Prior to or immediately after your GSA contract award, you should have a training session to brief sales reps on the benefits and requirements of this new GSA contract. The basics include
- What is a GSA schedule?
- Why and when do agencies use a GSA contract?
- What are the prices you charge agencies
But beyond those basic, yet essential topics, you should also cover these top questions that sales people ask and need to know:
- Who can buy off the GSA schedule?
- Must we accept all orders from agencies?
- What are Open Market Items?
- How does this affect our pricing
Who can buy off the GSA schedule?
Federal agencies are the largest group of buyers in the GSA schedule program, but other organizations are eligible to buy off the GSA schedules. By Federal agencies, we mean all the departments and independent agencies that form the executive branch of government. By agreement, Congress and the Judiciary may also buy off of GSA schedules. Other groups include
- Federally chartered corporations
- District of Colombia government
- Some other organizations such as the Red Cross
- International Organizations (e.g. UN)
- Federal prime contractors IF authorized by their government contracting officer.
GSA publishes a document entitled “Eligibility to Use GSA Sources of Supply and Services” that lists the eligible organizations. This list changes periodically so go to GSA’s website and search on the title.
Must we accept all orders?
For orders above the minimum order specified in each Schedule contract, up to the maximum order threshold, GSA Schedule contractors are obligated to accept orders placed by agencies and activities within the executive branch of the federal government. Schedule contractors are not obligated but are encouraged, to accept orders from agencies and activities outside the executive branch. If you do not want to accept an order, be sure to review the requirements if you refuse an order.
What are Open Market Items?
Sales reps also ask about a term they hear, “Open Market Items.” Open-Market items are also known as:
- Incidental Items
- Non-Contract Items
- Non-Schedule Items
- Other Direct Costs (ODC’s)
Simply put, these are items that you do not have listed within your GSA contract. these items might be incidental to the products or services you are delivering, or simply a new product that you have not yet added to the contract.
Except for eBuy orders (which do not allow open market item sales), you are allowed to put open market items on your quote to agencies so long as you clearly identify those items as such on the quotation and subsequent invoice.
It is essential, however, that a vendor identify those items that are not on their schedule in quotes or proposals and invoices. Simply state "Open Market Item" in parentheses after each item.
You should call attention to this by inserting a statement on these documents similar to: "This quote/invoice contains open market items which we have identified on specified line items. Open market items are allowed under as stated in FAR 8.402(f)"
How does A GSA Contract affect our commercial pricing?
GSA contract pricing is tied to your commercial pricing, and the pricing you provided your most favored customer (known as the basis of award customer). The most important thing to tell your sales reps is how your GSA pricing is calculated and how this represents the ceiling price you may charge a Federal agency if it is a GSA order. Reps will also want to know if they are allowed to give spot discounts to agencies and the answer is yes.
Make sure you describe the Price Reduction clause and how it affects not only government pricing but its impact on commercial pricing as this is one of the most significant areas of contract violations that can have a major impact on contract compliance.
This does not apply if your contract was negotiated under the Transactional Data Reporting (TDR) program.
Selling using your New GSA Schedule
Get your contract off to a good start by training salespeople right away. TurboGSA offers a course entitled, Selling using your New GSA Schedule that covers all of the above topics and more. This course is delivered at your office and is adapted to your specific contract.