The General Services Administration (GSA)
The General Services Administration, or GSA, is a U.S. Government agency, which was introduced in the year 1949 to manage and support federal agencies’ basic functioning. It is the organization tasked with supplying products as well as communications for United States’ government offices, provision of office space and transportation for federal employees, as well as developing the policies for minimizing the wide expenditure of the government and performing other management tasks. Actually, it has 2 key business lines, which include the Federal Acquisition service and the Public buildings services. It is a huge organization running on approximately $26.3 billion annual budget and employing over 12,000 workers. In addition, it manages $66 billion of procurement yearly.
What is the GSA Schedule?
The federal government is the largest spender on products and services offered by various businesses today. Various government agencies work with huge budgets each year. The authority to spend government money on purchases of products and services lies with the General Services Administration. Such products and services are provided by businesses and contractors chosen from a certain list. Unlike other organizations or the public, the government doesn’t have to go to the internet to search for products and services. Instead, it has a specific list of businesses that are approved and it is from contractors within this list that purchases are made. This contractors’ list from which government agencies purchase products and services from is what is known the GSA Schedule. Some of the government departments that make purchases through GSA include: The Senate, the District of Columbia, House of Representatives, Government owned corporations, Executive federal departments, executive federal agencies, the state & local governments whereby specific circumstances apply, and many other government agencies. There are many companies that can get you on the GSA Schedule, but the one with the best reviews and service is GSA Scheduler. You can also look on the GSA Scheduler LinkedIn Page for more information as well.
What Is A GSA Contract?
- A GSA contract can be referred to as a governmentwide, indefinite quantity, indefinite delivery, multiple award schedule one.
- Governmentwide means that it may be utilized across different government agencies including DHS, DOD, FEMA, or the Department of Energy.
- Indefinite quantity, indefinite delivery (IQ/ID) means No fixed amount, Open ended. Unlike the terms of the contract, its deliverables are not fixed. Unlimited amount of services or products may be ordered by any federal customer in the course of the GSA contract.
- Multiple Award Schedule means that more companies may receive a contract. A company may at any time apply and receive a GSA contract and no regulation that limits the number of companies to be awarded a contract.
Importance of a GSA Contract to a Company
- A business can still trade with the government without the GSA schedule contract, however, it is in the best interest of contractors that wish to enter into business transactions with the government to have the GSA schedule contract. Contractors on the GSA list are most likely to win government tenders.
- Acquisitions via GSA contracts are issued with full as well as open competition. The terms of contracts comply with regulations while the prices have already been considered reasonable and fair. This reduces the cycles of evaluation. The purchases may be directly made from the GSA contract of a contractor something that reduces the complicated RFP’s delayed responses as well as prolonged negotiations.
- Blanket purchase Agreements between contractors under GSA schedule and the agencies are established to meet repetitive service or product needs. The elimination of repetitive procedures of ordering by such BPAs minimizes administrative costs.
- Multiple GSA contract holders can engage in Contractor Team Arrangements to work hand in hand with an aim of providing an agency with a complete solution
- GSA happens to be the government’s online shopping mall where the government agencies log in to see, compare as well as purchase available services and products directly via GSA schedule contracts.
- Delivery terms are pre-determined- such details are established earlier. For this reason, involved parties understand clearly when an order to be shipped as well as when to arrive
- Warranties are pre-determined- contractors’ contracts state the specifics regarding how services and products are to be warranted.
- Qualifications for Getting a GSA Schedule Contract
Obtaining a GSA contract can prove to be challenging for both huge and small companies. Slightly different qualifications are required from one schedule to another, for a business to acquire a GSA schedule contract. However, the key requirements include:
- At least two years of business, financial stability
- Products commercially available
- Past performance
- Products that meet the terms of the Trade Agreement Act. In this case, the end product has to have been substantially transformed or manufactured within the United States or one of the designated countries according to the Trade agreement Act. The designated countries include:
- Caribbean Basin Countries
- Free Trade Agreement Countries,
- Least Developed Countries
- The World Trade Org. Govt. Procurement Agreement Countries.
Determining eligibility is just the first step of many steps involved in attaining GSA schedule contract. The other steps include the following:
- Required Registration – Businesses that have to enter into transactions with the government regardless of whether they do it through a GSA contract or not must acquire a Dun and Bradstreet as well as register on the system for award management.
- Past performance evaluation – One must include the report Dun and Bradstreet Open ratings historical performance evaluation, a process that can take 35 days at a cost of $185.
- Identification of the Suitable GSA Schedule – this involves picking the suitable schedule for the services or products to offer among the more than 11 million services and products available via roughly 40 GSA schedules.
- Download matching Solicitation – after identifying the proper GSA schedule, download the matching solicitation. All GSA solicitations are available on FedBizzOpps.
- Prepare a proposal – every solicitation requires information on past performance, financial and corporate information, commercial practices as well as a GSA price list. Precise format and information required can vary from one schedule to another.
- Proposal Review – the proposal is electronically submitted for review via the GSA’s eOffer system.
- Contract Negotiation – the GSA schedules program is designed to leverage the vast buying power of the government to a pre-negotiated discounted pricing. Once a contracting officer is satisfied after reviewing a contract, a conference call is scheduled for price negotiations.
- Final Proposal Revision (FPR) – once the negotiations are over, the contractor must prepare and submit the Final Proposal Revision, which summarizes the whole proposal as well as the finalized pricing as per the negotiations with GSA.
- GSA Contract Award – one week upon the submission of the FPR, a contractor will receive the contract award as well as a GSA schedule contract number. Selling may commence immediately after that.