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GSA Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) vs. VA Federal Supply Schedule (FSS) Blog Feature
John Abel

By: John Abel on April 5th, 2023

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GSA Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) vs. VA Federal Supply Schedule (FSS)

Government | 5 Min Read

If you’ve managed to find yourself reading Winvale’s regular blog series, odds are you’ve got an idea of what the General Services Administration (GSA) is by this point (if not, that’s okay, we have some articles on that too), but you may be wondering what the differences between a Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) and Veterans Affairs (VA) Federal Supply Schedule (FSS) contract are. They’re both federal government contracting vehicles administered by GSA as a whole but they vary in many ways in terms of structure, scope, and usage. This article will provide some answers to your most burning questions.

Understanding the Similarities Between the MAS Program and VA FSS

Both GSA MAS and VA FSS contracts are “multiple award” Government-Wide Acquisition Contracts (GWACs), which means that these Schedules are established as contracting vehicles that function as Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) procurement vehicles for federal buyers. Essentially, this means that MAS and FSS awardees are able to receive and fulfill as many orders under their Schedule contracts as necessary throughout the period of performance. This isn’t the only similarity between MAS and VA FSS contracts. Other similarities include:

  • Access to the GSA federal agency customer base: Although the FSS program is administered by the VA, other federal agencies are able to purchase through VA FSS schedule contracts as well, as defined for eligibility in GSA Order OGP 4800.21. It’s important to note that VA FSS contractors are required to separate out sales attributed to VA buyers and sales attributed to other government agencies in sales reporting each quarter.
  • Quarterly sales reporting: Both GSA MAS and VA FSS Schedule contracts are subject to sales reporting and the Industrial Funding Fee (IFF) on a quarterly basis. Reports are due following the end of each quarter by April 30th, July 30th, October 30th, and January 30th, successively.
  • Utilization of GSA Advantage!: VA FSS contractors are also able to publish their catalog pricelist on GSA Advantage! for access by government buyers to create direct Purchase Orders with Government Purchase Cards (GPCs).
  • TAA Compliance: Both VA FSS and GSA MAS contracts require compliance with the Trade Agreements Act (TAA) in order to have products/services awarded to your Schedule.
  • Pricing Support and CSP Requirements: Although GSA MAS has rolled out the Transactional Data Reporting (TDR) pilot, it is still only available to a defined portion of eligible MAS contractors. All others are subject to Commercial Sales Practices (CSP) requirements and Most Favored Customer (MFC) disclosures, which is also true for ALL VA FSS contractors.

Understanding the Differences Between the MAS Program and VA FSS

Although it’s fair to say that both GSA MAS and VA FSS contracts are structured quite similarly and are set to function in parallel, it’s also important to distinguish the key differences between the two, and why they’re separated in the first place. A few key differences between VA FSS and GSA MAS can be found below:

  • Period of performance: GSA MAS contracts are awarded with a possible 20-year lifespan, broken into four 5-year option periods. VA FSS contracts are awarded with only a 10-year lifespan, consisting of only two 5-year option periods. You may get twice as much longevity out of a GSA MAS contract than a VA FSS contract run to full term.
  • IFF and calculation: GSA MAS contracts are subject to the 0.75% IFF payment based on how many sales your company makes through the Schedule. That 0.75% is consistent across the board for all GSA MAS contractors regardless of industry or large category. However, the VA FSS program’s IFF percentage differs by schedule, from 0.5% to 1%. It’s important to review the individual VA FSS Vendor Response Document (VRD) and pricing proposal documents, as well as the solicitation itself for the relevant Schedule number to identify which percentage applies.
  • Individual solicitations: VA FSS contracts are separated into 9 individual Schedule numbers, each of which is predicated on its own individual solicitation. This is in contrast to the GSA MAS program, which centralizes all industries (grouped by 12 Large Categories or “LCATs”) with one Multiple Award Schedule solicitation to establish the majority of the guidelines and processes.
  • Scope of contract: GSA MAS contracts are reserved for any products or services that contractors are offering to the federal government that are NOT inherently for medical use, meaning that items such as physical therapy products (Schedule 65 II A), pharmaceuticals (65 I B), invitro diagnostics and reagents (65 VII), among others are limited to the VA FSS Schedule and are typically not permitted on GSA MAS contracts. Given the VA’s technical expertise with regard to medical products and medical services such as healthcare staffing, offerings within this scope are directed to VA FSS Schedules.
  • Offer and modification submission process: GSA MAS contractors use GSA eOffer/eMod for offer submission upload and modification submission post-award. VA FSS contracts are handled outside of that system, and nearly everything is done via email, including submission of your VA FSS offer and modification transmission.

Are You Interested in Becoming a Government Contractor?

When determining how to either enter the federal marketplace or expand your company’s footprint either via a GSA MAS or VA FSS contract, it’s important to understand the purpose of each, and what separates the two. Both VA FSS and GSA MAS contracts can be integral pieces of a successful government contractor’s business development and capture strategy.

If your company is interested in pursuing either, feel free to contact Winvale’s team of experts today. We assist companies with the submission, negotiation, award, and post-award compliance for GSA MAS contracts, as well as VA FSS contracts. If you want to learn more about GSA and government contracting, you can subscribe to our blog and monthly newsletter. 

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About John Abel

John Abel is Manager of The Winvale Group focusing on government contracting and federal acquisition opportunities for businesses. He is a native of Stafford, Virginia and graduated from James Madison University with his Bachelor's of Arts in History.