By: Matthew Lewis on July 14th, 2021
GSA Schedule FAQs
GSA Schedule | 6 Min Read
A GSA Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) contract offers commercial companies a whole new pool of prospective customers. Obtaining a GSA Schedule can be a bit of a process, but those who are able to get a contract are awarded with ample business opportunities.
If you are looking into getting a GSA Schedule, you probably have a lot of questions. You may not even know exactly what a GSA Schedule is, but that's OK, you have to start somewhere. As consultants well versed in government contracting, we know that the process can be confusing and there’s a huge learning curve with all the government acronyms and lingo. So, we gathered a list of key questions to help you navigate the process of getting a GSA Schedule contract.
What is a GSA Schedule?
The GSA Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) is a long-term governmentwide, indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract that provides federal government buyers with commercial products and services at volume discount pricing. Businesses and organizations interested in selling products and services to government agencies through the General Services Administration (GSA) do so using the GSA MAS Program.
GSA Schedules are awarded for an initial period of 5 years with three additional 5-year option periods, totaling a potential of 20 years. With contracts lasting up to 20 years, you can think of the GSA Schedule Program as a long-term partnership with government agencies.
GSA Schedules make the process easier for both government buyers and contractors. For contractors, the benefits of being on a GSA Schedule are expansive, which we’ll cover below.
Why Should I Get a GSA Schedule?
Both contractors and government buyers are looking for the most efficient, streamlined, and least expensive way to sell and purchase products and services. The GSA Schedule accomplishes all of this.
Pre-Approved Pricing and Streamlined Purchasing
One method GSA uses is setting pre-negotiated ceiling rates for each product and service for the period of the contract. With pre-negotiated ceiling rates, prices have already been determined as “fair and reasonable” by government standards. This makes it easier to win government business, as agencies are no longer required to go through the process of determining if pricing is competitive in the government marketplace.
Access to GSA Tools and Procurement Platforms
Similarly, having a GSA Schedule is a great asset to advertise on your company website and marketing materials. Letting potential buyers know that your company has a GSA Schedule can give you a competitive edge over non-GSA contractors.
Another advantage of being a GSA Schedule holder is having access to GSA sites that other companies do not. For example, GSA eBuy is a website that only contract holders and agency buyers may access. This acquisition tool is where agencies look to request information and obtain quotes from GSA Schedule holders. GSA eBuy makes it easy to find business opportunities, respond to government requests, and establish new business relationships.
You will also have access to GSA Advantage!. GSA Advantage! is a government purchasing website run by GSA. It is the federal government’s premier online shopping superstore that offers benefits for federal agencies looking to buy products and services. This site is essentially the Amazon for the government and allows contractors to upload products, product photos, product descriptions, and use key search words and main selling factors to optimize search results. For GSA Schedule contractors, GSA Advantage! serves as an asset for understanding the process of government procurement. It’s also useful to check out competitor prices in your field to see if you would be a competitive seller.
Who Can I Sell to With a GSA Schedule?
With a GSA Schedule, you can sell to all executive and federal agencies. However, you can also sell to certain state and local government entities and certain international organizations. International organizations include the United Nations (UN) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
If you choose to sell through one of GSA’s state and local purchasing programs, you can sell certain products and services to state and local government entities including public educational institutions, and tribal governments.
Other entities you can sell to include, but are not limited to:
- District of Columbia
- U.S. Senate
- U.S. House of Representatives
- American National Red Cross
- Library of Congress
- Federal Trade Commission
- Tennessee Valley Authority
If you are ever unsure if a buyer is eligible, you can ask your Contracting Officer, or consult GSA’s list of eligible entities.
What Are the Requirements to Get a GSA Schedule Contract?
If you have determined a GSA Schedule is something that would be beneficial for your business or organization, the next step is starting the process to get a GSA Schedule.
Before beginning the process of acquiring a Schedule, it’s important to determine if your organization or business qualifies to submit a GSA Schedule Proposal, or if a GSA Schedule is right for your company. There are a few requirements that must first be met, including:
- Must have financial stability
- Must have been in business for at least 2 years (some exceptions for IT start-ups)
- Must be able to prove products and services have been sold commercially
- Must be compliant with the Trade Agreement Act (TAA)
- Must have a DUNS Number and active SAM.gov registration
If you want to an in-depth look at all the requirements, GSA has a guide that outlines the pre-requisites and talks about what you should consider before starting the offer process.
What is the Process of Getting a GSA Schedule?
If you meet the requirements above and want to proceed getting a Schedule, here is a snapshot of what you will need to prepare in your GSA Schedule proposal:
The administrative section of the GSA Schedule proposal mostly covers general information specific to each company. For instance, under this section, prospective companies are required to submit financial statements, a copy of their employee handbook and organizational chart, and proof of their SAM Registration, among other documents.
The technical section of the GSA Schedule proposal includes a collection of narratives as to why each organization would be able to succeed with a GSA Schedule. Two of the required documents are the corporate experience and quality control narrative, which highlight the company’s abilities and organizational functions. Descriptions of past completed projects are also required, which GSA looks at to confirm that their work with commercial customers will translate to government buyers.
The pricing section is the bulk of the proposal. Offerors must provide pricing support for all proposed products or services that support the company’s commercial price list or market rates.
If offering labor categories, you must provide detailed descriptions of functional responsibility, education, and experience. In addition, the offeror must disclose all Commercial Sales Practices (unless you are doing Transactional Data Reporting), commercial prices, and GSA proposed pricing. The pricing section itself can include up to 15 different documents upon submittal.
If you would like to learn more about the GSA Schedule acquisition process, you can check out our blog, "The GSA Schedule Acquisition Process from Start to Finish."
Want to Learn More About Getting a GSA Schedule?
The more you know about GSA Schedules before and during the Schedule acquisition process, the more likely you are to be familiar with GSA terms when your contract is awarded. Having a working knowledge of your contract is the best practice for having success in the government space.
If you want to learn more about getting a GSA Schedule, you can check out a few of our blogs:
- Is a GSA Schedule Right for Me?
- The Essential GSA Schedule Guide
- The Ultimate Guide to the GSA Schedule
If you have any questions about a GSA Schedule or if you need help getting one, we are here to help.