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Table of Contents
You are here (I assume) for 3 reasons:
|Researching if it’s better to get a GSA Contract yourself, or use a GSA Consultant.||You want to learn how to choose the best GSA Consulting firm option.||You (maybe) want to learn about the process of getting a GSA Contract.|
Am I right on at least 2 of these? I think so. Therefore, this is exactly what you will read below.
Hire a GSA Schedule Consultant or DIY?
Some things are best to outsource, and some are not. Let’s compare your options.
Using a GSA Consultant
Do you have someone on staff with GSA Contract experience? If not, there are some pretty compelling reasons to outsource to a GSA Consulting company:
~ 90% CHANCE OF REJECTION
The GSA is very happy to reject your offer package, if even one small issue is found. The days of getting a phone call or email from your GSA Contracting Officer to clear something up are long gone. You are expected to read their mind and clear up any issues before submission. Does that make sense? It shouldn’t!
Getting a GSA Contract without a GSA Consultant to navigate is an absolute guarantee to face multiple rejections. Most companies give up eventually, and that is what the GSA seems to want.
TIME = MONEY
In the time that you are handling rejections and resubmitting, a GSA Consultant could have gotten you into the GSA Schedule program months or years earlier. This means that potentially hundreds of lost GSA opportunities are NOT going to your inbox.
EXPERIENCE SAVES YOU TROUBLE
With an experienced GSA Consulting company, you will have all GSA terms and conditions configured to your benefit. Also, during negotiations, you will be represented and end up with better discount terms. This is a 20 year contract! Many terms and conditions are nearly impossible to adjust after award.
TRAINING AND COMPLIANCE
Consider after your GSA Contract is awarded. Would you like to have support to assure that you remain compliant? Would you like to have a trusted GSA Consultant a phone call away? Do you want help to add to your offerings, or increase your prices? If you answered “Yes” then go with a GSA Consultant from the beginning.
DIY your GSA Contract
Maybe you read all of the points above and are still considering the DIY approach. No problem! Here you will find some helpful pointers: What is a GSA Contract. This is a Definitive Guide on the GSA Contract process.
Also, here is a basic Return on Investment (ROI) run-down if you are considering getting your GSA Contract in-house:
|$300: Open Ratings|
40 hours: Reading through Solicitation docs and forming a checklist
40 hours: Preparing the GSA Offer package
4 hours: Uploading and Submitting to GSA
40 hours: Handling rejections and resubmitting
8 hours: Clarification handling
4 hours: Negotiations
16 hours: Post Award processing
This is 152 total hours. If the person handling the GSA project is paid ~$56k a year (conservatively), then they cost ~$39 per hour. The total cost then comes to $6,228. These numbers may vary up or down, but it is a reasonable expectation.
This does not include any losses incurred because their lack of experience. Costly mistakes, or negotiating one more percentage point in the GSA Discount, can cost thousands of dollars. And, this could have paid for the use of a GSA Consultant!
Also, an employee with little or no GSA experience will increase the time to get your GSA Contract. Perhaps with a GSA Consultant you would not miss out on a good number of opportunities. This is intangible, but must be taken onto account as well.
Selecting a GSA Schedule Consultant
If you have opted to use a GSA Contract specialist, good for you! Now, you are likely going to google to find a few options online. And then you’ll compare their prices and services. This is the right thing to do!
Researching and Comparing
After this we will cover researching GSA Consultant firms, but first let’s go over what a GSA Consulting firm should do for you. If they fall short in any of these ways, then their solution is not up to par.
|Research your GSA Categories|
Matching the scope of your past performance with that of the GSA categories takes experience. This is an important first step.
There are 20 to 30 documents in a normal GSA offer package. The #1 reason to use a GSA Consultant for their services to prepare these for you. The firm should have an organized process. And they must handle everything they can on your behalf.
After the documents are prepared and QC’d, the company should submit on your behalf. If you are required to submit the documents, then they may be on the GSA’s banned list.
|Clarifications / Negotiations |
Handling the process after submission is where an experienced and contentious GSA Consultant is important. An inexperienced firm can do great damage. Many GSA terms are set in stone. So having an expert adviser during negotiations will be a safeguard.
After successfully getting your GSA Contract awarded, any firm that is worth their salt will register your company. They will also prepare and upload your catalog file, etc. to get you set-up in the GSA systems ASAP.
|Maintenance / Compliance|
Make sure that the firm will be an ongoing source of support for your contract maintenance.
