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How to Get Your GSA Schedule Proposal Across the Finish Line Blog Feature
Haley Lawrie

By: Haley Lawrie on June 14th, 2021

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How to Get Your GSA Schedule Proposal Across the Finish Line

Resources and Insight | 7 Min Read

Pulling together a GSA Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) proposal can be a lot of work. If you’ve been following our blog, you may have a good understanding of the overall process as we’ve discussed the process from start to finish on previous posts. You do your research, pull together the administrative, technical, and pricing sections, then you’re done, right? Maybe not. Working with our clients, we know that a lot of people have problems finishing their GSA proposal and bringing it across the finish line to contract award. Let’s dive in and see how to dot your I’s and cross your T’s and get that GSA Schedule proposal to award.

How Do You Know Your GSA Schedule Proposal is Complete?

You always want to make sure that the GSA Schedule proposal you submit to GSA is current, complete, and accurate. There are a lot of requirements that go into this proposal and it can be a pain when your offer is rejected for something that could have been easily avoided.

To ensure your offer is ready to be submitted to the eOffer system and sent to GSA for review, you should make sure you have everything wrapped up nicely and ready to go. To make sure your proposal is complete:

  1. Make sure you are using the most up to date templates. GSA templates change all the time. Always ensure you have the most current version for all of your GSA documents (including the Price Proposal Template, the Small Business Subcontracting Plan, among others) to make sure your offer is compliant with the most recent refresh of the MAS Solicitation.
  2. Double check that you are complying with any SIN/Large Category specific requirements. Some Large Categories, like the Information Technology Large Category F, require some additional documentation that isn’t specifically laid out in the MAS Solicitation. Be sure to read over the Large Category specific documents in the solicitation to comply with SIN-specific requirements and the ‘Category Specific Attachments and Templates’ section in the MAS roadmap.
  3. Confirm that your pricing is current, complete, and accurate. Having fair and reasonable pricing sets the stage for a good relationship with your reviewing Contracting Officer (CO). Make sure you have done your research into what other GSA contractors are offering via the CALC tool or GSA Advantage!. Consider submitting this market research with your offer to show that you have made the effort to try and make their lives easier.

Do You Really Need a GSA Consultant to Help with Your Proposal?

When submitting your GSA Schedule proposal, you need to make sure you confirm formatting for certain documents, conform to required technical specifications, and put your best foot forward with GSA the first go-round. An experienced and knowledgeable GSA Schedule consultant will be able to catch major pitfalls before they become issues with the Contracting Officer.

Potential contractors going through the MAS proposal process alone can waste a lot of time simply finishing and putting the final touches on an offer. That being said, you are not required to hire a consultant, but it’s highly recommended if you don’t have a dedicated employee on your team who knows a lot about government contracting.

At Winvale, we are with our clients through every step of putting the GSA MAS proposal together, but we take extra time and care when reviewing offers to be submitted. It’s important to know when the offer is complete and compliant and submit it over to GSA.

What Happens After the GSA Schedule Proposal is Submitted to GSA?

Once the MAS proposal has been submitted to GSA (Note: the eOffer process no longer requires digital certificates due to the transition to the GSA FAS ID), contractors should receive a “New Offer Welcome Letter” which confirms your offer in the system and shows who the assigned Contracting Officer/Specialist (CO/CS) is for your MAS proposal.

This individual will be your main point of contact for the GSA review throughout the application process. It’s important to note that the application process timeline can change considerably based on which GSA office the offer is assigned, the complexity of the offer, and the seniority of the Contracting Officer assigned.

While the CO/CS is reviewing the offer, there is typically a GSA financial review. The Federal Acquisition Regulation necessitates that contractors be financially responsible and this is what the financial review is confirming. The GSA financial officer is independent of any office that reviews the offer for compliance with the MAS Solicitation (i.e. your Contracting Officer) and if they deem that your company is not financially responsible, the review is over and the offer will not proceed forward.

Make sure to respond to the financial analyst in a timely manner. Having knowledge of the financial review process is always extremely helpful, so be sure to check in with your Winvale consultant regarding documents before submitting them to the financial analyst.

*NOTE – If your company is concerned about your financial viability or the strength of your financial statements, consider partnering with a reseller instead of pursuing your own GSA contract. You can still have access to the public sector but without the requirement to pursue it unilaterally.

GSA Clarifications and Negotiations – What Are the Right Answers?

Clarifications Process

Once the GSA MAS proposal has been assigned to a Contracting Officer/Specialist and has undergone the financial review, the potential contractor will go through clarifications of the offer. This process is meant to eliminate any inconsistencies throughout the offer and to help GSA better understand the scope of the offerings.

This is a normal part of the process and contractors can even go through several rounds of clarifications before proceeding to negotiations. Be sure to communicate with the individual reviewing the offer and make sure all expectations are met.

Negotiations Process

Upon the end of clarifications, the MAS proposal will go into the negotiations phase. The person reviewing the offer is required to try and get the best price for the government – GSA purchases do come from taxpayer dollars, after all.

The CO/CS will either conduct negotiations via email or schedule a call to discuss. Make sure you go into negotiations with your price limits in mind. The CO/CS will be looking for additional discounts in the following areas:

  • GSA Basic Discount
  • GSA Prompt Payment Discount
  • GSA Quantity Discount

This is by no means an inclusive list, but the CO/CS will almost always ask for additional discounts in the abovementioned areas. Come to negotiations with an expert that knows the market and where to give GSA an additional discount and where to stand firm in your pricing.

Once both parties agree on pricing terms at the end of negotiations, the CO/CS will work with you to get your Final Proposal Revision, or FPR. The FPR is the sign that the end is in sight.

Ensure all terms and conditions and pricing terms are current, complete, and accurate, have both parties sign off, and get the proposal awarded. It’s very important that this document is accurate as it will be the basis of your contract award documentation and will likely be referenced in every contractor assessment, so make sure it is spotless before signing off on it. Once the FPR has been signed and processed, the MAS proposal will be awarded, a contract number will be assigned, and you officially are a GSA MAS contractor!

What Happens Once You Get Your GSA Schedule Contract?

While getting an MAS contract is a lot of work and one that should be rightly celebrated, it's not the end of your GSA journey, it’s just the beginning. Once you’ve gotten your contract across the finish line, it’s important to consider all of the maintenance that goes into staying compliant with the MAS Solicitation and the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR).

If you are in the throes of your GSA Schedule proposal and need some guidance, reach out to a Winvale consultant today – maybe we can help get you across the finish line. If you already have your GSA MAS contract, congrats! You can also check out some of our resources on GSA maintenance through our blogs “Spring Clean Your GSA Schedule” and “Should You Hire a Consultant for GSA Schedule Maintenance?”

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About Haley Lawrie

Haley Lawrie is the Director of Training and Research at Winvale. She is originally from Lynchburg, VA and graduated from James Madison University with a degree in International Affairs and Spanish.

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