Hiring a GSA Schedule Consultant: Questions To Ask and Red Flags to Avoid
GSA Schedule | 4 Min Read
Acquiring and managing a GSA Schedule contract is full of decisions--first you have to decide if it's right for your company, then how you are going to handle submitting the GSA Schedule offer, and lastly, how you will effectively manage your contract once it's awarded. These decisions may have also prompted you to ask yourself if you need to hire a GSA consultant to help you throughout the entire process, because it's lengthy and can be overwhelming.
Becoming a government contractor is rewarding, but can be complicated--the last thing you need is to hire a GSA consultant who leaves you with all the work, or negotiates a contract you can't keep up with. So, we put together this blog so you can be confident about who you hire.
Who Are GSA Consultants?
Once you decide whether you need help from a GSA Schedule consultant, choosing the right firm can be an arduous process. When you are looking to hire any service from renovating your house to outsources IT assistance, you want to make sure you are hiring someone who is experienced, communicative, and most importantly, comprehensive.
Before you go about researching and reaching out to consulting firms, you should have a general understanding of what GSA Schedule consultants do. The obvious answer is they will help you prepare a successful GSA Schedule offer and handle GSA Schedule maintenance throughout the life of your contract. However, a comprehensive firm will also educate you throughout the process so you can make the best decisions for your company.
An experienced consultant should also be able to help you determine what is necessary to achieve success in your GSA Schedule from the proposal to the end of your contract term. You should feel like your consultant is your guide, leading you through the red tape, government jargon, and each step of the GSA Schedule acquisition process.
7 Questions You Need to Ask a Prospective GSA Consultant
Now that you have an idea of the services GSA consultants should perform, you should be able to narrow your selection down. For those with little knowledge of the government market or the GSA Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) program, we have developed the following list of helpful questions to ask when you are hiring a GSA consultant, so you can be sure you are choosing an experienced and dedicated firm:
- How is your approach different from other competing consulting firms?
- How much of the GSA Schedule acquisition process do you handle? What about for GSA Schedule maintenance?
- How many years of experience does your firm have?
- How do you leverage your clients' strengths and capabilities during the negotiation process?
- What is your familiarity with systems such as eOffer/eMod, the System for Award Management (SAM). GSA eBuy, GSA Advantage!, and the Vendor Support Center (VSC)?
- What types of contracts do you have experience with?
- What kind of post-award training do you offer?
Red flags to Avoid When Hiring a GSA Consultant
Avoid organizations that promise you a set deadline. GSA Schedule contract award is a difficult process that takes months and sometimes up to a year to complete. As consultants who have worked on thousands of acquisitions, we cannot guarantee a set timeline for your GSA Schedule award. If a company boasts they can get you your own prime GSA contract in 6 weeks, you should be very wary.
As a side note, if you choose to partner with an authorized GSA reseller on their GSA Schedule, or you are eligible for the FASt Lane program, you can generally get on the GSA Schedule faster. But if you are looking to get your own prime contract, fast timelines cannot be promised. In addition, companies that promise “short cuts” are likely not what you are looking for.
Guaranteeing Government Business
A good GSA consultant will perform initial market research to see where your products and services will fit into the market, and will equip you with the knowledge and tools you need to market your GSA Schedule. However, no consultant is able to 100% guarantee government business. It's up to you to be proactive in researching contract opportunities and making sure your solutions are visible to government customers.
The Price is Too Good to Be True
We are aware that most companies don't have an unlimited budget and you want to find the best price, but there's a difference between finding the cheapest price and getting the best value. There's no sugar coating it, getting a GSA Schedule is a lot of work and you don't want to shell out a couple thousand for a shoddy job and failed award. If you pay GSA consultants a decent amount, you should expect comprehensive and first rate service.
Be careful of consultants who brag about getting a complete acquisition for a low sum. Some "scammy" firms will give you a template and send you on your way with little guidance, leaving you to complete the actual offer submission and negotiations process alone. If you want to learn more about pricing tiers and how to get the best value, check out our blog on "How Much Does GSA Schedule Consulting Cost?"
Hiring a Consultant: What's Next
Hopefully the simple questions above and the red flags to watch out for can help you gauge experience and tease out any details that could create complications. But you may still have a few questions or maybe you need help getting your leadership on board with the idea. If you want to learn more about hiring a consultant, check out some of our blogs below:
- What to Expect When You Hire a GSA Schedule Consultant
- Why Hiring a Consultant Could Save You Time and Money
- How Much Does GSA Schedule Consulting Cost?
If you want to learn more about our consulting services or if you need help figuring out what path is best for your company, one of our consultants would be happy to speak with you.