The GSA Schedule is a federal contracting program administered by the US General Services Administration (GSA) that has been extremely popular with federal agencies for the past ten years. A GSA schedule contract remains the single most important and versatile federal contract for most small and medium-sized firms.
What is a GSA Schedule? A GSA contract (or VA Schedule Contract for medically related items) is a long-term contract that allows a firm to straightforwardly sell its products or services at pre-determined prices. Having this contract greatly simplifies the federal business development process. It is a five-year contract with three five-year option periods, so it is potentially a 20-year contract with the world's largest client.
GSA Schedule Contract Benefits
I am often asked what are the top benefits of getting a GSA schedule contract and so to borrow from literature, “Why should you love GSA schedules, let me count the ways.”
- A GSA contract is a type of government-wide acquisition contract, which means you can sell to any agency of the Federal government, anywhere in the world. Without a GSA contract, you would need to bid on and negotiate with agencies separately
- Helps avoid open competitions – While there are over 25 million businesses in the U.S., only a half million are registered government contractors. And only about 18,000 have a GSA contract, or less than 0.01% of the total contractors, giving you a greater chance for contract awards by eliminating the traditional public bidding process and competitors.
- Minimizes complex Federal proposal issues - enables your business to receive orders for products or services without the need to develop extensive proposals in response to lengthy, complicated GSA solicitations.
- Shortens the time for Agencies to award contracts to you - Traditional federal RFPs can take up to 269 days to award, whereas a GSA task order averages about 15 days.
- Provides marketing cachet – Agency buyers tend to be risk averse, so when they talk to a vendor who already has been vetted by GSA, they tend to trust you more. Even if the agency chooses to use another type of contract, they are confident that your firm is a “Responsible Vendor,” which is a fancy term to mean fit & eligible for contracts.
- Provides you with marketing reach and exposure - Obtaining a GSA Schedule contract enables your firm to be listed in the GSA eLibrary and provides you with access to GSA eBuy, an exclusive database of requests for quotations reserved only for GSA contractors. It also provides you with a listing in listing in GSA Advantage, which is the government’s online shopping mall.
- By minimizing federal contracting obstacles, your firm can apply your commercial marketing approaches to the Federal market. This gives you a chance to create your opportunities by pre-selling ideas and concepts to agencies and then being able to receive task orders quickly. Countless firms have pursued business opportunities with federal agencies and convinced technical staff that their product or service was great, only to be asked, "Are you on the GSA contract?" If the answer is yes, those firms are in business; if not, they are out of luck. See a video about this.
- Minimizes complex Federal contract administration – while administering any government contract tends to be more complicated than many commercial contracts, a GSA contract is far simpler to administer than most federal contracts.
- Enables you to sell to state and local governments under some circumstances. State and local governments are authorized to use the GSA schedule program to buy information technology products and services, as well as security, fire and law enforcement items. And they can buy off of any schedule if it pertains to disaster response and recovery or facilitates drug interdiction programs. The value of GSA sales to state and local governments is approaching $1 billion.