Common Problems Filling Out the GSA Schedule Proposal
Resources and Insight | 5 Min Read
Obtaining a GSA Schedule contract for your company can be a major victory for growing your public sector footprint and opening the door to untapped government sales. However, the process of getting on the GSA Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) can seem a little daunting considering the amount of information that is required to get a contract award.
With a potential lifespan of 20 years, GSA will need to assess potential contractors on their ability to perform under GSA MAS across three different areas of the required proposal – administrative information, technical information, and pricing information. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the most common pitfalls prospective contractors will come across when crafting their GSA Schedule proposal and how to handle these situations.
Missing Documentation in Your GSA Schedule Proposal
Once your GSA Schedule proposal is submitted, it will enter the queue to be picked up for review by one of GSA’s regional offices, depending on the Large Category you’ve submitted under. When the proposal makes its way through the queue and is assigned to either the reviewing Contracting Officer or Contract Specialist, one of the first things that will be looked at is completeness.
If your proposal is missing specific documentation that is required by the MAS Solicitation, it is likely that you will be contacted by the individual within GSA who is reviewing your proposal to provide that information, or the GSA Schedule proposal itself may be rejected and kicked out of the eOffer system entirely.
In addition to filling in prompted information in the eOffer system, you will also be required to upload all the required documentation for review. Before submission, it’s imperative that the documents that are uploaded are reviewed more than once in order to ensure each required piece is there for GSA’s review.
Less Than Favorable Financials
One of the administrative items that GSA requires for ALL contractors in a proposal is financial statements. As outlined in the GSA MAS solicitation, all prospective contractors are required to submit copies of both the Balance Sheet and Income Statement (Profit and Loss) for the previous two fiscal years, so that the financial review team is able to assess the financial fitness of your company and your long-term stability in terms of maintaining a constant workflow of potential government business. These financials that are required to be submitted do NOT have to be audited, but if audited financials are available, they are preferred.
If your company has experienced a net loss, that doesn’t necessarily deter your ability to have a GSA Schedule contract awarded. However, it will make the process a little more intensive and will require additional information. When GSA begins their review of the administrative portion of the proposal, one of the first things they will assess is financial standing, so if there is a negative net income listed in either year of the financial statements submitted, an explanation will be needed.
It’s generally a best practice to provide a narrative explaining any reasoning for the numbers in the financial statements that GSA may have questions on. Explanations of items such as those listed below are crucial in aiding GSA with financial review on your company’s path to a potential contract award:
- Raw materials cost increases
- Research and development costs
- Extenuating circumstances such as low sales due to the COVID-19 pandemic
- Investments or access to capital that is not captured entirely in the statements provided
In this regard, the more information or context that you can provide at the beginning, the better. It’s also best practice to attach a disclosure statement or confidentiality statement with your company’s financials. Although the information submitted to GSA is considered to be proprietary and not subject to public access, it’s always better to err on the side of caution.
Not Enough Detail in the Technical Part of the GSA Schedule Proposal
The technical portion of your GSA Schedule proposal will help GSA determine your company’s ability to perform the type of work or sell the types of products and services that have been proposed. All prospective GSA contracts will be required to submit certain technical documentation such as:
- Summary of corporate experience
- Narrative outlining your company’s Quality Control processes
- Past Performance references and corresponding customer questionnaires
For service based Special Item Numbers (SINs), and specific product based SINs, additional information may be required in terms of technical information so be sure to review your applicable Large Category Attachment to be sure that all required information has been completed and submitted.
As GSA’s goal is to determine that your company is a good fit for the proposed scope of work, it's important to provide as much detailed information that highlights your company’s technical ability in your specific industry so that they are able to clearly discern that your proposal is within scope.
Pricing Structure and Support
Without a doubt, the most intensive and potentially difficult to put together portion of any GSA Schedule proposal is the pricing section. Addressing items such as which products or services to include, discounting terms and concessions to offer to GSA, formulating a pricing narrative, and selecting the right Economic Price Adjustment (EPA) clause for future price increases takes time and attention to ensure that all information submitted is current, accurate, and complete.
One of the most essential pieces of the pricing proposal will be pricing support. “Support” references documentation that contractors are required to provide in order for GSA to not only validate that your company has sold the proposed products or services in the past (GSA typically shies away from being the first customer of anything, except in the case of IT), but so that they can also validate that the prices set forth in the proposal can be considered “fair and reasonable” to government buyers.
Generally, the most effective forms of pricing support are invoice examples of prior sales that support the proposed price, and market research showing competitive pricing analyses within the federal marketplace. If your company is planning to submit a GSA Schedule proposal, this information will need to be provided.
Do You Need Help with Your GSA Schedule Proposal?
Need help understanding the requirements for a successful GSA Schedule proposal, or just looking for some guidance on how to prepare a proposal in response to the GSA MAS Solicitation? Check out our blogs discussing the GSA Schedule proposal requirements and process as well as tips:
- GSA Schedule Acquisition Process from Start to Finish
- Four Tips for Preparing a Successful GSA MAS Offer
- How to Get Your GSA Schedule Proposal Across the Finish Line
For more information and guidance, you can always reach out to our team of experienced GSA consultants.