Here is some Bonus advise – Most GSA Consulting firms that offer other related services (8a certification, proposal writing, marketing), are not very good at any of these services. GSA Focus only offers GSA Schedule services. Therefore, we are always up-to-speed on the GSA program. If we offered other service, then we would be mediocre across the board.
GSA Contract Pricing
There is a great range when it comes to how GSA Contract Consultants price their services. You could see anywhere from $3,000 to $15,000. As with most things you get what you pay for. But, it is also noteworthy that the most expensive is definitely not going to bring you the best value.
I have come across DC-based Consulting forms that charge on the high end just because their rent and overhead are so great. This doesn’t bring you value! These same companies will be using your company to train recent college grads to handle your GSA Offer. So, it will be slow and riddled with errors, and during clarifications and negotiations you will not be in very capable hands.
Also on this topic, some firms offer their services at a flat rate, and others require that they get a percentage of your GSA sales
There are some very bad apples in this industry – so here are a few pointers to assure you select the right GSA Consulting company for your business:
References – Any company can post a few stock photos with testimonials that they wrote themselves. You need to ask for references and call or email a sampling.
Online reputation – Research what others are saying about the company. First go to BBB, I am not a fan of BBB but if there is a group of dissatisfied customers then their rating will take a hit. Next, try LinkedIn and/or Facebook. You will see if their company page looks reputable and make sure there are a few employees.
Check their website’s Contact Us Page – If there is not address or phone number, then it may be a dummy company. A few predatory GSA Consulting firms are still out there.
BONUS – Look on sites like ripoff-report to make sure the company does not have a long history of failing to deliver on their promises.
It is VITALLY IMPORTANT to talk to the sales person and ask if they are completing the process or if they have an affiliation or white label. Do you really want to pay an extra $2000 handling fee? Also, ask them about the process and what to expect when working with them. Are you going to be working alongside the president of the company, like with GSA focus or will you be handed off to an intern.
GGSA Focus - Our Approach
GSA Focus is a full-service GSA Schedule Consultancy. Our experienced team has worked on over 400 GSA Contracts. We bring results to our clients in the form of quicker review times, competitive advantages, and beneficial negotiated terms and pricing.
Between 75 and 90% of GSA offers are rejected. In response to a rapid increase in GSA Contract submissions, the GSA has raised the bar on quality. So, using a GSA Consultant has become vital for small businesses. Otherwise, it is simply too difficult to navigate the process of getting a GSA Schedule Contract. Spare yourself the frustration and learning curve required to successfully prepare and submit a GSA Contract, and trust GSA Focus to do it for you!
We focus 100% on GSA Consultant services – from getting your GSA Contract to maintaining it with a modification to add, delete, or increase prices. We are a long-term partner in keeping your GSA Contract competitive and compliant.
Our GSA Consulting Services:
GSA Schedule Contract Pre-Screening & Market Research
Get a VA/GSA Schedule Contract (Full Service)
Manage Your GSA Schedule Contract
GSA Contract Modifications
GSA Contract Option Renewals (Extensions)
Contractor Assistance Visit Support
GSA Advantage! Pricing Catalog Upload
Trustworthy GSA Consultants
GSA Focus, Inc. has been offering experienced GSA consulting services since 2006, and we boast a success rate of 98.3%.
We Guarantee that you will have a GSA Contract in the end.
We focus 100% on one service: GSA Contract Services, so we are always up on the shifts in documents, compliance, and legislation which effects your contract.
The President of the company, Josh Ladick, will personally oversee your account. There is a clear and open line of communication at all times.
We are GSA Consultants that have built our experience and internal procedures to streamline the process, while maintaining accuracy.
GSA Consulting FAQs
You get into the GSA Schedule program, which grants you access to exclusive federal bidding opportunities through GSA Ebuy. Federal Request for Quotes (RFQs) are emailed right to you. There is also a GSA eCommerce site you can list products on called GSA Advantage.
From $4,000 to %15,000.
Prepare and submit a document package to the exact specifications the GSA require. Then see it through Clarifications and Negotiations. Learn more about Process to get a GSA Contract HERE>>.
From 3-9 months, maybe longer if the GSA is reviewing a higher number of offers (or if you get a bad Contracting Officer).