Agencies often as a vendor during sales calls if they have a GSA number which refers to the number GSA assigns to your contract. When asked this question, the Federal agency is merely asking if you have a GSA Schedule contract and if so, what the contract number is.
GSA contract numbers follow this format: GS-XXX-XXXXX. The first two digits stand for General Schedule. The next three digits refer to the specific schedule you have been awarded a contract under a specific GSA schedule. For example, an IT scheduled 70 happens to use the code 35F. The final numbers (including a letter) are specific to your company.
Since 2018, new contracts contain long strings of letters and numbers that do not include the items described above.
If you can tell an agency buyer your GSA number, then they will smile, because they know they can work with you pretty easily.
If you tell them you do not have a GSA contract, then the agency buyer usually sighs and shrinks into their seat. That's because while they like what you can offer them, they know that contracting with you will be more difficult. (For a humorous look at such a scenario, please look at Why Do You Want to Obtain a GSA Contract - which contains a brief video)
In short, having a GSA number (GSA contract) is not required, it can be very beneficial and speed up sales to agencies. Some agencies need it for purchasing certain products or services.
So what exactly is a GSA contract? It is a five-year, government-wide contract that allows you to do business with any federal agency plus state and locals agencies in some cases. And it dramatically simplifies the ordering process compared to a conventional federal contract. Read more about GSA Contract benefits.
There is no difference between a GSA number and being on the GSA schedule, or any of the other terms listed below. These terms are synonymous with each other and are all terms that generally refer to a GSA Schedule contract.
So if an Agency asks you...
Then you can answer YES because they mean the same thing to that person. So get to yes by beginning the obtaining your contract now.
According to GSA, agencies buy off the GSA Multiple Award Schedule because of the following reasons:
Table by U.S. GSA
If you want to find the GSA contract number for any particular vendor, the easiest way to find the GSA number is to go to gsaelibrary.gsa.gov. Type the name of the firm into the search box and hit enter, and you will be sent to the firm's GSA contract information page that contains the GSA contract number and other relevant contract information.