By: Stephanie Hagan on August 9th, 2021
5 Reasons Your GSA Schedule Proposal Could Be Rejected and How to Avoid Them
GSA Schedule | 7 Min Read
The GSA Schedule acquisition process is difficult enough as it is—you don’t want to worry about whether you’re doing all this work just to get rejected by GSA. While the process involves a lot of documentation, preparation, and negotiation, it’s not an unreachable goal to get your GSA Schedule awarded. However, rejection happens. Some of our clients have come to us after trying to get a GSA Schedule on their own and they were rejected and had to start over. So, we put together 5 reasons your GSA Schedule proposal could be rejected and how to avoid them.
1. GSA Schedule Eligibility
Before you start preparing your GSA Schedule proposal, you want to make sure you are eligible first. You don’t want to get to the middle of your offer and find out that you don’t meet one of the requirements. While holding a GSA Schedule can be very beneficial to your company, it’s not for everyone.
GSA Schedule contractors must:
- Be in business for at least 2 years (unless you are opting into the IT Springboard Program)
- Sell your products and services commercially
- Be Trade Agreements Act (TAA) compliant
- Demonstrate past performance
- Register on the right platforms
- Be able to offer “fair and reasonable” pricing
If you want to learn more about the requirements to get a GSA Schedule, you can check out our blog, “Is a GSA Schedule Right for Me?”
2. Failing to Register Your Company
This might seem like a simple administrative step, but it’s a crucial one to getting a GSA Schedule. To become a GSA contractor, you need to be registered on the right platforms.
First, you’ll need to get a Data Universal Numbering System or DUNS Number from the Dun & Bradstreet site. DUNS Numbers are free and required to do business with the government. Once you register for your number, it shouldn’t take longer than 1-2 business days to receive it.
After getting a DUNS Number, you’ll need to register with the System for Award Management (SAM) on SAM.gov. You’ll need a list of information, including your Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) and at least one of your NAICS Codes. If you already have a SAM registration, you need to ensure it’s updated. You may think you’re in the clear if you registered on SAM.gov about a year ago, but you need to update your SAM registration annually.
To learn more about registering on SAM, you can check out our SAM.gov registration FAQs.
3. Not Using the Right GSA Resources
A big part of successfully submitting your GSA Schedule proposal is knowing which GSA documents and resources to use. GSA is changing all the time, and if you are using outdated documents or missing any in the offer, it could be grounds for rejection.
Helpful GSA Resources for Your GSA Schedule Proposal
We compiled a list of resources that will help you navigate the GSA Schedule acquisition process and understand all the components you need to submit a robust offer:
- Roadmap for New Schedule Offerors: This guide will outline what you need to know before you submit an MAS offer.
- Vendor Support Center: This site will direct you toward all helpful GSA sites and the right Point of Contact (POC) to talk to with you need assistance.
- GSA eLibrary: This site is essentially a directory of all the GSA contractors so it can be used to research your competitors and perform market research to make sure the pricing you are submitting is “fair and reasonable.”
- SAM.gov: Lists the most updated version of the MAS solicitation and is also the official website for people who make, receive, and manage contract awards. You’ll want to read through the “SCP-FSS-001 Instructions Applicable to All Offerors” thoroughly before you submit your proposal. This is also where you register your business to work with the government.
- GSA eOffer: This website is where you will actually submit your proposal, so it’s important you are familiar with it.
If you are also interested in learning more about the GSA acquisition process, you can check out our blogs:
- How to Become a GSA Schedule Contractor
- The GSA Schedule Acquisition Process from Start to Finish
- Four Tips for Preparing a Successful GSA MAS Offer
4. Going Through the GSA Schedule Acquisition Process Alone
We get asked this question a lot: “Can I get a GSA Schedule on my own?” The short answer is, yes. There’s nothing in the GSA rules and regulations that say you have to hire a consultant to work with you. However, if you go through the GSA Schedule process alone and you don’t have the proper GSA knowledge, experience, or bandwidth, it could end up in a delay or a rejection.
GSA is not there to handhold you through the process and can reject proposals for small mistakes, meaning you’ll have to go back to square one and start the process all over again. GSA Schedule proposals take up a considerable about of time and can suck up even more if you are wrestling through the requirements and documents on your own.
If you feel as if your company doesn’t have enough time or resources, hiring a GSA Schedule consultant to guide you through the acquisition process and stay on top of all the necessary requirements and due dates could be beneficial for you. Especially if you are stuck in the middle of preparing an offer, or if you have received an offer rejection in the past.
5. Choosing the Wrong Special Item Number (SIN)
With the Multiple Award Schedule (MAS), companies can add any of the 315 SINs to their GSA Schedule either during the proposal process or once they have their Schedule through a contract modification. If you’re unfamiliar, Special Item Numbers (SINs) further narrow down products and services from the 12 Large Categories offered through the MAS Program.
As a prospective GSA Schedule contractor, it’s important you pick the right Special Item Number that corresponds to your company’s scope. GSA may reject your proposal if you choose SINs that are out of your scope and do not match your products and/or services.
So, how do you make sure you choose the right SIN? First, you’ll want to check GSA’s Available Offerings and Requirements page to see what is offered through the GSA Schedule Program. Once you have narrowed down to a SIN, you’ll want to check each SIN under their Large Category specific pages in SAM.gov. The Large Category attachments will tell you if the SIN you chose will require any additional technical evaluations, requirements for ordering, past project write-ups, etc.
Tips for Finding the Right Special Item Number (SIN)
You’ll want to pay special attention to your SIN requirements to ensure your documentation is accurate and complete. If you select a SIN that you can’t provide the right documentation for, or if you forget some requirements in your GSA offer, it could delay the process or end in rejection.
We also suggest that you don’t pursue too many Special Item Numbers of different disciplines, and you focus on your core competency. It can be tempting to select multiple SINs, but remember, you will need to demonstrate you fit within the scope by providing past performance examples. Past performance examples also have to be from within the last 2 years or a current project that has been going on for at least a year. So, in short, if you haven’t sold it before, you can’t offer it.
Do You Need Help with Your GSA Schedule Proposal?
While a GSA Schedule can certainly be rewarding for your company, you want to make sure the process of acquiring one goes smoothly and it’s done right the first time. While we hope these tips will help you make sense of the process, we understand that you might still be feeling overwhelmed or unsure of where to start.
If you want to learn more about getting preparing a GSA Schedule proposal, you can check out these blogs:
- Common Problems Filling Out the GSA Schedule Proposal
- 4 Tips for Preparing a Successful GSA MAS Offer
If you have any questions about getting a GSA Schedule or you need help with the process, one of our consultants would be happy to help you.
About Stephanie Hagan
Stephanie Hagan is the Content Writer and Digital Editor for Winvale where she helps the marketing department continue to develop and distribute GSA and government contracting content. Stephanie grew up in Sarasota, Florida, and earned her Bachelor's of Arts in Journalism and Rhetoric/Communications from the University of Richmond.