How can I bill the government on GSA contracts?

bill the government GSA

GSA Schedule contracts are one of the most popular contracting vehicles small and medium businesses can use to get access to clients in the federal market. With government spending growing each year, securing a GSA contract still looks to be a lucky ticket for almost any company, regardless of what products or services it sells.

But how exactly can you bill the government? What are the required documents? How long does it take to receive payments from federal buyers? Let’s find answers in this article.

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What are the specifics of billing on the GSA MAS Schedule contracts?

While the federal market may resemble the commercial market a lot, billing the government has its own peculiarities. When you sell to federal agencies, the typical invoicing and paying process, where the seller issues an invoice and establishes the payment schedule and the buyer just follows it, does not apply.

When doing business with the government, GSA contractors are the ones who adapt to federal buyers, not the opposite. Normally, the government makes a payment only after it receives what it should pay for.

When is the government required to make a payment?

With the above being said, the government is required to make a payment within 30 days after receipt of the invoice to small businesses, as long as the deliverable is received and deemed to be  acceptable. This is regulated by the Prompt Payment Act as of 1982. 

Note that according to the same Act, the government can expedite payment in certain circumstances. For example, when the invoice is either under $2,500 or the due payment is to a small business. Also, if the government happens to pay to the contractor late, it is also obliged to pay the interest rate which is currently 4.625%.

But when exactly do these 30 days start? What is the payment schedule when it comes to the government? Let’s dig a bit deeper.

What is the payment schedule for government agencies?

According to Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) 552.212-4, the due date for making invoice payments by the designated payment office is one of the following:

  1. The 10th day after the designated billing office receives a proper invoice from the GSA contractor, or
  2. The 10th day after the government accepts delivery of products or services performed by the GSA contractor.

So, in other words, the government reserves time and the right to make sure that the delivery of products, supplies or services is performed correctly. After that, the government can make a payment as long as the contractor sends the corresponding invoice. Overall time period for that as we said above is 30 days.

Now, what if the government finds that some supplies are nonconforming and does not accept the delivery? In this case, there are also two options:

a) The government can request repair or replacement of product/supplies or reperformance of the services from the vendor. This will not change the final price of the contract and is done at vendor’s expenses.

b) Alternatively, the government can request proportional price reduction. 

Normally, the government prefers to fix the issues, but if replacement or fixing of defects is not possible for some reason, it may choose to request an adequate price reduction.

When the delivery is settled and the government is satisfied, a written Inspection/Acceptance act is signed. After that you can invoice and wait for the government to pay it.

Is there a difference between invoicing for services vs. products?

With products that the government orders within GSA MAS solicitation, it’s pretty much straightforward. The government receives the goods, you issue an invoice, and the government makes a payment on it. This is especially true for Firm Fixed Price (FFP) contract awards, where the price of the contract cannot be adjusted.

With services things are trickier, though, because the government wants to pay retroactively. This means you may have to wait until the job is done before you can actually invoice the federal agency. However, it is possible to ask the government to pay monthly. For many small businesses this is a viable and desirable option, so you should really consider it, in order to lower your financial burden.

What should an invoice to a federal buyer  order look like?

Contractors should submit invoices using the electronic system called ASSIST (see 

Each invoice should contain the following information:

  • Name and address of the contractor; 
  • Invoice date and number; 
  • Contract number, line item number and, if applicable, the order number; 
  • Description, quantity, unit of measure, unit price and extended price of the items delivered; 
  • Shipping number and date of shipment, including the bill of lading number and weight of shipment if shipped on Government bill of lading; 
  • Name and address of official to whom payment is to be sent; 
  • Name, title, and phone number of person to notify in event of defective invoice; and 
  • Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN). The Contractor shall include its TIN on the invoice only if required elsewhere in this contract. 
  • Electronic funds transfer (EFT) banking information. The contractor must submit a final invoice within 30 calendar days after fulfillment of their contractual obligations.

Even though the invoice can be submitted electronically, contractors are still required to provide the original paper copy invoice as well as provide three hard copies to the address designated in the GSA contract to receive invoices.

GSA Schedule solicitation requirements

There are multiple ways you can sell to the government. However, in any case you should understand solicitation requirements before you actually bill the government. This is very different from selling to the private sector, where things are much more straightforward.

Among the basic requirements to GSA contract holders are:

  • Minimum sales requirements. Your company must display a certain minimum of annual sales. The current minimum is $25,000 per year. 
  • At least two years in business. The government does not want to risk a failure with the contract, so it only works with established companies that have operated on the market for at least 24 months.
  • Financial stability. A financially stable company standard  is a bare minimum to cooperate with the government. The company must not be in debt, and must look financially healthy when GSA’s experts conduct researc on your company history.
  • Experience in the field required by the contract. In addition to overall business experience, your small business company must have particular experience in the particular field that you are about to enter on the federal marketplace.. For instance, if the contract SIN entails certain construction services, your company must be experienced in construction. This must be confirmed by corresponding certificates, payment documents, finished projects, testimonials etc.

