Getting a GSA Schedule: What You Need to Know Before You Start
GSA Schedule | 6 Min Read
Getting a GSA Schedule can be very rewarding, but where do you start? Before your company makes the decision to go through the process of acquiring a GSA Schedule contract, we highly recommend that you take the time to review all of the necessary qualification requirements to make sure it’s right for your company. This is done through a careful review of the MAS Solicitation document, which provides guidance for both prospective and existing contractors for obtaining and maintaining a GSA MAS contract. Within these instructions you will find the specifics on the types of documents you’ll be composing, forms that you’ll be signing, as well as the necessary steps to take to submit the offer to GSA. The solicitation not only provides guidance, but it also provides regulations you need to be mindful of as you go through the process.
However, if you are completely new to this process, we understand that reading through a hefty document may still leave you with a lot of questions. In this blog, we’ll briefly cover what you need to know about getting a GSA Schedule from the requirements to the structure of the program.
GSA Structure – Large Categories and SINs
The GSA Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) program is broken down into 12 Large Categories, which identifies what a business is offering. These categories are then broken down further into subcategories and Special Item Numbers (SINs) which correlates to your company’s specific offerings for products, services, or both.
SINs are also predicated on their corresponding NAICS, or North American Industry Classification Codes. These codes are outside of GSA’s industry classification standards which help determine the specifics of what it is that you’re selling to the government. For example, SIN 333241 is categorized as Food Preparation Equipment which corresponds to NAICS Code 333241. By categorizing this equipment as a Special Item Number, it becomes easier for potential buyers to search goods or services depending on their needs. Now that you’re a little more familiar with the overall structure of GSA, let’s dive in and discuss the required documentation needed as you begin to form your GSA Schedule offer.
Required Documentation for a GSA Schedule Offer
So, what do you need to include in your offer? The full list of documents really depends on several factors such as what you plan to offer, if you are a large or small business, if you are a manufacturer or reseller, etc. The following list of required documents for new offerors are found in the GSA MAS Solicitation document as of the latest refresh (refresh #15). These primary documents include (but are not limited to):
- 2 years of financial statements: (income statement and balance sheet). Please take note that they do not have to be audited. This also can be modified if you are applying through the Startup Springboard program.
- GSA Price Proposal Template: Pricing format of your list of products/services that you’ll be offering to the government.
- Agent Authorization Letter: If you’re using a consulting firm or 3rd party.
- Past Performance Questionnaire: To be completed by customer references.
- Letter of Supply: If your firm is offering products and you are not the manufacturer.
- Past Performance Narratives: If your firm is offering services.
- Corporate Experience and Quality Control Narratives: These documents will introduce your company’s qualities and talents to GSA.
- Small Business Subcontracting Plan: If you are a large business.
- Commercial Pricelist or Market Rate Sheet: GSA will want to know if your company’s offerings are market tested.
Of course this is not an exhaustive list, it’s just to give you an idea of what is needed. You can learn more on GSA’s Roadmap page.
GSA Schedule Offer Creation and Submission
Once your offer is complete and all documentation is organized and consistent with solicitation requirements, GSA requires offers to be submitted in the eOffer portal. GSA eOffer requires registration to establish an FAS ID for login access to submit offer and access during review and after possible award. eOffer creation requires responses to all prompts generated by the eOffer system, and all applicable documentation in your offer package to be uploaded prior to submission.
GSA doesn’t have strict requirements on how to submit the documents as long as you have them all. Try to match the required documents up as best you can by the file names, but just make sure you have all the documents you need.
What’s Next? Clarifications and Negotiations
Once you have all your documents uploaded and submitted, you’ll be getting a submission receipt from the eOffer system that’s autogenerated. After you’ve completed the submission, the waiting game really begins. From there, the package gets transmitted through GSA eOffer to a Contracting Officer (CO). The CO will review the documents you have submitted. If they are in need of any missing information or further information (typically financial documents), they will reach out and ask to disclose this documentation.
Be prepared for the CO to try and negotiate lower pricing. They may talk about quantity volume discounts, prompt payment discounts, or they may propose a higher base discount than what you’ve submitted originally. Once an agreement is reached, congratulations, the contract is awarded, and you’ll be receiving a welcome package. While this all makes it seem efficient and tidy, that’s not necessarily the case. It can take several months or even up to a year from creation to contract award. If you are new to this, it might help to have a consultant on your side throughout the submission and negotiation/clarification process.
Post Award Support and Management
When you receive your GSA Schedule contract award, you are not entering into a binding document, but rather a contract that will live and breathe with your company. There are a few requirements you need to stay on top of to remain in compliance, and one of the most frequent requirements is keeping your Schedule up to date with modifications. Throughout the life of your contract, you are likely to be in need of updates or modifications to reflect changes in your company and offerings. When you make a change that affects your GSA contract, you will need to submit the modification in the eMod system. Here are the different types of modifications:
- Administrative: change of name, address, POC, etc.
- Additions: adding a product or service, adding a Special Item Number (SIN)
- Deletions: removing a product/service or SIN off your contract
- Price Increase: Economic Price Adjustment (EPA)
- Price Reduction: reducing your pricing
- Technical: product descriptions, titles, specifications, etc.
- Terms and Conditions: create/manage clause exceptions, business size, other changes
- Change of Name & Novation: changing your company name or novation
- Cancellation: cancelling your GSA Schedule contract
- Mass Modification (these are initiated by GSA and are accepted through the Mass Mod system, and therefore are not considered a general GSA Schedule modification)
Is a GSA Schedule Right for Your Company?
Even if you haven’t had a chance to review the solicitation document yet, you’ll notice that there is quite a significant amount of information that goes into the GSA Schedule process, and it may be overwhelming. If you have any questions about getting a GSA Schedule, the process, or if you qualify, our consultants are here to help answer any questions that you may have upon your review of GSA’s MAS program requirements. If you meet all the requirements and you want to get your own contract, we also have additional resources to help you understand and navigate the acquisition process.