How Much Does GSA Schedule Consulting Cost?
Navigating the world of GSA with all its laws, regulations, and “government speak” is no small feat. Not only do you have to meet certain requirements and make sure you are abiding by certain laws, but you also have to learn a whole new language full of acronyms and abbreviations. How do you make sense of it all? That’s where consultants come in.
GSA Schedule consultants are experts who not only help you prepare a successful offer to GSA, but they will guide you to make informed decisions both before and after your contract award. They are well-versed in “government speak” and know all about the regulations of government contracting. But how much does GSA Schedule consulting cost?
This is a tricky question because it fluctuates based on several factors including what consulting services and type of firm you choose, as well as what solutions you are planning on offering to the government.
Maybe you’ve done extensive research about consulting or maybe you’re just starting your research, but as GSA consultants ourselves, we know there are a lot of factors you need to consider when it comes to the price of GSA Schedule consulting.
In this blog, we’ll discuss GSA Schedule consulting price ranges and how much you should budget for GSA Schedule acquisition as well as post-award maintenance.
But first, we need to talk about what is included in consulting services before we can discuss the prices.
What Is Included in GSA Schedule Consulting?
The details of what’s included in GSA Schedule consulting depends on the consulting firm you choose. To fully answer this question, we need to address the main things you may need help with during the GSA application process:
- Guidance—where do your products and services fit best within the GSA Schedule?
- Drafting a GSA MAS offer—this will eventually lead to a GSA Schedule contract if done properly.
- Clarifications and Negotiations—After you submit your GSA MAS offer, there will be a lot of conversations back and forth with GSA before you are considered for award.
- Post-award maintenance and support—this includes contract compliance, modifications, and any other questions you may have.
Not all consulting firms give the same level of service for the help you need. Some consulting firms that typically fall on the low-to-mid price range will give you a proposal template and some guidance and send you on your way.
When you’re inquiring about a consulting firm’s service, you should ask how they handle tasks outside of the proposal requirements. Will they charge you for every little thing that’s not included in the template? If so, you may end up spending more than you think in the end.
Mid-Range Firm Offerings
Mid-range firms usually provide adequate services, but will most likely leave a lot of work on your plate. These firms tend to offer little to no education on the complex world of GSA. When considering a firm with a dramatically low price tag, ask yourself: do you have the internal bandwidth to handle the majority of the legwork in submitting a GSA MAS offer?
Full-Service Firm Offerings
Full-service firms will take the time to get to know your company and take care to develop a successful strategy for your unique company and circumstance. They will do as much of the work for you as they can, including drafting your MAS offer and acting as the Authorized Negotiator throughout the process so you don’t have to speak to GSA on your own.
The consultants will interface with GSA throughout the question and answer phase, proposal review, price negotiations, and clarifications. These are some of the most important aspects of a GSA offer, so it’s vital you know the implications, regulations, and requirements of this process.
Some consulting firms, like Winvale, will also spend time educating you on the process and what happens after award, so you are not left in the dark once you receive a contract.
So how much does GSA Schedule consulting cost?
Breaking Down the Cost of GSA Schedule Consulting
Pricing can range based on a few factors which we’ll outline below, but assuming you want a full-service firm, it can cost anywhere from $15,000 to $24,000 for acquiring a GSA Schedule contract.
We alert our potential clients that anything under $10,000 is suspicious and could be a scam. The gap between $10,000 and $15,000 is the difference between mid-range firms and full-service firms.
As we discussed before, mid-range firms are a perfectly adequate and acceptable way to go, but keep in mind you will have to do a lot of the work and you may get charged extra for every additional thing you need.
There are three main factors that can drive the price of GSA Schedule consulting up or down:
- Business size
- Industry (what Large Categories you choose, and how many)
- Anticipated complexity of your offer
For example, if you’re a larger company with a large catalog of items, the proposal process will be more complex, and it can cost more.
Once you’re awarded a contract, you may need help to ensure contract compliance and success. This is why we suggest you budget for post-award maintenance as well, especially if you’re new to the world of federal contracting.
How Much Does Post-GSA Award Maintenance Cost?
Post-award maintenance is a valuable tool for GSA Schedule contractors. While the actual process of acquiring a GSA Schedule can be lengthy and taxing, post-award maintenance can be a lot to keep track of with the ever-shifting rules and regulations of a GSA Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) contract.
If you don’t have an internal contract compliance team or employees who specialize in contract maintenance, you’ll most likely need assistance with contract modifications and compliance. There are A LOT of regulations you must remain compliant with or risk fines and potentially lose the contract you’ve worked so hard to get.
We suggest budgeting $15,000 to $30,000 a year or $1,250 to $2,500 a month for post-award maintenance. We know this is a wide price range, but it depends on what type of post-award maintenance you choose and how much help you need. There are typically two types of plans: annual and hourly.
Annual Maintenance for a GSA Schedule:
We like to call this option “all you can eat.” You can essentially reach out to consultants whenever you need to for questions or help with a specific task. Obviously, this option is more expensive on the outset, but could be more cost efficient for you if you anticipate needing a lot of help. This option allows for unlimited (within reason and scope) services for a fixed fee.
Hourly Maintenance for a GSA Schedule:
Hourly rates are so subjective we do not have a solid hourly rate range for you, but we estimate you might spend anywhere from $1,500 to $3,000 a month, depending on how often you request assistance.
Why Are Some Consulting Firms More Expensive?
Full-service firms like Winvale have unsurpassed expertise and experience. They have worked with thousands of clients, have been in business for many years, and know how to achieve success in the GSA Schedule acquisition process. Practice makes perfect, and when you have done it thousands of times, you know what you’re doing.
If you choose a low-cost consultant first, you could end up spending just as much if not more money in the end. For example, if your proposal isn’t assembled correctly or is incomplete, it might be rejected, and you’ll have to start the process all over again.
Unfortunately, many people find us after they’ve tried it themselves, hired a low-quality company for help, or even worse, after they’ve gotten scammed by another company. As in many industries, you get what you pay for.
Yes, full-service firms might be more expensive, but they do most of the work for you, while also educating you on the subject so you can make the best decisions for your company’s success.
You’ll also be confident you’re in good hands throughout the whole process. Your MAS offer will be done right the first time, you’ll be working with a company with several years of experience, and you’ll have a whole team of qualified consultants ready to assist you with anything you need.
Is Hiring a GSA Schedule Consultant Worth It?
We can all agree government contracting is a great opportunity for your company, but it’s by no means an easy process. We recognize we are GSA Schedule consultants telling you to hire a consultant, but we are also GSA Schedule contractors ourselves, so we know firsthand how important it is to submit a quality offer and what it takes to maintain a compliant contract.
If you have any more questions about the cost of GSA Schedule consulting or want to learn more about GSA Schedule assistance, we would be happy to give you more information or help you assess if a GSA Schedule contract is right for your business.
About Marcy Dausch
As Vice President of Sales at Winvale, Marcy Dausch is often the first line of communication with Winvale’s clients, and can quickly understand a company’s needs to offer customized solutions. With over 15 years in the industry, she is an expert in the GSA Schedules program and possesses a tremendous amount of knowledge and understanding of government contracting.