“Our revenue grew $26.8M in 4 years on the GSA Schedule Program” – Ted M.

Will a GSA Schedule Grow Your Business? Federal Contracts

Will a GSA Schedule Grow Your Business?

The GSA Schedule, also referred to as the Federal Supply Schedule and Multiple Award Schedule, provides small businesses access to lucrative federal contracts and enables them to grow through government sales. According to the data, the federal government awarded $14.75 billion in business through the IT 70 GSA Schedule in 2016, with the top 100 firms (just over 2% of awardees) winning 66% of that business. However, 32% of all awardees, or 1,611 firms, sold $0, despite the significant upfront investment required to obtain a GSA Schedule contract. This highlights the importance of carefully considering whether a GSA Schedule is the right fit for your business before pursuing it.

Understanding the GSA Schedule Program

The GSA Schedule, also known as the Federal Supply Schedule and Multiple Award Schedule, is a government-wide contracting program that provides federal agencies access to a wide range of commercial products and services at pre-negotiated prices and terms. This comprehensive program offers businesses the opportunity to market their offerings directly to government buyers, streamlining the procurement process and increasing their visibility in the federal market.

What is a GSA Schedule?

The GSA Schedule is a contract vehicle that allows federal agencies to purchase a variety of goods and services from pre-approved vendors. These vendors have undergone a rigorous application and negotiation process to secure a place on the Schedule, ensuring that government buyers can access high-quality products and services at competitive, pre-negotiated prices.

Types of GSA Schedules

There are numerous types of GSA Schedules, each covering different categories of goods and services. Some of the most common GSA Schedule types include Information Technology (IT), Professional Services, Facilities Management, and Logistics. By offering a diverse range of Schedules, the GSA enables federal agencies to find the products and services they need to fulfill their mission-critical requirements efficiently.

Benefits of Obtaining a GSA Schedule

Obtaining a GSA Schedule contract can provide businesses with several advantages, including:

  • Streamlined access to federal contracts: The GSA Schedule simplifies the procurement process, allowing businesses to market their offerings directly to government buyers.
  • Increased credibility and visibility: Being awarded a GSA Schedule contract can enhance a business’s reputation and visibility with government agencies, making it easier to win additional contracts.
  • Direct marketing to federal agencies: GSA Schedule holders can actively market their products and services to federal agencies, expanding their customer base and potential for growth.

However, the application process for obtaining a GSA Schedule contract can be time-consuming and resource-intensive, requiring significant upfront investment. Businesses should carefully consider their readiness and the potential benefits before pursuing a GSA Schedule.

The GSA Schedule Application Process

The process of obtaining a GSA Schedule contract begins with ensuring that your business meets the necessary GSA Schedule prerequisites, such as having a minimum of two years of corporate financial records and demonstrating past performance. Once these requirements are met, businesses must prepare a comprehensive GSA Schedule offer, which includes detailed information about their products or services, pricing, and company qualifications. This process can take several months and requires significant resources, including legal and consulting fees, as well as internal staff time.

Prerequisites for Applying

Before applying for a GSA Schedule contract, businesses must ensure they meet a set of prerequisites, including:

  • Minimum of two years of corporate financial records
  • Demonstration of past performance and successful completion of similar projects
  • Compliance with various government regulations and certifications
  • Provision of high-quality products and services
  • Proof of financial stability and resources to support the GSA Schedule contract

Preparing Your Offer

Once the prerequisites are met, businesses must invest significant time and resources into preparing a comprehensive GSA Schedule offer. This includes:

  1. Detailed information about the products or services to be offered
  2. Pricing and discounting strategies that align with GSA requirements
  3. Documentation of company qualifications, past performance, and financial stability
  4. Negotiation of terms and conditions, including the Equitable Price Adjustment policy
  5. Coordination with legal and consulting professionals to ensure compliance

The average time to obtain a GSA Schedule contract is 3-6 months, but the GSA Information Technology Category (ITC) FASt Lane program can shorten the processing time by half.

Will a GSA Schedule Grow Your Business?

Factors to Consider

While a GSA Schedule can provide small businesses access to lucrative federal contracts and enable them to grow through government sales, it may not be the right fit for every company. Before pursuing a GSA Schedule, businesses should carefully consider factors such as the availability of serious prospects asking if your company is on the GSA Schedule, whether your competitors are already on the schedule and winning business as a result, and whether you have the resources to invest in the application process, marketing, and administration of the contract.

Potential Challenges

Obtaining and maintaining a GSA Schedule contract is not without its challenges. The significant upfront costs, the need to maintain compliance with GSA requirements, and the risk of not generating enough sales to justify the investment are all potential hurdles that businesses must be prepared to navigate. Additionally, the average time to obtain a GSA Schedule contract is 3-6 months, although the GSA Information Technology Category (ITC) FASt Lane program can shorten the processing time by half.

Businesses should weigh these GSA Schedule business growth factors and GSA Schedule challenges carefully before deciding to pursue a GSA Schedule. While the potential benefits can be significant, the investment and ongoing effort required may not align with the goals and capabilities of all organizations. Careful consideration of the factors to consider GSA Schedule is crucial to determining whether a GSA Schedule is the right fit for your business.

