The General Services Administration (GSA) developed a comprehensive platform for enterprises to tap into the government marketplace. Apart from federal agencies, the state and local government, including hospitals, tribal governments, and educational institutions, can procure products and services from the GSA contractors. GSA streamlines the acquisition process by establishing pre-negotiated contracts and driving businesses to offer products at below ceiling prices.
Federal agencies can also purchase products and services in a myriad of ways. May it be through GSA customer representatives or catalogs, phone or fax, charge cards, electronic requisitioning, in-person auctions, over the Internet, or by contacting suppliers directly, whichever channel suits your convenience.
Here are the reasons why federal agencies take advantage of GSA Schedule holders.
Accelerates Procurement of Products and Services While Keeping Costs Low
To meet time-sensitive acquisition requirements of federal government sectors, GSA handles the negotiations, auditing, and other administrative works beforehand. For a fraction of a cost, GSA contractors can deliver products as soon as agencies order them. The Industrial Funding Fee (IFF) refers to the small fee that covers managing tedious administrative work. Contractors pay .75% of the sales that business made after operating under a GSA Schedule program. This fee is issued quarterly. Plus, it incorporates the price of the item that the federal agencies need.
Providing Agencies Full Control Over the Acquisition Process
Another reason why federal agencies prefer making transactions with GSA Schedule holders is their authority over the acquisition process.
Since GSA’s primary goal is to streamline products’ procurement, agencies cannot worry about time-sensitive projects. When they can directly acquire products and services from the contractor, they gain access to the route of dissemination, the length of time the RFQ is open, and the time it takes to evaluate the quotes. The evaluation of the quotations is performed by the agencies themselves, which gives them full control over the leading time.
Moreover, federal agencies have enough freedom to modify the clauses stated in the GSA contract. It is as long as the changes they make are not in conflict with the rest of the clauses.
Request for Quote (RFQ)
Federal agencies can distribute a minimum of three Request for Quotes (RFQs) across different GSA Schedule holders. They can create an RFQ and send it to contractors through GSA eBuy. In return, they can check when GSA contractors sent their quotes and evaluate them for themselves. For task orders beyond $2,500, businesses must complete contracts outside of the eBuy platform.
How do Federal Agencies Utilize the GSA Multiple Award Schedule (MAS)?
Most federal agencies take advantage of the GSA Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) to discover the contractor who can best fulfill their needs. After receiving the quotes, respectively, it is within their responsibility to determine who can receive the task order. Once the GSA Schedule holder has begun the project, they can submit invoices directly to the federal government.
It is also an option for agencies to utilize the Assisted Acquisition Services (AAS) offered by GSA for a small fee. This option aims to provide service contracting support for orders that are above $50 million. If you are looking for another option, you can also avail of services from the Professional Services category that offers similar benefits.
Such benefits include:
- Performance-based SOW
- Facilitating market research
- Developing and distributing an RFQ
- Evaluating quotes received
- Issuing and administering the Schedule task order
To help you understand how MAS contracting works, here are three ways for agencies to avail of GSA services:
- Customer-Managed Acquisitions
The federal agency’s internal team handles all task orders to ensure that they arrive on time. It gives them the freedom to control the acquisition process at their own expense.
- GSA-Managed Assisted Services
As mentioned above, GSA assists federal agencies with procurement and contracting concerns. A fee worth 2% to 5% of the federal agency’s amount goes to GSA.
- Coordinating with other Acquisition Agencies
Offering similar services, the fees for these agencies can vary. The money transfers through a military interdepartmental purchase request (MIPR).
Maximum Order Threshold (FAR 52.21619)
The maximum order threshold helps small business GSA contractors sustain the number of goods they can supply. Small businesses have a maximum of 3 days to reject an order that they are unable to fulfill. Since professional services go through the quoting system, only the most qualified businesses can send a quote. It is important to note that the maximum order threshold does not apply to services and tasks. Task orders have no limit when it comes to size.
How to Use the Special Item Number (SIN) in GSA MAS Contracts
GSA Schedules are divided according to different categories to define the types of products and services the GSA contractors offer. For instance, the Professional services category is the general scope of work for services that provide particular expertise. The Schedules get narrowed down into different classes defined by their Special Item Number (SIN).
Navigating the Special Item Numbers (SINs) displays the SIN scope fits the task order’s range. It is important to note that a single task order may need one or more SINs to complete. Alternatively, clicking through the SIN of a contractor reveals the information about their business. This information includes their email address, phone number, company name, address, and contact point. It allows the federal agencies to reach out to the GSA contractors for further information personally. They can request a copy of the contractor’s Schedule pricelist or more details about their offerings.
Accessing the pricelist of the GSA contractor allows them to determine further information about placing an order. You can also find the following:
- Products and services offered
- Start and end dates for the contract (usually in 5-year increments)
- Order limits at a given time
- Geographic coverage (for delivery)
- Prompt payment terms
- Government purchase card terms
- Commercial delivery terms
- Warranty provisions
- Export packing charges
- Applicable terms and conditions of rental, maintenance, installation, and repair
- Order Address/ee
GSA offers space for both businesses and federal agencies for innovative and efficient products and services. Without GSA, federal agencies can have a more challenging time operating without their supplies arriving on time. From construction and management of infrastructure, procurement of goods to expert services, you can obtain them from GSA Schedule holders.