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How Does GSA Evaluate Your GSA Schedule Proposal? Blog Feature
Patrick Morgans

By: Patrick Morgans on January 28th, 2022

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How Does GSA Evaluate Your GSA Schedule Proposal?

GSA Schedule | 5 Min Read

If you are looking into getting a GSA Schedule contract, you’re probably excited about the prospect of selling to government customers, but also wary of some of the less favorable elements of government contracting, like processing times and regulatory requirements. While having a GSA contract does not free you of all the burdens of federal government contracting, it does mean that you can take care of the pricing and terms from the outset so that future contracting is streamlined.

As such, the stretch of time that your company’s GSA Schedule proposal (or referred to as offer) is undergoing evaluation can be frustrating, but it’s helpful to know what GSA is accomplishing during this time period. There are 5 main areas that your assigned Contracting Specialist/Officer (CO/CS) will examine while they evaluate your GSA proposal, and we’ll walk you through each one.

Areas of Evaluation for the GSA Schedule Proposal

1. Completeness 

The information contained in GSA offers is required to be current, accurate, and complete. It should completely fulfill the requirements of the GSA Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) Solicitation, including the relevant Large Category attachment. Submitting an incomplete GSA offer will lead to delays or possibly even a rejection, which would require you to resubmit your GSA offer and restart the evaluation process. If you want to learn all the documents that go into the proposal, you can check out our Guide to Preparing a GSA Schedule Proposal.

2. Scope

Do offerings in your GSA offer fit under the GSA MAS? They should fall within the Large Category and Special Item Numbers (SINs) that you have proposed. Selecting the correct SIN(s) is important in avoiding rejection. In addition, some SINs have special requirements, so you will want to make sure that you are providing all required information when you submit your GSA offer.

3. Responsibility 

GSA Schedules can last up to 20 years, so your Contracting Officer needs to confirm they can reasonably expect your company will be able to provide your offerings to the federal government and last long enough to be worth the time and effort. Three types of responsibility that GSA looks at are: Integrity and Business Ethics, Financial Capability, and Experience and Performance Capability.

With regard to Integrity and Business Ethics, your Contracting Officer will determine whether or not your company and any of its contacts is excluded from federal procurement opportunities. You can check this for yourself through an Entity Information search at SAM.gov.

Financial responsibility is a particular area of concern, and GSA requires explanations for any potentially negative financial information. For Experience and Performance Capability, GSA reviews the references and past project descriptions, if applicable, that you submitted with your GSA offer to ensure that your company is capable of fulfilling orders to the government. If your company is determined irresponsible in any of these categories, your GSA offer will most likely be rejected.

4. Subcontracting 

If you are an Other than Small Business, such as a large business or non-profit, you are required to submit a small business subcontracting plan with your GSA offer. You will want to make sure that the goals you list in your subcontracting plan will either meet or exceed government agency subcontracting goals, which are posted annually.

5. Proposed MAS Pricing and Price-Related Terms & Conditions 

Your Contracting Officer must determine that your prices are “fair and reasonable” in order to award you a GSA contract. To do so, they conduct a thorough price analysis. Since GSA is looking for the best pricing possible due to the access they are providing to federal government procurement, you want to ensure you provide as reasonable pricing as possible. If not, you may need to explain why and prepare for substantial negotiations and potentially rejection.

Not that we’ve covered the main areas that GSA looks at when evaluating your GSA proposal, we can touch on the evaluation process.

The GSA Schedule Proposal Evaluation Process

After you’ve submitted your GSA proposal, you can usually expect to wait a couple days or weeks before hearing back from GSA, but you will eventually receive a welcome letter that explains the GSA offer evaluation process.

Preliminary Review

To start with, your offer will undergo a preliminary review. This is conducted to ensure that your GSA offer meets solicitation requirements before proceeding further. If there are any deficiencies noted, your GSA offer may either be rejected, or you may be asked to amend it with the required changes. Completion of this portion of the process is not a guarantee that you will be awarded a GSA contract.

Financial Review

In most cases, a financial review is also conducted to ensure that your company has the financial resources necessary to sell to the federal government. This financial review is not conducted by your Contracting Officer, but rather by a separate department. During this review, your company will be asked to provide documents and information that confirms your company’s financial capability. If you do not provide the required information in the allotted time, your GSA offer will be rejected.

Determining “Fair and Reasonable” Pricing and Negotiation

After GSA has determined that you are financially responsible and confirmed your offer is complete, your GSA offer is reassigned to the Contracting Specialist and Officer who will be completing the bulk of your review, to include determining that your pricing is “fair and reasonable.” This is a lengthier process than the initial review and usually involves clarifications of your Offer and negotiating your proposed pricing if required.

It’s rare for a GSA offer to go through without at least some minor changes before the award of a GSA contract. GSA Contracting Officers will usually ask for lower than proposed pricing, so be prepared to negotiate.

Final Proposal Revision

Once all issues are clarified and pricing is negotiated, your Contracting Officer will ask you to complete, sign, and submit a Final Proposal Revision, which summarizes your offer and the negotiated terms, discounts, and pricing. Once this is signed off on by your Contracting Officer, GSA will award your GSA Schedule contract.

How Long Does it Take to Get a GSA Schedule Awarded?

I know you may be curious about the GSA offer evaluation timeline. Unfortunately, it can vary greatly depending on which Large Category and SIN your GSA offer is under as well as the workload of your Contracting Officer and their branch. Do not plan for any less than 6 months, and up to a year, of waiting between submission of your GSA offer and award of your GSA Schedule contract.

Successfully Preparing Your GSA Schedule Proposal

As you can see, a lot of work goes into evaluating GSA proposals, which is why the process can take a long time. The best way to ensure your GSA offer sails through as smoothly as possible is to make sure you meet all the requirements and submit all required information to begin with, and actively communicate with your CO during the evaluation process. If you’re interested in submitting a GSA offer or have any questions about how GSA reviews your offer, feel free to reach out to Winvale and we would be happy to help you.

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About Patrick Morgans

Patrick Morgans is a Lead Consultant for Winvale’s Government Contract Services Department. He is a native of Fredericksburg, Virginia and earned his Bachelor's of Arts in Government from the University of Virginia.