If a business, educational institution, or a non-profit organization wants to sell products or services to government customers, that entity will greatly benefit by a GSA contract. This goes double if they are not established in the federal market.
A GSA contract has pre-established pricing, and terms and conditions that government buyers use to purchase from a company. These features help streamline the government sales process. While GSA contracts are usually for selling to federal agencies, you can also use them to sell to state and local governments in certain circumstances.
Before you get a GSA contract, though, there might be some questions you want the answers to, such as: “Do I qualify for a GSA contract?” and “What is the ROI for getting a GSA contract?” This article will cover both of these vital questions to help you come up with a personalized answer.
Do you qualify for a GSA Contract?
Before you begin to apply for a GSA contract, use the different GSA PreScreen tools that are readily available for your use. By using the PreScreen tools, you can find out in a matter of minutes whether or not you qualify for a GSA contract. Some of the primary qualifying factors include:
Have you been in business for two years?
Aside from IT, all other GSA schedule categories are required to have two years of business operations. You must also be able to support the time with corresponding financial proof.
However, depending on your numbers, don’t count yourself out right off the bat if you haven’t reached that two-year mark. GSA Contracts can take a long time, so if you start the process and have the right financials to back up your success, the time in business shouldn’t be a hindrance when you get to that point in the process.
Do my products “match the scope” of at least one Special Item Number?
To qualify your products or services for a GSA Contract, they must match or fit into the description of at least one Special Item Number, also known as a SIN. Your products or services can match the SIN’s subcategories as well. If you ever have any questions or issues about the categories, then you can always schedule a free consultation. The primary SIN types include:
- Furniture & Furnishings
- Information Technology (IT)
- Office Management
- Human Capital
- Scientific Management and Solutions
- Industrial Products and Services
- Security and Protection
- Professional Services
- Transportation and Logistics
What is your financial strength?
When it comes to the GSA contract, you first must meet the Minimum Sales Requirements. The requirements are $25,000 in the first two years, and then $25,000 every year after that initial first two years. Your company’s past sales must support the fact that you can fulfill the $25,000 requirement.
If you can’t meet that requirement, then the GSA will not even consider your business.
Although businesses with revenue that exceeds $200,000, generally will not have an issue proving financial strength. That is, so long as you do not have any significant debt issues. If you have experienced a loss in the past two years or your Current Ratio or Debt-to-Equity Ratio is not favorable, you may also get denied because this raises a red flag, making you as a financial risk. If your financial information is not up to par, always remember that GSA specialists with many years of experience can help you navigate the whole process.
Secondary factors to consider
Once you pass the numerical portion of the GSA requirements, the application will vet your business for service-specific qualifications. This vetting process will include:
Past performance: Your company or business entity must submit project documents so that the GSA can review them. They ask for these because they do not want you to test out new products or services on their customers. Thus, they need to know that your products were already tested and performed well. Proof of past performance can come in the form of contracts, invoices, PO’s, or anything else that proves your products’ quality. This proof also showcases your performance within the scope of the SIN that you are pursuing.
Labor Category Descriptions: You must build a Labor Category document showing specific details for each labor category. This document needs to be completed meticulously in the particular format that the GSA requires. It must include a title, description, minimum education, minimum experience, and commercial hourly rate. The project documents should validate both the labor category’s accuracy and that the pricing you disclosed to the GSA is billable on invoices.
If you’re offering products instead of services, you must include additional information. This information includes (but is not limited to):
Invoice Support: For any product-based GSA, you must include a sample of invoices. These invoices will show the GSA that you have established sales and fulfillment history. Here are the specific items the GSA will be looking for:
- Letter of Supply (LOS): If you do not manufacture the products that you are offering the GSA, you will need to produce a signed Letter of Supply from each of the suppliers or manufacturers that you use to make your products.
- Trade Agreements Act (TAA): The TAA limits the allowable countries of origin for products. The most limited countries are China, Thailand, Malaysia, and India. You must be fully compliant with TAA regulations.
What is the ROI for getting a GSA Contract?
The next thing you need to ask yourself is what will my Return On Investment (ROI) be if I were to get a GSA contract?
Before you consider getting a GSA contract, consider the costs of what is associated with it. You need to include your fees, as well as the fees associated with getting a consultant.
Getting a GSA Contract (Consulting Services)
If you choose not to go through a Consulting service, understand that you have a 90% chance of rejection. Due to the volume of applications and the perfection the GSA requires, any mistake, no matter how big or small, can cause you to get rejected.
This high level of rejection is where a consulting service will come in handy. A hired consulting service will be by your side every step of the way. Pricing can range anywhere from $3,000 to $15,000, which is well worth the costs. Generally, the higher the price, the better the services are, and the better chance you have of getting accepted.
When you get a GSA, you can get services that will help you develop your business and help you gain clients. There are a variety of different services that run from different prices.
For federal marketing services, full-service costs range from $6,000 a month and up. Partial services start at $2,000 a month. The lowest are leads, which are sent via email only with a very low cost per month. A full federal marketing services package will include GSA contract updates, website improvements, a market analysis of your competitors, and an analysis of your bidding procedures.