A GSA schedule, also known as a General Services Administration schedule, is part of a government-based purchasing program. If a business, educational facility or non-for-profit organization wants to sell products or services to government agencies, a GSA schedule is necessary to make this happen. By pre-establishing terms and conditions, and pricing options, a GSA schedule contract can offer a direct line of sales to government customers.
What is a GSA Schedule?
A GSA schedule, also referred to as a GSA contract, is an agreement established across governmental agencies that does not set a quantity limit. This means that a government employee can purchase as many products and/or services as they need without having to first seek approval. Additionally, since multiple companies are permitted to become GSA contractors, there is no limit to the number of companies that can be awarded part of the same contract.
What Are the Benefits of Becoming a GSA Contractor?
There are several benefits to becoming a GSA contractor, including:
- Accumulating >$45 billion in yearly sales, so plenty of room budgetary space
- Less competition due to the smaller pool of available GSA contractors
- A streamlined sales process
- An advantageous foot-in into the federal market
- Having the ability to sell to federal agencies across the government
Should I Become a GSA Contractor?
Depending on the products or services (console furniture for government offices or aisle containment solutions for data centers) offered by your company, and whether or not selling to government entities is a concern, it may make sense to apply for a GSA schedule or contract. In order to get a GSA schedule, your company should:
- Already have experience working with governmental agencies
- Have plans to sell products or services to government agencies who require a GSA schedule
- Research if there are other contractors who may already be fulfilling products and services in the same niche
- Do market research to make sure it will be worth the time and money
Another thing to consider is whether or not your company is even eligible for a GSA contract in the first place. Eligibility requirements include:
- Company must have been conducting business for at least two years (IT solutions are the sole exception)
- Well-kept and open financial records
- Company must offer products or services that fall within a GSA contract category
- TAA compliance (regarding products)
- Performance (regarding services)
How Does Your Company Get a GSA Contract?
In order to secure a GSA contract for your company, there is a 4-step process which requires a proposal to be submitted. The General Services Administration will review your company standing including capital, assets, and performance.
This is the 4-step process required to get a GSA contract.
- Get all of the proper documentation in order. This will help the GSA to determine if you’re eligible to receive a contract.
- Put together a compelling proposal. When creating a proposal, you must outline how your company will fulfill it’s GSA requirements and ongoing obligations to government customers.
- Name the terms. When negotiating your contract make it clear that the terms are financially feasible for your business and be sure this is going to be a viable option that has a future.
- Know how to keep the contract. Once you receive the contract, will you be able to maintain it? This is important because you want to get the most out of this agreement.
Should I Hire a GSA Contractor Consultant to Help?
For many companies, applying for a GSA contract may be a tedious and confusing process. If your company doesn’t have the resources or know-how to get through this process, hiring a consultant who specializes in GSA contracts is a good option. There are benefits to having someone available who has the experience, such as limiting the amount of time your company has to spend on paperwork and potential back and forth with the General Services Administration. Hiring a professional consultant can save your company time and money as the typical GSA contract application process may take as long as 300 man-hours, from start to finish.
Some things your company should consider are:
- Will not having a GSA contract hurt your company by missing out on potential business opportunities?
- Is there a specific niche your company is trying to capitalize in?
- Are there any specific opportunities available that would make sense for your business?
A GSA consultant can definitely help you in answering these questions.
In closing, it should be noted that getting a GSA contract involves a good deal of effort. Creating a purposeful proposal is important as that will help to define the terms and conditions of how your company will function, in the future, with a GSA schedule. If your company needs assistance, hiring an experienced consultant can help the process along more smoothly.