Aside from paving your way towards government contracts, the status of a GSA Approved Vendor brings some other important advantages too. This article highlights these advantages and gives a short overview of how to become a GSA Approved Vendor in the first hand.
What is GSA?
When the government needs something it cannot just purchase that outright. Instead, federal agencies use a specific vehicle called “Schedule” to purchase goods and services from commercial companies. General Services Administration or GSA manages the entire federal government purchasing process and awards Schedules to certified vendors only. This ensures both the quality of products and services (the Gov’t wants the best!) and eligibility of the appropriate providers.
What is GSA Schedule?
GSA Schedule is a five-year contract (prolongable up to 3 times) between the government and a commercial company. The contract enables that company to offer its products and services within the scope of a particular SIN (Special Item Number) to the government, namely various federal agencies and organizations for the entire term of the contract. Winning a Schedule award confirms the awarded company is compliant to GSA rules and regulations, has passed all the scrutinous checks successfully, and has good past performance record. There are several GSA Schedule types, which determine what particular services and goods the company can supply.
What exactly does ‘GSA Compliant’ status mean?
GSA Approval is a status that signifies a vendor is ready to sell to the government and the General Services Administration approves this by awarding it with a Schedule. GSA Approved contractors are eligible to bid for government contracts. Also, only if a company is GSA compliant, it is allowed to publish its offers on federal buying platforms such as GSA Advantage!
How to become GSA approved vendor?
Thousands of companies are already GSA approved vendors. Even more are eager to start working for GSA. Here is a brief overview of steps required to break into the list of GSA approved vendors.
1. Register your business
Any business willing to work with the government must be an officially registered company. Hence, you need to obtain a DUNS number, then register at SAM, and get a NAICS code. This ensures the government you are a serious business and not a one-day fly. Also, GSA technically cannot award a contract to an unregistered business.
2. Research and train
You need to conduct a lot of research before attempting to apply for GSA purchasing contracts. There are a lot of complex details and pitfalls on the way, so you should make your first steps well-prepared. Our blog offers a lot of information on the topic. Also, passing the Pathways to Success training is obligatory for all vendors.
3. Collect and prepare all necessary documents
GSA certification is a multi-stage process, when each stage requires certain documents from you. Typically, there is not very much time allotted for document submission, so it is advisable to make document preparations beforehand, especially when it comes to Past Performance Evaluation. You can read more on what documents are required here and also here.
4. Submit documents
If done right, the submission is the last step of the process. The rest is largely upon the Procurement Officer who will review and either will accept your submission, or request additional information to clarify certain details.
Overall, to become a GSA Approved Vendor a company must be well-established, stable, have a good past performance record and testimonials from clients, and make at least $25,000 annually in each of two years prior to submission.
Advantages of being a GSA Approved Vendor
The ‘GSA Approved’ status streamlines government purchases
The evaluation process GSA performs ensures the business is legitimate, trustful, and its prices are fair and reasonable. Hence, the purchasing agency does not need to conduct any more checks, and simply works with GSA approved vendors right off the bat.
Knowing you are approved by the government is fun, but more importantly your status also becomes visible to other companies including your potential clients. The list of GSA Approved Vendors is published at GSA Advantage, so anyone can see if you legitimately placed that GSA logo on your website or not.
Solid reputation drives in more commercial market clients
The ‘GSA Approved’ badge means the U.S. Government trusts you and orders your products. For your clients, this is a golden sign of stability and reliability too. In other words, being a GSA approved vendor is a huge advantage even if you don’t sell to the government but merely hold a Schedule. Although, selling to GSA is vital or your Schedule is cancelled.
Almost guaranteed sales
Since no evaluation nor price negotiation are necessary past initial GSA submission process, selling your services to the government requires minimum additional efforts from your side: little to no marketing, zero market research, very little advertising, streamlined order processing etc. The ‘GSA Approved’ label automatically makes your company eligible for any future contracts within your Schedule. And that typically means sales.
Once your company is published in the GSA register of certified vendors, you may bid for government contracts. But also you may receive direct requests from the procurement officers to supply some products that lie within the scope of your Schedule. Such additional opportunities are always welcome.
If you ask yourself how to get GSA certified and should you attempt doing that, we tried to give a short answer above. Also, don’t hesitate to read through other articles in our blog or contact us directly if you have any questions.