Note that you must carefully study Requests for Proposals (RFPs) before you submit your offer to the government. Otherwise you are risking getting yourself into an affair you cannot really handle and end up losing money, not earning it.

How to get on the GSA Schedule?

GSA sales channeled through a GSA Schedule contract can really give your company the edge over competition. Moreover, the mere fact that you are cooperating with the government can boost your reputation and hence is a great pledge toward your future contracts on the commercial market as well.

So, how do you get on the Schedule to start billing the government for your services and products? Indeed, getting on GSA can be tough, so why not reach out to GSA experts that can simplify both pre-award preliminary preparation to GSA contracting and the post-award GSA contract management?

Price Reporter is a company of seasoned professionals with dozens of years of helping small and medium businesses to get GSA Schedule contracts. Overall, our clients had bid and won contracts worth a total of more than $350 million, across various industries, including the extremely competitive IT 70 Schedule. Would you also like to obtain a GSA Schedule? Then don’t waste your time trying to penetrate the federal market yourself. You can save months of your time, and thousands of dollars, by hiring Price Reporter today. Arrange a free consultation now if you have questions about billing the government on GSA contracts.

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  • To ensure that your billing system is auditable for GSA purposes, there are several best practices you can follow:

    Establish clear policies and procedures: Establishing clear policies and procedures for billing can help ensure consistency and accuracy. These policies should be documented and easily accessible to all employees involved in the billing process.

    Maintain accurate records: Keeping accurate and complete records is critical for demonstrating compliance with GSA requirements. Records should be well-organized and include all documentation related to billing, such as invoices, timesheets, and receipts.

    Use reliable accounting software: Utilizing reliable accounting software can help automate many of the billing processes and reduce the risk of errors. The software should be compatible with GSA requirements and updated regularly.

    Review regularly and reconcile accounts: Regular review and account reconciliation can help identify errors or discrepancies, and ensure that all billing is accurate and complete.

    Conduct regular internal audits: Conducting regular internal audits can help identify any issues with the billing process, and ensure that all policies and procedures are being followed. These audits should be documented and any issues addressed promptly.

    By following these best practices, you can help ensure that your billing system is auditable for GSA purposes and demonstrate compliance with GSA requirements.

  • How can I ensure that my billing system is auditable for GSA purposes?

  • Under a GSA contract, you can bill the government for expenses that are directly related to the goods or services provided under the contract. These expenses typically fall into the following categories:

    Labor: This includes wages, salaries, and benefits for employees working on the project.

    Materials and supplies: This includes any materials or supplies needed to complete the project, such as raw materials, equipment, or office supplies.

    Travel: This includes expenses related to travel required to perform the services under the contract, such as airfare, lodging, and meals.

    Subcontractor costs: If you have subcontractors working on the project, you can bill the government for the costs associated with their work.

    Overhead and indirect costs: This includes costs that cannot be directly tied to the project, such as rent, utilities, and insurance.

    It is important to note that all expenses billed to the government must be reasonable and necessary for the performance of the contract, and must comply with the specific terms and conditions of the contract. Additionally, you will need to provide appropriate documentation to support your billing, such as invoices, timesheets, and receipts.

  • What types of expenses can I bill to the government on a GSA contract?

  • If you are experiencing a dispute over billing on a GSA contract, there are several steps you can take to resolve the issue:

    Review the contract: The first step is to carefully review the terms of the contract and ensure that both parties are adhering to the agreed-upon terms.

    Contact the contracting officer: If you are unable to resolve the issue with the vendor directly, you can contact the contracting officer who oversaw the procurement. They will be able to help mediate the dispute and provide guidance on how to proceed.

    Initiate a formal dispute: If informal negotiations fail to resolve the dispute, you may need to initiate a formal dispute through the GSA’s Contract Dispute Resolution Procedures. This process involves submitting a written claim and engaging in negotiations with the other party.

    Consider alternative dispute resolution: If the formal dispute process is unsuccessful, you may want to consider alternative dispute resolution methods such as mediation or arbitration.

    Seek legal advice: If the dispute cannot be resolved through these methods, you may want to seek legal advice to determine your options.

    In any case, it is important to document all communications and actions related to the dispute in order to provide evidence, should the matter need to be escalated.

  • How do I handle disputes over billing on a GSA contract?

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