Pricing and Negotiation Strategies

Establishing fair and reasonable prices is a critical component of the GSA Schedule application process. Businesses must negotiate their standard Equitable Price Adjustment, which typically allows for no more than a 10% price increase per category item yearly, unless otherwise justified. This ensures that GSA Schedule pricing remains competitive and aligned with the government’s goal of obtaining the best value for taxpayer dollars.

Establishing Fair and Reasonable Prices

Careful consideration of GSA Schedule pricing strategies is essential for businesses seeking to maximize the benefits of this government contracting vehicle. Businesses must be prepared to provide detailed justification for any proposed price increases, as the GSA maintains strict standards to prevent unjustified price hikes. Thorough market research, cost analysis, and a compelling price proposal are all crucial elements for successfully negotiating GSA Schedule prices.

Negotiating Terms and Conditions

In addition to establishing fair and reasonable prices, companies must also carefully negotiate the terms and conditions of their GSA Schedule contract. These contractual parameters can have a significant impact on a business’s profitability and overall success on the schedule. Factors such as the Price Reductions Clause (PRC), Most Favored Customer (MFC) pricing, and the disclosure of Commercial Sales Practices (CSP) must be thoroughly understood and strategically negotiated to ensure a favorable agreement.

By focusing on both pricing and contract negotiation strategies, businesses can position themselves for success on the GSA Schedule. This comprehensive approach, combined with diligent compliance and ongoing sales analysis, can help companies maximize the benefits of this lucrative government contracting program.

Statistic Value
GSA Equitable Price Adjustment No more than 10% price increase per category item yearly, unless otherwise justified
Average time to obtain a GSA Schedule contract 3-6 months
GSA Information Technology Category (ITC) FASt Lane program Shortens processing time by half
Temporary moratorium on canceling contracts for no or low sales Currently in place due to COVID-19
Revenue growth on the GSA Schedule Program $26.8M in 4 years

Marketing Your GSA Schedule Contract

Obtaining a GSA Schedule contract is just the first step in maximizing the growth potential of your business. Once you have secured this valuable government contracting vehicle, effective marketing becomes essential to winning lucrative federal contracts. This involves two key strategies: targeting specific government agencies that are likely to have a need for your products or services, and leveraging subcontracting opportunities with prime contractors already on the GSA Schedule.

Targeting Government Agencies

To effectively market your GSA Schedule contract, you must first identify the government agencies that are the best fit for your offerings. Utilize the GSA eLibrary to search for GSA Schedules and GSA Schedule vendors by NAICS code, which will help you pinpoint the agencies and buyers most likely to be interested in your GSA Schedule marketing efforts. Additionally, explore opportunities through the SBA Mentor-Protege Program and joint ventures, which can provide valuable insights and partnerships to target government agencies more effectively.

Leveraging Subcontracting Opportunities

In addition to direct sales to government agencies, GSA Schedule subcontracting can be a powerful strategy for growing your business. Prime contractors on the GSA Schedule are often seeking qualified subcontractors to fulfill contract requirements, providing smaller businesses with the chance to gain valuable experience and exposure in the federal marketplace. By actively marketing your capabilities and availability as a subcontractor, you can unlock new revenue streams and expand your reach within the government contracting ecosystem.

Maintaining and Renewing Your GSA Schedule

Maintaining and renewing a GSA Schedule contract is an ongoing process that requires careful attention to compliance and reporting requirements. Businesses must track and report their sales through the FAS Schedule Sales Query Plus (SSQ+) Dashboard, and work with the Contracting Officer responsible for their GSA Schedule maintenance to determine the time frame for reapplying.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is currently a temporary moratorium on cancelling contracts for no or low sales, but businesses should still work to meet the minimum sales criteria to ensure their GSA Schedule renewal. The GSA maintains a standard of no more than a 10% price increase per category item yearly unless otherwise justified, making it essential for businesses to carefully manage their pricing and negotiate favorable terms.

Key Considerations for GSA Schedule Maintenance and Renewal
  • Track and report sales through the FAS Schedule Sales Query Plus (SSQ+) Dashboard
  • Work with the Contracting Officer to determine the time frame for reapplying
  • Maintain compliance with the 10% price increase limit per category item yearly
  • Meet minimum sales criteria to ensure contract renewal, even with the temporary COVID-19 moratorium on cancellations
  • Leverage the SBA Mentor-Protege Program and joint ventures to support GSA Schedule maintenance and growth

By diligently managing their GSA Schedule maintenance and GSA Schedule renewal processes, businesses can maximize the long-term benefits of their GSA Schedule contracts and continue to grow their government contracting portfolios.

GSA Schedule Sales Reporting and Analysis

Tracking and reporting sales is a critical aspect of maintaining a GSA Schedule contract. Businesses must use the FAS Schedule Sales Query Plus (SSQ+) Dashboard to report their GSA Schedule sales, which provides detailed data on their performance. By analyzing this sales data, businesses can identify GSA Schedule growth opportunities, such as targeting specific government agencies or product categories that are generating the most revenue. This information can also be used to inform pricing and negotiation strategies, as well as guide future marketing efforts.

