Why Hiring a GSA Consultant Could Save You Time and Money
GSA Schedule | 8 Min Read
So you have decided to get a GSA Schedule—what’s next? While having a GSA Schedule will certainly be very beneficial for your company, it’s quite an undertaking. A lot of prospective and current GSA contractors decide to hire a consultant to handle their GSA Schedule contract acquisition and maintenance. Should you consider hiring one too?
We know that hiring a consultant can be a sizable investment. It could also be tough to sell the idea to your boss or leadership. Your boss may ask why you can’t do the job yourself or why it’s worth the money. Those are valid questions, and they also just happen to be the main benefits of hiring a consultant: time and money. In this blog, we’ll help give you a better idea of what GSA Schedule consultants do, and why they can save you both time and money in the long run.
What Do GSA Schedule Consultants Do?
Think of GSA Schedule consultants as your tour guides. But instead of leading you through the streets of Rome or showing you around a museum, they help you navigate the GSA Schedule process. Just like entering a foreign country, you have to learn a whole new language full of government contracting acronyms, and you have to explore new territories with the GSA Schedule acquisition process and post-award contract maintenance.
GSA consultants will help you prepare a Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) offer and manage GSA Schedule maintenance throughout the life of your contract. Not only will they help you succeed as a government contractor, but a good consulting firm will also educate you during the process so you can make the best decisions for your company.
When compared to in-house resources, a GSA consultant understands the process inside and out and as a result, makes Schedule acquisition and maintenance go smoothly as well as efficiently. We are consultants ourselves, so we obviously have a strong opinion about this—but we also hold our own GSA Schedule contract, so we know just how much work goes into this contract and how to successfully keep one.
How a GSA Schedule Consultant Can Save You Time
What some people don’t realize is that getting a GSA Schedule isn’t just a form filling exercise. It involves a lot of work, writing, and strategy to submit a winning offer. We’ve seen companies who have worked on their MAS offer for over a year and gotten nowhere because they aren’t familiar with the process. They also may lack the time and resources preventing them from getting their offer prepared any earlier. It’s easy to give up if you get frustrated and don’t have the energy to carry on.
How Long Does it Take to Prepare a GSA MAS Offer?
We estimate it takes between 30 to 50 total hours when working with a consultant to prepare an MAS offer, and at least 4 times as many hours if you do it on your own. That amounts to hundreds of hours. Why would it take you so much longer if you do it alone? Companies that aren’t familiar with the process can spend a lot of time learning the government contracting lingo and going through a lot of trial and error.
What Happens if Your GSA MAS Offer Gets Rejected?
On the other hand, you might not successfully acquire a GSA Schedule contract at all if you are lacking expertise. The process doesn’t guarantee you an award, and GSA might reject your MAS proposal. This could be due to several reasons, but you most likely weren’t aware of the requirements, or you were utilizing the wrong documents and resources. If this happens, you’ll have to start the process all over again and while it’s doable, it wastes a lot of time and energy.
Tasking somebody in your company without the proper background and experience can slowly chip away at their time. You or your co-worker will be working so much on the contract, there may not be a lot of time to focus on anything else.
How a GSA Schedule Consultant Can Save You Money
Once you get your GSA Schedule, you can have it for up to 20 years. If it’s not done right upon award, it won’t be useful to you. If you choose to go through the process alone without an idea of how it works, you might end up with a contract that can’t be profitable or with terms and conditions as well as rates that aren’t feasible for you to keep up with.
Key decisions are made during the negotiations and clarifications process of your Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) offer, and you want to make sure you understand what you are agreeing to. Maintaining compliance is a crucial part of being a successful GSA contractor, and if you can’t meet the requirements, you run the risk of falling out of compliance.
Can You Manage the GSA Schedule Acquisition and Maintenance Processes In-House?
You can certainly decide to manage the acquisition process and subsequent contract maintenance in-house. GSA does not require you to hire a consultant, however, you must be prepared to treat your GSA Schedule contract as a full-time job.
With the time it takes to acquire and maintain a Schedule, you will most likely have to hire another employee if you want it done right. We’ve seen clients try to balance their own work with a GSA Schedule, and something has to suffer on either side. Whether it’s neglecting tasks in your normal job, or forgetting to submit a contract modification, it’s very difficult to juggle it all at the same time. Hiring a consultant will certainly cost less than hiring an employee to complete the work.
Choosing the Right GSA Consulting Firm
By now, we’ve made it pretty clear that hiring a GSA Schedule consultant can be both time effective and cost efficient. That being said, as with any industry, there are good consultants and there are some bad consultants.
If you get the green light to start researching GSA consultants, your first instinct might be to go with the cheapest option because it might look better to your boss or because it seems like a good deal. However, this isn’t always the best plan.
You want to make sure you are choosing an experienced full-service consulting firm that will spend time guiding you and educating you throughout the process. While the idea of saving money is certainly tempting, we generally find that companies priced under $10,000 for a GSA Schedule acquisition could be a scam or may not fully take care of your MAS offer. For more information on hiring a GSA Schedule consultant, check out our blog on "How Much Does GSA Schedule Consulting Cost?". If you want to learn about the cost of managing your Schedule, check out our blog on "How Much Does GSA Schedule Maintenance Cost?".
Is GSA Consulting Right for You?
Now that you are armed with the information you need to convince your boss (or even yourself) to consider hiring a GSA consultant, you might have some more detailed questions about the process. To learn more about GSA consultants and what they do, check out our blogs, “Hiring a GSA Schedule Consultant vs. Acquiring a Schedule On Your Own,” and "What to Expect When You Hire a GSA Schedule Consultant."
If you are looking to hire a GSA Schedule consultant, or you want to learn more about how consulting works, we would be happy to help you decide what’s best for your company.
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.