The United States Government created GSA Schedule Contracts to provide a simplified course of action for federal agencies to obtain products and services without going through many unnecessary steps to find the right supplier or manufacturer. Going for a GSA Schedule Contract is an outstanding direction to sell to federal agencies. Besides the convenience of finding open bids, GSA contracts also benefit buyers as it makes it more convenient for them to find suppliers.
Factors Affecting GSA Schedule Rejection
Although opting to secure a GSA Schedule Contract promises a wealth of business opportunities, it is a venture that warrants caution before diving just in. Securing a GSA Contract means undergoing thorough and strict evaluation against a set of pre-qualifying factors.
Among the things to take into consideration are time and money.
GSA Schedule Contract application is one tedious job. From the paperwork averaging to 30 pages of business information to the duration of the application averaging to 70 hours without expert advice, you must consider the time you will be committing to guarantee a GSA Contract.
Money is also a significant playing factor. Mainly, knowing how to price your products and services competitively against other businesses will give you the upper hand in standing out and even landing bids.
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Aside from these things, there are the business-specific factors that might result in GSA Schedule rejection. Understanding why GSA Schedules get rejected is the first step in dodging them. The following are the common causes GSA Schedule Contracts are dismissed:
Incorrect Special Item Number (SIN)
Each GSA Schedule has its SIN that are subsets of the Schedule offering. Selecting the wrong Special Item Number (SIN) may result in a mismatch in the products or services. Contracting Officers opt GSA Schedule candidates to choose the SIN correctly and have the most relevant fit because it directly impacts GSA sales.
Pricing is Not Competitive
One GSA Schedule rejection reason is that your pricing is not competitive, meaning it is not “fair and reasonable.” Contracting officers typically subject the pricing of your products and services and that of GSA Schedule Contract holders into comparison to determine whether your products and services are “fair and reasonable.” Contracting officers are primarily concerned with the marketability and likelihood of sales. If the prices you set are too high, there is less likelihood for sales success. On the contrary, if the prices are too low, there might be a misunderstanding concerning your sales requirements or your sales might not be enough to meet the annual requirement of $25,000.
Past Performance and Rejection History
Another determining factor in successfully securing a GSA Schedule Contract is your company’s past performance evaluations. Negative past performance evaluations do not look good on your company’s profile and thus, may lessen your chances of landing a GSA Schedule Contract.
Past performance is a complex area to cover.
Past performance evaluations typically use a blind survey. A blind survey is a market research study that does not divulge the research sponsor to the respondents. Running this type of survey is said to be one of the best ways for bias reduction in the field of market research. However, a blind survey is not without its downsides. Blind surveys make it difficult to address any adverse reports. The areas considered in past performance evaluations include, but are not limited to, reliability, cost, the accuracy of orders/quotes, timeliness, quality, business relations, personnel, and human resources, customer support, and responsiveness.
In any application effort, documentation is important. That is why missing documentation can be a deciding factor in rejecting a GSA Contract. Missing documentation refers to all documentation not included in the submitted GSA Schedule Contract application or anything not completed correctly.
All missing documentation signifies the submission encountered a responsiveness issue, such as a missed signature, a missing document, or something as basic and simple as not following a specific format or response requirement.
Another deciding factor for Contracting officers to consider in approving or rejecting your GSA Schedule Contract is your financial stability. Particularly, when your net worth does not exhibit a positive value, or your products or services lack profitability, an approved GSA Schedule contract may be out of your reach. GSA usually awards GSA Schedule Contracts to companies and businesses they deem as stable. They endorse government contracting candidates that can maintain and deliver orders from current commercial customers while supporting future GSA businesses’ growth. They gauge and determine this by evaluating the GSA Contract applicants’ financial status and project their profitability and positive net worth when given the GSA Schedule.
Aside from these five main factors that cause GSA Schedule Contracts to get rejected when unmet, another crucial factor to look out for is Subcontracting Plan. Specifically, the offeror or the GSA Schedule Contract candidate failed to provide a document or letter detailing their Subcontracting Plan. Large businesses or companies are required to come up with an effective subcontracting plan. This stipulation is important for the GSA to reach its socioeconomic goals. However, this is not a requirement for small businesses or companies.
As the old saying goes, knowledge is power. Now that you have a better understanding of GSA Schedule Contract rejections’ primary and common reasons, you can prevent future GSA Contract application rejections. Although this power is not limitless as the final decision to approve or reject your GSA Contract application still rests on the hand of contracting officers, it is enough to alter the things that you can control.
If some of these considerations are not living up to your business ideas and goals, it may be time to set new goals and look for other opportunities outside government contracting. If you feel that your business would not find success with a GSA Schedule Contract, it is best to redirect your efforts to things that will ensure your business’s expansion. On the contrary, if you find yourself equipped with a better understanding of the GSA, a GSA Schedule Contract could be your key to a more stable and successful business venture.