This article will guide you through the entire process of GSA proposal preparation, step-by-step. If you want to know how to become a GSA Schedule contractor, please refer to this article.
So, why prepare for GSA?
General Services Administration manages the purchasing process of goods and services for hundreds of the USA government agencies. When a federal or municipal authority needs to purchase goods or services, it must do this via the GSA.
GSA closely scrutinizes each company that applies to offer its goods or services to the government.. The GSA certification process requires you to gather and fill out a number of documents including:
- company’s finances
- past experience
- products and services offered
- business dealings
These steps are known as GSA Contract preparation.
Appropriate GSA Contract preparation is essential. Here’s why:
The GSA certification process is well documented on the General Services Administration website. However, 50% of the submissions are rejected due to the high standards that must be met and nuances of the submission process.
Rejected proposals are able to be resubmitted, however, each offer takes up to 120 days to review, potentially costing your business time and revenue.
Because of the high accuracy requirements for each document within the solicitation, elaborate preparations are necessary.
This is why GSA Schedule preparation services are so common: you can easily miss one point here or select wrong SIN there, and end up with your offer declined after months of preparations.
How to prepare a GSA offer to win an award
GSA requires you to submit your proposal using a specialized service, eOffer. This service allows you to submit Contract Offers to GSA or modify previously submitted offers to fix issues a GSA officer found.
Filling forms – Should this be Filing?
Before you submit your proposal to eOffer, you may need to fill out an Agent Authorization Letter and/or a Letter of Supply form, if applicable.
Agent Authorization Letter
If you intend to delegate your GSA schedule preparation to a third-party service or hire a GSA consultant, then you would need to submit an Agent Authorization. This letter confirms that you authorize your agent to perform specific activities on your behalf, such as negotiating contracts, communicating with the Government, submitting prices, and so on.
Letter of Supply
If the offeror of the contract is not the manufacturer of the proposed product, the Letter of Supply must be provided. This letter confirms that the offeror is able to provide an uninterrupted supply of the proposed product that satisfies Government requirements for the entire period of the Contract.
Creating a price proposal
You must demonstrate that your prices are fair and competitive by providing price sheets, published catalogs, invoices, contracts etc. Additionally, you must complete the Price Proposal Template available on GSA.gov.
Displaying Sample Labor Category Matrix
Complete this if you plan to offer services to the government (such as cleaning services or software development services). Ultimately, you must prove to the Government that your company is qualified and experienced enough to offer its services to the Gov’t.
Compiling financial information
Providing your financial information is a critical part of the GSA contract checklist as the government wants to ensure your business is financially sound and will continue to be in business for the length of the contract. Additionally, there is a minimum annual revenue requirement that you must comply with.
Financial statements for previous two years
Gather information on your financial balance and income statement. You will submit this information on eOffer. Note that the list of specific documents may vary depending on the actual solicitation you apply for.
Only required for “non-small businesses”. GSA wants bigger or non-profit organizations to provide opportunities to small businesses who can perform successfully as subcontractors. On this step you should provide a subcontracting plan that includes the total dollars allocated to subcontractors. To learn if the government considers your business small or large, go here.
Compiling technical information
This part of the GSA proposal preparation should address several technical factors, specifically:
- Corporate Experience. Provide a brief (under 10.000 characters) narrative on your company’s history, number of employees, relevant activities, available resources, and past experience.
- Past Performance. Provide Past Performance Evaluation report from Open Ratings, Inc. You must provide at least six persons or companies that have purchased relevant products or services from your company within one year prior of the date on the report.
- Quality Control. Describe how your company provides means high-quality standards, how it deals with potential problems, and other relevant information.
Some Schedules may require additional technical information. For instance, relevant project experience.
Prepare and submit all legal information that your company requires (Commercial Supplier Agreements): EULAs and other terms that the GSA manager will review before awarding a Schedule.
GSA requires submitting a number of other documents including but not limited to:
- Commercial Sales Practices (CSP). GSA expects that you will provide your products or services for the same (or better) price, with the same (or better) discount, and under the same (or better) conditions as you do to your Most Favored Customer (MFC).
- Commercial Pricelist or Market Rate Sheet if required for GSA to quickly evaluate the competitiveness of your prices.
- Previous Cancellation/Rejection Letters. If this is not the first time you are submitting your offer to GSA, you must provide any cancellation or rejection letters you received within the last two years for any previous Schedule contracts or submitted Schedule offers.
- Price Narrative. Sometimes the proposed prices in your offer will be higher than those your MFC receives. In that case, the Price Narrative document must reason to the GSA contracting officer that the proposed price is fair, and explain any deviations from your commercial prices.
Should you ask for help when preparing your GSA Contract?
While you are not obliged to hire any third-parties when preparing your GSA contract, help may come in handy if you are not familiar with all this government stuff. GSA consulting services have the following advantages:
You get 100% compliant and audit-proof results
Thanks to his/her vast experience, the agent can deliver a perfect GSA Schedule offer and submit it to GSA increasing your chances of earning the contract.
You don’t waste time
Reviewing alone can take up to 120 days. Plus the time you need to assemble your offer in its entirety. Errors and inconsistencies can easily double this. The consulting company saves you time by preparing an error-free proposal.( I wouldn’t say error free…I assume you rely on data provided by the company at times, which could be incorrect.)
This includes a number of activities the agent takes from you after submission: communicating with a GSA officer, managing subcontracting, making changes to the offer when necessary and so on.
Agents can negotiate the best prices for you. As stated earlier, the prices you offer to the Gov’t must be reasonable, and the agent can justify prices you would not be able to negotiate yourself.
You get better deals
Even if GSA Contract preparation results in Schedule award, this is merely the first step. Now, you need to put efforts into marketing and finding the best deals for your product. If you prefer to focus on your business of making products or providing services, GSA consultant firms offer on-going marketing and product placement support after earning an award.
Your catalog remains up to date
Federal marketplaces like GSA Advantage require always compliant and up-to-date catalogs. GSA consulting firms can help you register, submit, and keep your product data up to date for the entire lifetime of the Contract while you focus on what you do best, operating and growing your business!