If you’re new to the topic, or perhaps a little rusty, the General Services Administration (GSA) administers a purchasing program called the GSA Multiple Award Schedule program. The GSA Multiple Award Schedule Program awards commercial companies GSA Schedule contracts to sell their products or services to federal agencies at a discounted price. As previously discussed on this blog, a GSA Schedule contract, or simply a GSA Schedule, is a little bit like being part of an exclusive selling network which allows you to agree upon set prices, terms and conditions with the GSA. This simplifies the buying process for different agencies and allows you to sell to the Federal Government through established long-term contracts. With that said, let’s discuss the 5 W’s of GSA Schedules!
Why should you get a GSA Schedule?
Expand your customer base! By GSA’s own estimations, spending through the GSA Schedule program accounts for approximately $40 Billion a year or roughly 10% of all government procurement spending. The program offers products and services covering a variety of industries: from IT to Financial and Business Solutions to Facilities Maintenance. Based on the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) 8.002 Priorities for Use of Mandatory Sources, agencies are required by law to procure products and services on a GSA Schedule before they purchase through a company who does not have one. This will give your company an advantage over your competitors who do not have a GSA Schedule. Additionally, having a GSA Schedule can simplify a procurement. It allows agencies to shorten their review times because the terms and conditions have already been negotiated and the prices have already been evaluated to be fair and reasonable.
Who can purchase off of a GSA Schedule?
All federal agencies of the United States government are authorized to purchase from a GSA Schedule. In addition to these agencies the GSA incorporates additional programs, such as Cooperative Purchasing and Disaster Recovery which allow State & Local governments to purchase through a GSA Schedule under certain conditions. There are more institutions and organizations on the GSA Eligible Entity list than you’d expect! From Executive Agencies to some International Organizations, GSA serves a multitude of diverse institutions, organizations, and agencies to allow them to purchase via GSA Schedules.
What can be purchased off of a GSA Schedule?
The GSA Schedule program offers products and services in a wide variety of industries. Currently, there are 33 different GSA Schedule contracts with different scopes of products and services. Last year Schedule 70 (General Purpose Commercial Information Technology Equipment, Software, and Services) alone resulted in almost $7 Billion in government procurement spending. Schedule 874 (Mission Oriented Business Integrated Services, now under the Professional Services Schedule) resulted in over $2 Billion and Schedule 520 (Financial & Business Solutions, also under the Professional Services Schedule now) had just under $1.75 Billion. Also, GSA is constantly updating and expanding the Schedules. Recently services, such as Health IT and Cybersecurity have been added to the program. You can find a complete list of GSA Schedules on GSA eLibrary.
Where can you find GSA opportunities?
GSA Advantage is an online shopping website agencies can go to purchase products and services directly from GSA Schedule holders. Additionally, GSA has a portal called GSA eBuy for RFQs and RFPs that agencies advertise to GSA schedule holders only. GSA eBuy is where contracting officers give notice about new opportunities for your business to bid on. But keep in mind you must have a GSA Schedule to participate! These are additional opportunities outside of those posted on Fed Biz Opps that are only visible to GSA Schedule holders.
When can I apply for a GSA Schedule?
Unlike other contract vehicles, the GSA has open enrollment. This means that vendors interested in becoming a GSA Schedule holder can submit an offer to the GSA at any point throughout the year to get their very own GSA Schedule. If you’ve decided that a GSA Schedule is right for your business, then you can start today! Just realize that you will need to dedicate time and resources to not only obtain a Schedule but keep it compliant and current.
Bonus!! How can I get started?
Deciding on what GSA Schedule contract you want to have, and actually going through the vetting process are parts that can be a little bit tricky if you are unfamiliar with the process. If you’re interested in getting a GSA Schedule give us a call at 202-296-5505 or [email protected] for more information.