Surely, you’ve heard this before: getting a GSA contract is a lengthy and time-consuming process. But can you expedite your GSA contract? Is there a way to speed up GSA registration process or to accelerate GSA proposal review? In this article, we provide an overview of possible ways to get your GSA contract faster.
Getting a GSA Contract
Whenever you apply for a GSA Schedule, you should complete several obligatory steps. Some of them are hard-coded, so you cannot effectively accelerate them, but others can be optimized to reduce the average review time by 20-40%.
Let’s take a look at typical steps required to getting on a GSA Schedule.
Register your business
Before you can provide your services to the government, you should register your business. Specifically:
- Register at Dun & Bradstreet to get your DUNS number.
- Get your NAICS codes at the U.S. Census Bureau
- Register at SAM.gov.
Pass the required trainingPass the required training
Before you can proceed to filling forms and applying for GSA schedules, you must pass trainings. This is required for all vendors. The training consists of several webinars called Pathways to Success. Then, there is Readiness Assessment that should help you determine whether your knowledge is enough to pursue GSA contracts.
When you apply for a GSA contract schedule, you prepare specific documents (see below). Then, the GSA contracting officer reviews your submission and makes a decision of whether you comply with the requirements. You need a bunch of documents to submit to GSA, for example:
- Price proposal
- Technical proposal
- Financial statements for the past two years
- Past-performance reports
- Letter of Supply (resellers).
- Agent Authorization Letter (to delegate GSA registration to a third-party)
After your company is awarded a GSA Schedule, you can place bids on published GSA opportunities, answer to RFQ’s and RFI’s.
How long does it take to get on GSA Schedule?
An average GSA contract review takes from six to twelve months. In marginal cases, getting on the Schedule can even take more than a year! Needles to say, every error in the submitted documents results in prolonging the GSA proposal reviewing process even more.
GSA proposal review process should take no more than 120 days. But reviewing does not guarantee approval. If the contracting officer has questions or sees that some documents are missing, he or she will decline the submission, so you will go to square one again.
How to expedite GSA Contract Review?
Yes, the process is long, but you can speed it up a bit with some working methods we describe below.
Speed up registration by hiring a professional
Here is a way to save 20-50 days, and hence get your GSA proposal reviewed in as close to 120 days. You see, when you compose documents yourself, you have to rely on your own understanding of what should be done and how. There are instructions on the GSA website, of course, and there is FAR (Federal Acquisition Regulations), but that’s still one hell of a job. Would it not be better to delegate it to a company that knows how to do this faster, easier and without hassle? If this is your first GSA submission, you should probably give this scenario a try.
Read the solicitation carefully
Ok, this one can save you not only time (100+ days easily), but potentially can guard you from much more costing mistakes. The solicitation published by federal agencies includes terms and requirements to contractors. Failing to read all the fineprints can jeopardize your preparation for cooperation with federal customers. On the other hand, if you read the solicitation carefully, you can provide an accurate offer without discrepancies, but with clear financial and technical grounds. Diligently prepared offers are preferred by contracting officers, so the review time will possibly be much shorter.
Also, by reading each point of solicitation terms carefully you avoid a situation where you sign a contract that you cannot reliably fulfill. Which would be bad, very bad for your business.
Provide all necessary information beforehand
When your contract offer has plenty of information to prove your business is steady and reliable, your GSA contract becomes closer to you. For instance, if you take care of your TAA compliance preliminarily, you don’t have to waste time doing that after your initial proposal was declined.
Other example tips include:
- If you are a reseller, provide manufacturer’s information for each item and SIN you offer AND advise the manufacturer about that to shorten the time needed for the government to receive all necessary technical data directly from the manufacturer.
- Provide accurate pricelist. This is typical, actually. You submit your offer with a base pricelist, the procurement officer reviews your offer and finds that prices offered to commercial customers differ from those you submitted. To expedite a GSA contract, you may provide the best discount pricelist upon submission.
- Arrange a Letter to Expedite. A contracting officer of the purchasing federal agency may request to expedite the processing of the offer. This is tricky, because you need to be in good relationships with the officer and understand the goals and needs of his or her agency very well to reflect them in your proposal.
Apply for MAS Express Program
The MAS Express Program can really accelerate your GSA contract review. In fact, the program is designed to streamline the reviewing process and limit the overall offer approval time to 30 days. But your business must strictly match the criteria of the program.
There are ways to simplify and speed up your GSA contract approval. Some tactics are actionable right off the bat, while others require certain expertise and knowledge of federal procurement processes. If you are not sure, whether you posses such knowledge, you can always contact Price Reporter for consultation.