Are you actively searching for GSA Services? You are likely aware of the fact that hiring a consultant will help you increase your chances of getting a GSA Contract. Today, schedule purchases account for 21 percent of overall federal procurement. This 21 percent amounts to $42 billion a year. To be able to sell to the Federal Government, being a GSA contract holder is a must. A GSA services provider will facilitate your preparation process. However, all service providers aren’t the same. The vetting process is VITAL for to select a reputable and effective GSA Consulting Firm:
- Will the consultant provide full or partial services?
Full-service vs. partial service is an essential consideration as the fees will depend on the scope of the service. Additionally, if you do not employ staff with GSA experience and are applying for the first time, you would want a full-service provider as it will ease the process for you. Time is money, and in case you have zero or minimal experience with GSA application, opting for a partial service provider will cost you more in terms of hours spent in-house on GSA related work compared to the service providers fees.
- The quantity of GSA schedules they manage per month and their success rate?
This piece of information will play a pivotal role in your selection. By asking the consultant both the number of applications they process in a month and its success rate, you will get an idea about how experienced and successful they are. Success rate, which isn’t backed by the number of cases, can be misleading. GSA services provider might advertise a 100% success rate, but in reality, they might have processed a very small number of applications. Thus, they might not have the required expertise.
- Business’ GSA categorization and service provider’s expertise
Matching the scope of your business’ past performance with GSA categories takes knowledge that can be gained only by experience. Your GSA service provider should be well versed in this process, as this is an important first step. Fire as many questions as you can to try to test their experience in this. Selecting an inexperienced GSA Consultant could cost you thousands if they are slow or ineffective.
- Document preparation process
A GSA application requires your GSA Specialist to prepare & submit 20 to 30 documents. This is the number one reason to hire a GSA service provider as they have in-depth knowledge of the documents and can prepare them for you. The firm should have an organized process of preparing the documents. They must be able to handle the documentation process on your behalf with minimum inputs from your side.
- Application Submission
After you thoroughly check the application, the service provider should apply on your behalf. If they do not extend this service, the consultant may be on GSA’s banned list.
- Post submission services
- Clarifications and Negotiations:
An experienced GSA service provider will play an essential role in handling the clarifications and negotiations process post submission. An inexperienced service provider can do a great deal of damage here. Many GSA terms are inflexible. An experienced consultant advising you while negotiating with the GSA will safeguard you.
- Post Award:
After all the hard work pays off, and you are awarded a GSA contract, an experienced consultant will first and foremost register your company. The firm will also prepare and upload your catalog file, etc., to set-up your business in the GSA system ASAP
- Maintenance and Compliance:
While selecting a GSA service provider, make sure that the firm provides ongoing support for the duration of your contract. This will help you in contract maintenance as well as renewal.
- Clarifications and Negotiations:
- Be aware of the predatory GSA Services
Some bad apples mar the GSA services industry. These firms are there to con you. To ensure that it is a genuine firm, ask them for references of past clients and a sample application. Check for their reputation online. Go to the Better Business Bureau to see if dissatisfied customers are talking about them. Next, look up their Facebook and LinkedIn pages. Visit their official website and see if they have employee data and an ‘About Us’ page that looks authentic and reputable. Do check their contact us page. In case of a dummy company, phone number and an address will not be present or will be incorrect.
Bonus: Lookup on sites like rip-off report to ensure that the firm doesn’t have a long history of failing to deliver on their promise.
Looking for the above-written points and asking these questions will help you select an experienced GSA services provider that will facilitate your GSA application and increase your chances of getting a GSA contract by many folds., But in addition to the above points, you should also take the following actions before selecting a GSA service provider.
While talking to the GSA consultant, notice if they are ready to listen to you? Or are they merely trying to sell their service without making any effort to inquire about your specifications? In case you go for a service provider that is just interested in making the sale, you might face problems during the process as they aren’t concerned about your business. They perceive you as a money-making machine, a sign of this is if they require all money up-front.
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Before deciding on a GSA service provider, ask them what you should expect during the process. If need be, you can ask for the scope of work in writing. You can use this at a future date in case of a conflict.
Another clarification that you must seek is, who will be your point of contact in the firm. Will you be working with the president of the firm or will be handed over to an intern once you accept their proposal.
The GSA will reject your application even if a single detail is amiss. They no longer ask for clarifications on details that are missing or are difficult to understand. This makes getting an experienced GSA services provider to help prepare the application a must.