Many businesses that aspire to expand into the Federal market often conclude, and rightfully so, that obtaining a GSA Schedule contract could be a great tool in their Federal marketing toolbox. But some firms have been led to believe that all they need to do is simply apply for a GSA contract, as you might a business loan from your bank. This is definitely not the case and there is no such thing as a GSA application. And while some people may use the term “application” in the vernacular, it tends to make one believe that the process is form driven and straightforward. This issue is not merely semantics; obtaining a GSA contract is serious business and requires a lot of thought and preparation.
Some key things to understand about getting a GSA contract:
- It is not a fast and simple process
- There is no such thing as a GSA Application Process
- There are no GSA applications forms, per se.
Obtaining a GSA contract requires that you respond to the GSA solicitation that is appropriate to your business. For example, if you are a management consulting firm, you might pursue an MOBIS contract (Schedule 874). If you are involved in information technology, you would pursue a GSA schedule 70 contract.
Submit a Comprehensive, Quality GSA Proposal
Once you decide on the appropriate schedule, you must prepare a comprehensive GSA proposal, also referred to as a GSA Offer. What goes into each GSA proposal varies depending on the schedule you are pursuing, but it entails
Yes there is a a lot of contract-related data that must be provided (firm information and codes, personnel assignments, etc).
You must provide a detailed technical proposal in which you describe your products and services, demonstrate that they fit within the scope of the schedule, provide certain operational information and proof of quality past performance and satisfied clients.
Perhaps the most challenging section is the price proposal, which requires careful and thorough disclosures of prior discounting practices.
Present GSA Pricing Carefully
Negotiating the GSA price can be quite complex and you will want to have highly experienced experts working on your proposal to guide you through this process, especially if you have either complex discounting practices or very loose pricing practices.
Without experienced GSA consulting expertise, you may inadvertently give away too much in negotiations, or perhaps use the wrong discounting data to determine your GSA price – a fatal flaw that can later trigger GSA’s Price Reduction Clause or other serious ramifications.
Conclusion - Work with an Experience Ethical GSA Consultant
That said, the upside of getting on the GSA schedule can be enormous and getting you through the GSA process need not be too painful, so long as you have an experienced, trusted adviser on your side.
Read this brief article:
Finding a Reputable GSA Consultant
To learn more about GSA Schedules and to see if getting a GSA contract makes sense for your firm, please download our free self-assessment checklist