What is a GSA Multiple Award Schedule? [Definition and Benefits]
GSA Schedule | 7 Min Read
If you’re new to the world of federal contracting, chances are you have come across several foreign terms like GSA Multiple Award Schedule, and the definitions are not always self explanatory. The government has its own jargon we call "government speak" and it can be a little daunting at first to learn the terms and acronyms associated with selling to the government, but at Winvale, it’s our job to help our clients understand.
Federal contracts like the GSA Multiple Award Schedule provide plentiful opportunities for businesses and organizations to expand their public sector sales presence, but in order to reap the benefits of selling in the government landscape, it’s important for companies to understand the basics of government contracting first. In this article, we'll break down the GSA Multiple Award Schedule, highlight the benefits, and tell you how you can get on the GSA Schedule.
What is a GSA Multiple Award Schedule?
GSA Multiple Award Schedules (MAS) are long-term governmentwide, indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contracts that provide federal, state, and local government buyers commercial products and services at volume discount pricing. Businesses and organizations interested in selling products and services to government agencies through the General Services Administration (GSA) do so using the GSA Multiple Award Schedules Program.
They are awarded for an initial period of 5 years, with three additional 5 year option periods, totaling a potential 20 year life for each GSA MAS contract. With contracts lasting up to 20 years, you can think of the GSA Schedule program as a long-term partnership with federal agencies.
GSA Schedules make the process easier for both government buyers and contractors. For contractors, the benefits of being on a GSA Schedule are expansive.
What Are the Benefits of a GSA MAS contract?
Both contractors and government buyers are looking for the most efficient, streamlined, and least expensive way to sell and purchase products and services. The GSA Multiple Award Schedule accomplishes all of this.
One method GSA uses is setting pre-negotiated ceiling rates for each product and service for the period of the contract. With pre-negotiated ceiling rates, prices have already been determined as fair and reasonable by government standards. This makes it easier to win government business, as agencies are no longer required to go through the process of determining if pricing is competitive in the government marketplace.
In addition to fair prices and easier access of purchase, having a GSA Schedule provides excellent marketing tools for contract holders. For example, GSA Advantage! is an online shopping tool where your GSA offering can be posted and made available for agency buyers to access. This is essentially the “Amazon” of GSA and allows contractors to upload products, product photos, product descriptions, and use key search words and main selling factors to optimize search results.
This is also a useful tool to scope out competitors and stay up to date on the offerors within your niche market. Similarly, having a GSA Schedule is a great asset to advertise on your company website and marketing materials. Letting potential buyers know that your company has a GSA Schedule can give you a competitive edge over non-GSA competitors.
Another advantage of being a GSA Schedule holder is having access to GSA sites that other companies do not. For example, GSA eBuy is a website that only contract holders and agency buyers may access. This acquisition tool is where agencies look to request information and obtain quotes from GSA Schedule holders. GSA eBuy makes it easy to find business opportunities, respond to government requests, and establish new business relationships.
How Can I Get a GSA Schedule Contract?
If you have determined a GSA Multiple Award Schedule is something that would be beneficial for your business or organization, the next step is completing the process of acquiring a GSA schedule.
Before beginning the process of getting on a Schedule, it’s important to determine if your organization or business qualifies to submit a GSA Proposal. There are multiple financial requirements that must first be met, including:
- Must have financial stability
- Must have been in business for at least 2 years
- Must be able to prove products and services have been sold commercially
- Must be compliant with the Trade Agreement Act (TAA)
- Must have a DUNs Number and active SAM.gov registration
If an organization can meet all of these requirements, they are then able to begin the proposal process to acquire a GSA MAS Contract.
Proposals are broken down into 3 main sections: Administrative, Technical, and Pricing. Although specific requirements for each GSA proposal do vary slightly by SIN, most of the core documents are similar throughout.
The Administrative section of the GSA Proposal mostly covers general information specific to each company. For instance, under this section, prospective organizations are required to submit financial statements, a copy of their employee handbook and organizational chart, and proof of their SAM Registration, among other documents.
The Technical section of the GSA Proposal includes a collection of narratives as to why each organization would be able to succeed on the GSA Schedule. Two of the required documents are the corporate experience and quality control narrative, which highlights the company’s abilities and organizational functions. Descriptions of past completed projects are also required, which GSA looks at to confirm that their work with commercial customers will translate to government buyers on the schedule.
The pricing section is the bulk of the proposal. Offerors must provide pricing support for all proposed products or services that support the company’s commercial price list or market rates.
If offering labor categories, you must provide detailed descriptions of functional responsibility, education, and experience. In addition, the offeror must disclose all commercial sales practices, commercial prices, and GSA proposed pricing. The pricing section itself can include up to 15 different documents upon submittal.
The New GSA MAS Consolidation
On October 1, 2019, GSA released a new refurbished Multiple Award Schedule Consolidation, moving from “schedules” to “categories,” eliminating approximately two-thirds of the total number of SINS, and modifying the format by which MAS schedules are viewed and operated. Not only did this help streamline the entire GSA process for both buyers and contractors, but it also changed the way contractors obtain GSA Schedule contracts. The table below shows the updated large categories in which all SINs fall under. Determining what category and SIN their products or services fall under is an important step for contractors considering a GSA Schedule.
Large Category Category Letter
Office Management A
Furniture and Furnishings C
Human Capital D
Industrial Products and Services E
Information Technology F
Professional Services H
Scientific Management Solutions I
Security and Protection J
Transportation and Logistics Services K
Are You Considering Getting on a GSA Schedule?
Entering the world of government contracting can seem overwhelming at first, but the rewards of entering the federal marketplace make the initial proposal process worthwhile.
Fortunately, Winvale’s team of consultants are available to provide support throughout the proposal process and can also help with maintenance and compliance once a contract is awarded.