Tracking and Reporting Sales

The FAS Schedule Sales Query Plus (SSQ+) Dashboard is a vital tool for GSA Schedule vendors, as it enables them to track and report their sales. This comprehensive platform provides businesses with detailed data on their contract performance, including sales figures, customer information, and compliance metrics. By regularly monitoring and reporting their sales through the SSQ+ Dashboard, GSA Schedule holders can ensure they are meeting the necessary sales criteria to maintain their contracts.

Analyzing Sales Data for Growth Opportunities

Once GSA Schedule sales data is reported, businesses can leverage this information to identify growth opportunities. By analyzing their sales trends, target agencies, and best-performing product categories, companies can refine their marketing and sales strategies to capitalize on the GSA Schedule program. This data-driven approach can help GSA Schedule holders prioritize their efforts, allocate resources more effectively, and ultimately drive increased government sales and business growth.

Alternative Contracting Options

While the GSA Schedule is a popular government contracting vehicle, it is not the only option available to businesses. Savvy organizations should explore alternative contracting pathways that may better suit their capabilities and growth strategies.

Subcontracting Through Prime Contractors

One alternative to obtaining a direct GSA Schedule contract is subcontracting through prime contractors. This approach allows businesses to access government contracts without the significant upfront investment required for a GSA Schedule. By partnering with established prime contractors, small and medium-sized enterprises can leverage the prime’s existing contract vehicles, such as GSA Schedule alternatives, to participate in lucrative federal projects.

Other Government Contract Vehicles

In addition to subcontracting, there are other government contract vehicles that businesses should consider as GSA Schedule alternatives. These include Governmentwide Acquisition Contracts (GWACs) and the GSA Global Supply program. GWACs offer streamlined access to IT solutions and services, while the GSA Global Supply program provides a centralized source for commercial off-the-shelf products. By exploring other government contract vehicles beyond the GSA Schedule, businesses can find the contracting pathway that best aligns with their capabilities and growth strategies.

Ultimately, the choice of contracting vehicle should be based on a careful evaluation of the business’s strengths, resources, and target markets. Whether it’s subcontracting through prime contractors or leveraging alternative government contract vehicles, there are numerous options available for companies seeking to expand their presence in the federal marketplace.

Success Stories and Case Studies

The GSA Schedule program has enabled both small businesses and large corporations to successfully grow their government contracting portfolios. Small businesses have used the GSA Schedule to gain credibility, access new markets, and expand their customer base, leading to significant small business growth with GSA Schedule. Conversely, large corporations have leveraged the GSA Schedule to streamline their government sales efforts, increase their visibility with federal agencies, and maintain a competitive edge, showcasing the benefits of large corporations using GSA Schedules.

Small Businesses That Grew with a GSA Schedule

Take the example of ABC Inc., a small IT consulting firm that secured a GSA Schedule contract in 2018. Prior to obtaining the GSA Schedule, ABC struggled to break into the government contracting market, but the schedule provided them with the credibility and access they needed to land their first few federal contracts. Over the next three years, ABC’s revenue from government sales grew by 75%, enabling the company to expand its workforce and invest in new capabilities. This GSA Schedule success story demonstrates how the program can be a powerful tool for small business growth.

Large Corporations Leveraging GSA Schedules

Large corporations have also found success in leveraging the GSA Schedule program. XYZ Corporation, a global technology leader, has utilized the GSA Schedule for over a decade to streamline its government sales efforts and maintain a competitive edge. By offering its cutting-edge products and services through the schedule, XYZ has been able to increase its visibility with federal agencies and secure a steady stream of lucrative contracts. This has allowed the company to reinvest in research and development, further enhancing its large corporations using GSA Schedules and solidifying its position as an industry leader.

These success stories demonstrate the potential benefits of the GSA Schedule program for businesses of all sizes, from small startups to large multinational corporations. By leveraging the opportunities and resources available through the GSA Schedule, companies can unlock new avenues for growth and strengthen their position in the government contracting landscape.

Resources and Support for GSA Schedule Holders

GSA Training and Assistance Programs

The GSA offers a variety of training and assistance programs to help businesses navigate the GSA Schedule process, from the initial application to ongoing contract management. This includes online training, webinars, and in-person workshops hosted by the Office of Small Business Utilization (OSDBU) at GSA regional offices. These resources cover topics such as “How to Obtain a GSA Schedules Contract” and provide guidance on compliance, reporting, and other critical aspects of maintaining a successful GSA Schedule contract.

Third-Party Consultants and Service Providers

In addition to the GSA’s own training and support programs, there are numerous third-party consultants and service providers that specialize in assisting businesses with the GSA Schedule process. These experts can offer guidance on everything from preparing a competitive offer to developing effective marketing and sales strategies. By leveraging these external resources, GSA Schedule holders can maximize the benefits of their contract and stay ahead of the competition.

Whether utilizing the GSA’s own training opportunities or working with third-party specialists, GSA Schedule holders should take advantage of the various resources available to them. This will help ensure they maintain compliance, drive sales, and continue to grow their government contracting portfolio through the GSA Schedule program.

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