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What is a GSA Schedule?

— July 1, 2020

Getting a GSA contract isn’t easy. Unlike many other contracting processes, you must deal with a lot of checks and balances. However, at the end of the day, it’s worth the wait.

Have you ever been involved in government procurement? If you haven’t, you’re a lucky business owner. Government procurement is perhaps the most tiresome contracting procedure. While we are at it, we can’t discuss the government supply system without discussing a GSA schedule. It’s a General Services Administration Contract awarded by the General Services Administration arm of the government to businesses, non-profit organizations, institutions, etc., for the provision of public goods and services.

Why Should You Acquire a GSA Schedule?

Once your business is in the GSA schedule, you can market your products and services directly to the government. Here’s how a GSA schedule helps. If you’re in the GSA schedule, your business is saved from tireless paperwork, documentation, and regulatory procedures. And this is not on a project to project basis. For the next five years, your business can market and subsequently provide various goods and services to government agencies.

The GSA contract is worth about $45 billion and can be extended three times, five years at a time. Therefore, if your GSA contract is extended three times, you have access to the 45-billion-dollar contract for 20 years.

How to Get a GSA Schedule Contract?

You need to comply with specific standards to figure in the GSA schedule. The checks and balances by government bodies are more stringent than those of private businesses. To get a GSA Schedule contract, your business should be up and running for at least two years with $150,000 in gross sales, and it should be TAA compliant.

Your business should mainly manufacture or retail products and services which the government wants. This is the underlying objective of a GSA schedule contract because government agencies aren’t flexible with their requirements.

Another primary compliance requirement is pricing. You’re expected to comply with the federal government in terms of pricing. 

There are specific steps to follow to acquire a GSA Schedule Contract, such as:

  • Download the solicitation package from the U.S. General Services Administration Website. The solicitation package gives basic guidelines about delivering goods and services to the Federal, State, and Local government bodies. It further outlines how you’re expected to prepare your response.
  • Prepare your offer, and this takes in-depth review and caution. To prepare your response, you need to gather essential company documents, seek permissions, and register on the required platforms.
  • Once you’re fully prepared, you can submit your offer electronically. An e-offer submission allows you to save and revisit your offer status and process. This is important for Digital Contract Transformation when companies can engage in solicitation digitally without doing the extra documentation and bidding. The same system can help other forms of contracting, including negotiated contracts, simplified acquisitions, and consolidated purchases.
  • The review process starts when GSA reviews your offer after submissions. A contracting officer is assigned to consider your offer. Once the initial review is over, the contracting officer engages with you to negotiate the terms of the contract. The contracting officer will only award you the deal if you meet all the necessary conditions, the pricing is appropriate, and the offer is in the best interests of the government.

Benefits of a GSA Schedule Contract

GSA Advantage! logo;, public domain.
GSA Advantage! logo;, public domain.

It’s clear that with a GSA schedule contract, your business is much more secure and stable. Here are some of the benefits of a GSA Schedule contract:

  • A company can theoretically earn up to $45 billion in annual sales because there’s no limit on the selling of products and services by an individual contractor. A federal government agency can contact you any time under the contract to supply as per negotiated terms. You don’t have to go through the sealed bidding process or any other contract negotiation stages.
  • There’s a reduced pool of competition in a GSA Schedule contract because not every business can get into the GSA Schedule. This is primarily because of the extensive documentation and regulatory checks required to make it on the schedule. Naturally, in a GSA schedule environment, you’re dealing with ample demand from various federal government agencies, with little supply to fulfill those demands.
  • As explained earlier, the GSA schedule already has price outlines and warranty offers. Therefore, there’s no need for a lengthy negotiation process.
  • A GSA contract ensures complete utilization. Unlike the private sector, if a contracting officer has awarded you the contract, they’ll make sure that they fully utilize your products and services.

Key Takeaway

Getting a GSA contract isn’t easy. Unlike many other contracting processes, you must deal with a lot of checks and balances. However, at the end of the day, it’s worth the wait if you succeed. As discussed in the above article, you gain access to a huge market and save yourself from the headache of going through tedious contracting processes repeatedly. So, get yourself on the GSA schedule and reap the benefits.

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