What is a GSA Schedule Contract?
Winning a GSA Schedule Contract can be a life-changer for a business. But what is a GSA Schedule? How can one obtain a GSA Schedule contract? Is it really as promising as promoted? We’ll try to give a brief answer in this article.
What is GSA
GSA stands for the General Services Administration. This government agency manages and supports the functioning of other federal agencies. Among its other responsibilities, the GSA maintains federal acquisition and provides one of the highest budget contracting vehicles – GSA Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) contracts.
What is a GSA Schedule
Multiple Award Schedule, or simply Schedule, is a contracting vehicle that allows the federal government to purchase products and services from commercial businesses, including those small privately-owned businesses that make up the majority of sales in the U.S.
Let’s prune this down to essential basics. Examples of government agencies are the Department of Defense, the Department of Education, the U.S. Army, the Department of Health and Human Services, and so on. Municipal, local, tribal and state governments are also government agencies. Every time a federal agency needs something, such as complex machinery, firearms, construction services, office supplies, furniture, or even towels and toilet paper; it orders these services, products or supplies by publishing a solicitation. Then, every company that holds a GSA Schedule in the corresponding category can respond to this solicitation, and possibly win it. Once it does, the government agency awards the company a GSA Schedule contract. Now, as long as this contract is valid (typically 5 years), the business can sell to the government its products with minimum hassle.
A secured GSA contract means stable sales for the entire period of validity of the contract. That is why obtaining a GSA Schedule is such a desirable goal for many businesses, from giants like Boeing, to small family businesses. The other reason is the budget. While GSA Schedules are not the only way to sell to the government, they facilitated nearly $40 billion in sales in FY 2020.
How to Obtain a GSA Schedule
Obtaining a GSA Schedule is a multi-stage process that begins with doing your homework and fulfilling all the prerequisites to GSA Schedule application submission, and ends, or so to speak continues, with marketing your offer on the federal market. On average, obtaining a GSA Schedule contract takes from 6 to 12 months.
Basic requirements for a business willing to compete for a GSA contract are:
- Financial stability
- 2 years in business
- Compliance (including TAA compliance)
- Good Past Performance record
- Products must be commercially available
There is no requirement to the size of your business, but there is a requirement for minimum annual sales. Specifically, your business must generate gross minimum revenue of at least $100,000 per year.
The following steps are obligatory to obtain a contract:
- Compose your proposal and submit it to the GSA via the effort platform.
- Review of your proposal by a contracting officer.
- Negotiation of prices, terms and conditions of your offer.
- Signing of a Final Proposal Revision and having a contract awarded.
Surely, the above is a very simplified backbone of what a business is required to do before a GSA contract will be awarded to it. Grasping all the details requires time and diligence, so many business owners often choose to delegate the process of preparing a proposal and obtaining a GSA contract to a third-party agent. If you have no extra time to learn all the cobwebs of government contracting, consider this option as well.