proposals demonstrate their past performances within the last two years. This record goes back to implementing your offerings. If you have not offered the product or service in a year or more, do not include them.

The past performance evaluation report should garner over 90 points to increase the chances of approval. To improve your odds of winning, incorporate more than six customer references that GSA requires. Make sure that you have collected a sufficient number of references before even submitting a proposal. Reach out to your previous clients to ensure that they accomplished and submitted the survey for reference.

Poor Financials

Many businesses tend to get rejected when contracting officers find that the company is not financially stable. GSA aims to ensure potential contractors’ capabilities to eliminate the risk of conflicts after receiving a contract. They would not want their contractors to have the chance of going out of business in the years to come. If you find your company unable to attain GSA standards, it’s best to wait until you are fully ready.

The financial stability of potential contractors plays a fundamental role in increasing the chances of winning GSA contracts. It is integral that companies pay close attention to their financials, including the asset to a liability and debt to equity ratios. They administer a pre-approval survey to ensure that potential contractors are financially capable of fulfilling GSA requirements and sufficient tender services.

In conclusion, the government market is an increasingly beneficial venture that opens revenue and welcomes new customers. With billions of budget allocated in contract spending and goods acquisition, this became viable for big and small enterprises. But before getting into the federal market landscape, businesses must prove their competitive advantage. Requirements and proposals should be comprehensive and concise to support your claim that your business is viable for government space.

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