How to Grow Your Revenue by Getting a GSA Federal Supply Schedule Contract

How to Grow Your Revenue by Getting a GSA Federal Supply Schedule Contract

The Federal Supply Schedules facilitate government acquisition by providing access to supplies and services from thousands of GSA contractors. The FSS program is the most significant program of the Federal Acquisition Service, and is a commonly overlooked source of increased revenues. Here is how.

Check if you Qualify to be a GSA Contractor

What are GSA Federal Supply Schedules

The Federal Supply Schedule program allows federal agencies to purchase commercial products and services with significant volume discounts and under indefinite-delivery terms. Other common names for Federal Supply Schedule contracts are GSA Schedule contracts or MAS contracts. The acquisition process through FSS contracts is regulated byFAR Part 8.4, Federal Supply Schedules, andFAR Part 38, Federal Supply Schedule Contracts. FSS contracts are awarded to businesses on the basis of competitive bidding.

The major advantage of the Federal Supply Schedules program over its counterparts is its streamlined ordering procedures. In comparison to other ways to sell to federal agencies, an FSS contract offers a much clearer and straightforward way to earn those government dollars. Once you are awarded a contract, you can sell to the government without much paperwork during the entire period of performance. With respect to the huge amount of contracting budgets – about $35 billion worth of commercially available supplies and services is purchased through the FSS program each year – getting a Federal Supply Schedule contract is very desirable for almost every small business.

How Federal Supply Schedules program works

When a federal agency or a local, tribal or state government needs something, it publishes a solicitation on federal acquisition online platforms. The two most significant of them are GSA Advantage! and GSA eBuy. There are several different types of solicitations:

  • RFQ (Request for Quotation)
  • RFI (Request for Information)
  • RFP (Request for Proposal)
  • IFB (Invitation for Bids)

Each type of solicitation has its own peculiarities you should know about. Please refer to this article to learn more about government solicitation types.

Authorized government contractors can then respond to solicitations and submit their offers. This process has multiple steps:

1.      Provide information. The Offeror must provide certain information for each SIN (Special Item Number) as GSAR 552.212-70 prescribes. In particular, this includes price lists, product catalogs, discounts offered under this solicitation, the list of benefits only available as a part of this solicitation, but not available to commercial customers, and if the Offeror is a reseller or a manufacturer.

2.      Commercial Sales Practices Disclosure. The Offeror is required to disclose commercial sales practices of its firm. This includes commercial price lists, discounts, historical pricing, competitors contracts, the dollar value of sales for the past 12 months, an estimation of sales to the government that the Offeror expects to make.

3.      Submitting the proposal. The submission process involves registering in the eOffer system and submitting the required documents. Note that registering in the eOffer system requires you to have a digital certificate issued by an authorized agency, such as IdenTrust.

4.      Evaluation of the offer. The procurement officer evaluates your proposal and checks if everything is fine with it. For instance, he or she checks if all the required forms were submitted, makes sure the price lists and catalogs are included into the proposal, reviews the commercial sales practices.

5.      Price analysis. The procurement officer conducts research to make sure the proposed prices are fair and reasonable. After that, the officer can initiate price negotiations with the Offeror. This is NOT to reduce your prices even more, but to acquire a narrative for these prices that would justify them and confirm that they are fair and reasonable, indeed.

6.      Award. The contracting officer then decides whether or not to award the contract to a certain offeror. The awarded Offeror is required to sign up to GSA Advantage and to submit product catalogs and price lists there.

Here is how to get a GSA FSS contract

Getting onto a Federal Supply Schedule can prove to be really profitable. However, without due preparations, you put yourself at risk of wasting all the time and effort you’ve directed into pursuing an FSS contract.

Before you can respond to solicitations, you need to become a certified GSA contractor. At Price Reporter, we already posted a number of articles on how to become a government contractor. Please make sure to read through our blog to discover tons of helpful information and how to’s on this topic. Here are just a few tutorials you can start with:

Overall, the process takes about 9-12 months. Getting onto a Federal Supply Schedule starts with registering your business. Then you pass the mandatory governmental education courses. Then, prepare and submit the required documents. After your submission is reviewed, if everything is hale and firm, you are awarded with an FSS contract.

How a Federal Supply Schedules contract helps boosting your revenue

FSS contracts may sound like something beyond your current capabilities, but in fact Federal Supply Schedules have much to offer to small businesses. The benefits to small businesses are as follows:

  • First of all, every government agency must set aside a number of contracts for small businesses. In particular, at least 23% of contracts must be awarded to small businesses.
  • Also, a contracting officer may decide at his or her own discretion to set aside an order to a small business only if this would be in the government’s best interests. This means that as a small business owner you can benefit greatly from Federal Supply Schedules, since small businesses in many cases are the only contractors that are considered for a contract.
  • There are also a number of specific small business set-asides:
    • HUBZone businesses – If you run your business in a Historically Underutilized Business zone, you are eligible for certain additional preferences including a 10% price advantage. You can read more about HUBZone certification here.
    • Woman-Owned Small Business – Women-owned businesses is a business at least 51% controlled or run by women. If your business is WOSB, you are eligible for 10% set-asides, tax benefits, as well as certain government and private grants. Learn about WOSB certification.
    • 8a certification – The SBA’s 8a Business Development Program provides certain benefits for disadvantaged businesses. You can learn about 8a business certification from this article.
    • VA set-sides. Veteran-Owned businesses are also a type of set aside contracts for small businesses.
  • Once a small business becomes a GSA certified FSS contractor, no other checks and price negotiations are necessary. You are certified, period. Now, just bid for contracts and sell.
  • An FSS contract is typically 5 years and can be extended for another 5 years, up to three times. This is a huge long-term opportunity that can easily become a game-changer for you.
  • Numerous government buyers and relatively low competition on the federal market also pay a significant role in boosting your potential revenues.
  • Getting a Federal Supply Schedule contract helps you win the reputation and trust of your commercial partners. The logic is as follows: “since this company sells to the government it has passed the most stringent checks and verification”. What more would one expect?

Of course, there are more benefits you can get from cooperation with the government. Leverage GSAs Federal Supply Schedule to grow your business!

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