Is Your Company Set Up for GSA Schedule Success?
Getting a GSA Schedule contract can be a huge endeavor in and of itself, but ultimately, it’s incredibly rewarding for your business. Having access to the federal marketplace can open your business up to a variety of opportunities and partnerships, allowing you to grow as an organization. With this in mind, acquiring a GSA contract is only the first step. In order to do well in the public sphere, there is a lot of work that come with maintaining and marketing your GSA contract. Throughout this blog, we will be going over what it takes to be a successful contractor and the different levels of compliance needed.
Is A GSA Schedule Right for Your Company?
Before you start drafting your GSA Schedule proposal, it’s important to understand the scope and requirements needed to become a GSA contractor. There are a few questions you should be asking yourself when deciding if a GSA Schedule is the best fit for you:
- Does market research show that federal, state, and local governments are buying the types of products and services that your company wants to offer?
- Have you been in business for at least two years and have two years of financial statements to support this?
- Do you have evidence of successful past performance?
- Do you have the resources to market your commercial products and services after the award of the contract?
If you can answer “yes” to the questions above, you are much more likely to have a successful outcome in the federal market. Company history and experience plays an integral role in your GSA Schedule proposal, so having a strong foundation in these areas is needed.
Does Your Company Have the Time and Resources Needed to Maintain Your GSA Schedule?
Since you can have your GSA Schedule for up to 20 years, it’s important you understand the requirements to successfully maintain your contract and assess whether you can handle them. If you do not have the adequate time or resources to keep up with your contract, you should consider putting together a plan such as hiring a GSA consultant to help you navigate your contract and stay on top of it all.
GSA contract maintenance includes many facets—one example is accepting and reviewing Mass Modifications. GSA will periodically refresh the Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) Solicitation with updates and additions of relevant applicable clauses. These are issued through GSA’s Mass Modification system, which authorized negotiators on the contract have access to. In most cases, Mass Modifications are mandatory and must be accepted by all contractors.
Contractors are also required to report any GSA sales received in the FAS Sales Reporting Portal (FAS SRP). If your GSA Schedule is under Transactional Data Reporting (TDR), total GSA sales for the previous month are to be reported by the 30th of the following month using the standard TDR Excel spreadsheet. If you are not TDR eligible and you opt into Commercial Sales Practices, your company will be expected to report their sales every quarter. Reporting your sales allows GSA to calculate and collect the Industrial Funding Fee (IFF), a small portion of your sales which goes back to the agency.
GSA Schedule maintenance is a lot to keep up with, so you should make sure you have an experienced team dedicated to your contract, or you have a consulting professional to help you fill in the gaps.
Marketing Your GSA Schedule
It’s important to note that holding a GSA Schedule contract does not guarantee future sales, and it’s up to you to actively market your solutions as well as search for upcoming contracting opportunities. In order to get sales, your business needs to put an effort into marketing your contract. According to the GSA Readiness Assessment, research shows that successful firms spend between $80-$130K a year to earn their first order. Federal government contracting, while rewarding for many businesses, is a competitive sector. Marketing you contract requires you to build and maintain relationships with potential federal customers, an endeavor that requires time and energy.
How Much Work Goes Into Finding Contracting Opportunities?
Depending on what you plan on offering GSA, the government solicitation process can be time consuming. Drafting a proposal a proposal takes time, resources, and a decent amount of money. With that said, many successful companies understand how to use GSA sites and tools to their advantage, so they can get a leg up over their competitors. There are several tools used by contract holders to find opportunities, such as GSA eBuy. This system allows contractors to respond to select government solicitations including Request for Information (RFIs), Request for Proposals (RFPs), and Request for Quotes (RFQs) that are related to the offerings on their GSA Schedule.
Solicitations are very timely and government buyers generally expect responses within 7-10 days of the date the solicitation was announced/posted. As a GSA Schedule holder ourselves, we have found that it’s best to have a designated point of contact responsible for checking the eBuy platform every day to see potential opportunities.
You can also use SAM.gov to search for current, past, and upcoming contracting opportunities. Under the “Contracting Opportunities” section, you can use keywords, dates, small business set-asides, NAICS Codes, and place of performance among other filters to narrow down your search. This tool is great for seeing what awards have been granted in the past to see how you match up against your competitors, what contracts may be expiring soon and will need a new contractor, or active opportunities you can bid on.
Need Help with Your GSA Schedule?
We understand that keeping up with your GSA Schedule maintenance and making sure you are actively going after contracting opportunities can be overwhelming. We know that it takes a lot of work to run and maintain a business, and GSA contract upkeep and maintenance may not be a priority for you when balancing other aspects of your company. If you do not have an experienced team that can take the time to properly manage your GSA contract, having a team of consultants supporting your contract can give your company peace of mind.
If you want to learn more about contract maintenance, check out our blog on “How to Maintain Your GSA Schedule Contract: An Essential Checklist.” If you have questions about GSA Schedule maintenance or if a GSA Schedule is right for you, we would be happy to help.