I Have a GSA Schedule Contract--Now What?
GSA Schedule | 5 Min Read
Upon being awarded a GSA Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) contract, companies officially become contractors in one of the largest and most popular government contracting programs. This, however, does not equal instant success. As much as we would like it to be that easy, you can’t just sit back and watch the orders come in. Once you get your contract, there are a few immediate and long-term things to do to support the foundation for success with your GSA Schedule. What additional steps are required once the contract has been awarded? Let’s break down these crucial first steps.
Know How to Market Your Products/Services and Where to Find Marketing Opportunities
It’s not just about being able to sell your products and/or services through a GSA Schedule, it's about adapting and understanding your new environment and, through that, learning how to be successful within this new market. There are new sites to be learned and if you know how to navigate them properly, you can use them to your advantage.
GSA Advantage! is the biggest online shopping center for federal buyers looking to purchase products from contractors like you in a similar style to Amazon. And to get your company on it, you'll have to register your GSA contract first through the Vendor Support Center. This is something that is recommended you do immediately according to the GSA itself. GSA Advantage! is such a valuable purchasing tool for federal buyers, it can serve as a valuable marketing platform for contractors to really get their names out there and get the attention of potential sales. We’ll cover more about getting your information into GSA Advantage! below.
In addition to the place you are registering your contract, the Vendor Support Center is also a great resource for contractor education. You can use this site to browse terms, programs, and lists of compliance actions that need to be completed with your GSA Schedule.
Make sure you are also familiar with the tools that will help you find contracting opportunities. SAM.gov is a free site where you not only register your business, but you can actively search for relevant contracting opportunities. GSA eBuy is also a really important site for finding related contracting opportunities based off your Special Item Numbers (SINs).
Uploading Your Text File and Price List
One of the most crucial of the multiple programs that exist in the GSA universe that you will need to be well-versed in is the Schedule Input Program or SIP. In order to fulfill your GSA Schedule contract requirements, you'll need to upload your text file and price list through the SIP program every time there is a change, or at least every 2 years. Once your Schedule is initially awarded you have 6 months to upload your pricelist and text file into on GSA eLibrary and GSA Advantage!, but we suggest you get it done within the first 30 days if possible.
Learning the ins and outs of this program is an important part of keeping your company's information and your product's information up to date and available. Your text file contains information specific to your GSA MAS contract, including your Terms and Conditions, your specific your contact name and number, SINs, etc. This program is a little cumbersome and not very intuitive, so it’s important to make sure you understand how to use it and properly complete an upload.
It’s important to note that GSA plans to eventually phase out SIP and replace it with the FAS Catalog Portal (FCP) hopefully making the process smoother and more efficient.
Keeping up with Sales Reporting
While this isn’t an immediate action for your GSA Schedule, sales reporting is an important part of compliance. If the SINs on your contract are subject to Transactional Data Reporting or TDR, you'll need to report your sales monthly. TDR is a GSA Schedule pilot program for reporting sales in order for GSA and its partner agencies to collect transaction-level data on solutions purchased through the MAS program, and thus, your contract.
For those with SINs that are not subject to TDR or have opted out of it, there is Commercial Sales Practices or CSP. This is used to determine which of your customers or customer class is offered the lowest price which the potential federal needs to be among. So, contractors are required to report their Most Favored Customer (MFC) along with other discounting and sales practices. With TDR, you do not have to go through all those hoops, however, you are required to report your sales monthly instead of quarterly and have to file a more robust report.
For example, CSP reporting for the months of January, February, and March would be due by the end of the following month, meaning CSP would be due in April. Under TDR with its monthly reporting, your sales reporting would be due at the end of the following month, each month. And it is important to know that this reporting is required whether you have sales or not.
Sales reporting is done through the Federal Acquisition Sales Reporting Portal, or FAS SRP. In addition to reporting your sales through this portal, contractors will also be required to pay the Industrial Funding Fee or IFF, which is a fixed percentage of your reported sales earned under GSA Schedule contracts.
Are You Prepared?
Going into a new marketplace may be intimidating at first, but luckily there are many tools at your disposal. For more information about marketing small businesses in the federal marketplace and staying on top of your GSA Schedule maintenance, check out some of our other blogs we have on these subjects such as Should You Hire a Consultant for GSA Maintenance? or 8 Strategies to Stand Out from Other Government Contractors.
If you want to stay up to date on the latest government contracting news and insights, check out our blog, our resources section, or sign-up for our monthly newsletter. If you have any questions about your GSA Schedule and want to speak with someone, one of our consultants would be happy to help you.