Many companies consider hiring an outside GSA consultant rather than training in-house personnel. This decision guarantees the GSA contract, considering that obtaining it in the first place is like threading the needle. Simply put, training an employee for this can be challenging, especially with limited knowledge and resources available. Spending at least $5,500 for a consultant is worth it if it increases your chances of entering the government market. The benefits can extend in the long run since contracts last for up to 20 years.
Here are the things you need to consider when looking for a trusted GSA consultant.
GSA Contract Experience
The GSA Contract application is a lucrative task requiring a substantial amount of paperwork. Not to mention the fact that GSA will likely reject your proposal over a slight mistake. Therefore, the first thing that you need to look for is their GSA Contract experience. They should be able to demonstrate their vast experience putting together GSA contracts. Besides securing your GSA Contract, their expertise can also help you negotiate the terms of your agreement.
If you want to look further into their experiences, here are the things you could inquire.
GSA service providers offer different types of services to accommodate every business. Depending on your needs and budget, they may provide either partial or full assistance. It is imperative for companies who won’t employ in-house staff to acquire the full range of services. While those used in-house would opt for partial services, these tend to cost more than the latter. It would cost more in terms of hours spent by your employee in GSA work in addition to partial services from the third-party provider. Therefore, it makes financial sense to look for full services to enjoy its benefits thoroughly.
Number of Clients = Sucess Rate
The number of clients they manage is integral to determining how committed they are to your business. At the same time, the number of clients that come to them indicates their expertise and reputation. It is imperative to ask them about this to get an idea about their success rate.
Although some companies advertise a 100% success rate, you can tell they’re misleading you by looking at their clients. They might process fewer applications than those who did way more, but with a slightly lower success rate.
Time is crucial during the GSA Contract application. Its duration varies, which can take a longer time than usual. The preparation for the initial application typically takes up to six (6) months. You are going to have to wait for a few more just to see the results. If it fails, it takes additional months to amend the errors so you can try once again. The time lost is considered to be a significant amount of revenue down the drain.
The longer it takes is a step farther away from earning money from these government contracts. It should only take a few months before you can prepare your proposal and requirements with an expert GSA Consultant. This also gives you enough time to make changes or fix some errors.
If you think your work is done, you are in for a surprise as you’re only getting started. There are other tasks that you still need to do even after your submission. Laws surrounding these contracts are continually changing. The terms and conditions stated at the contract are entirely technical, which often requires an expert opinion. Maintenance and compliance are essential to achieve contract renewal. Therefore, you should be able to inquire if they are offering the following services:
Clarifications and Negotiations
If you get this far, you are likely to be awarded a GSA Contract eventually. This portion indicates that GSA officials didn’t reject your offer, although they need some clarifications to proceed. They will probably need clarifications for certain parts of your proposal. You need to complete everything in time because sometimes they provide short and strict deadlines.
Your GSA Contract specialist plays an essential part in discussing the terms and conditions stated in the contract. Some terms can be quite technical, so you need an expert opinion that can help. They can also help you prepare your final proposal and negotiate accordingly. You often negotiate the General Discount, Volume/Quantity Discounts, Prompt Payment Discount, Freight Conditions, etc. of your GSA Contract.
After finally obtaining a GSA contract, the work doesn’t stop there. Post-submission services should include your consultants registering your company for you. It is imperative to upload your catalog file and all the necessary documents for your business to take off. You also need to set-up your company information across all GSA systems to start earning.
Maintenance and Compliance
Ideal GSA Contract consultants provide ongoing support even after your business finally takes off. On the duration of the contract, you need further assistance to ensure GSA compliance. Continued compliance can help you maintain your contract and become subject to renewal.
The last factor you need to consider is the number of expenses it would take to hire a GSA Consultant. Full services require a substantial salary to deliver all that you need promptly. You should prepare sufficient resources to fulfill their needs and the costs associated with their service. It is imperative to find someone who offers a good value for a quality service. You can make a comparison across different professionals to determine the one that fits your needs and budget.
How to Avoid Dodgy GSA Consultants
You cannot deny the fact that there are bad apples in the GSA services industry. There can be providers that can mislead you, wasting your time and money. To ensure their legitimacy, ask them for references. Their previous clients and sample proposals should give you an idea about their performance and capacity.
Another way to authenticate is by checking their Facebook pages, LinkedIn pages, and their professional website. You can usually find your preferred GSA consultants on their website’s About Us page. Lastly, verify their reputation online to check their customer reviews.