Is Your Company Set Up for GSA Schedule Success

How to Be a Successful GSA Contractor

You may have heard it hundreds of times already: winning a GSA Schedule contract is great success for a business. But is your company ready and set up to achieve this success? In fact, more than 80% of GSA Schedule contract holders do not make a single sale on the federal marketplace. Ever. Apparently, they were not ready. And are you? You better learn this before applying for a Schedule.

Check if you Qualify to be a GSA Contractor

Did you know: not every company qualifies for a GSA Schedule

Yes, many companies that successfully work on the commercial market can never sell to the federal agencies via GSA Schedule. And if you want to be successful with your GSA contract, you should ensure your company qualifies to the strict requirements the government has in place.

The reasons behind the qualification terms and conditions are simple. The U.S. government wants the best products and the best services, and at the same time it wants guarantees. That is why the GSA closely inspects every business that applies for a Schedule and checks if it meets the requirements.

Of course, you will know if you qualify or not when you apply for a GSA Schedule on your own. But this means you can waste a lot of time and effort for nothing, in case your attempt is unsuccessful. A better tactic is to check everything beforehand and learn whether your company is properly set up for a GSA.

How to start preparing your company for federal sales

In order to be eligible to sell to the government, you should make some preliminary steps that will turn your company into a legitimate GSA vendor. 

Specifically, here are the main steps you should take before you even submit an application:

  1. Make sure your company is properly registered and has a Tax ID. You cannot sell to the government if your company is unregistered and does not pay taxes. 
  2. Get NAICS codes for your products and services. 
  3. Get D.U.N.S. code
  4. Register at System of Award Management ( This is a required step for small businesses.
  5. You will also need to prepare all the necessary documents that the GSA requires including financial statements, price proposals, legal documents, certificates and licenses, and so on.

When all is done, you must complete the obligatory training. Pathways to Success and Readiness Assessment are two courses you are required to complete before you can apply for a GSA Schedule.

What are the requirements for a company applying for a GSA Schedule?

Of course, merely being a legitimate business is not enough for the government to trust you with federal contracts. There are minimum qualification requirements. If your company does not satisfy these requirements, you cannot apply for a Schedule.

  1. Your company must be at least two years in business. No fly-by-night companies are allowed. Indeed: the GSA wants to be sure you are a serious and well-established business with prior history, not some pop-up operation.
  2. Your company must make at least $25,000 in revenue per year. The same logic applies here: a company that exists only on paper cannot and never will get a government contract. This is also to prevent shenanigans with budget funds.
  3. Your company must have past experience in a specific field. No, you cannot offer construction services to the government if you sell toilet paper on the commercial market.
  4. You must have no debts. Your company must be financially healthy, without unpaid obligations. 
  5. Finally, the company must not be affiliated with government agencies or other federal structures.

What about success?

Ok, even if your company is ready to apply for a GSA Schedule, this does not necessarily mean it is equally ready for success with that Schedule contract. You should do your homework and prepare accordingly.

Complete obligatory training

Yes, we have already said it above, but in fact the training is really helpful. It allows you to understand the details of the federal contracting business and avoid making stupid mistakes of a newbie. Because every such mistake reduces your chances to become a successful GSA contractor, not to mention the wasted time and money.

Make sure to study all the provided materials thoroughly. You should also register with the GSA’s Vendor Support Center as that is also a great source of useful information.

Train your personnel

Make sure people in your company know what to do. There must be a dedicated person in your company who is responsible for managing GSA orders. This employee must understand how to process orders, what are the types and specifics of the GSA orders, how to communicate with the contracting officer, and so on.

Alternatively, you can hire a GSA specialist that can take this part of the everyday GSA contract management from you.

Establish relationships with the contracting officer

When you communicate with the assigned contracting officer, try to turn him or her into your friend. Be nice and polite, consider asking questions that can help you improve your proposals. Always highlight that your goal is quality. Do not forget: you are talking with a real person, not a robot. Maintaining good relationships with GSA contracting officers is key to successful contract verification and the entire further cooperation between your company and the GSA.

Organize document works

Today, the GSA uses the Electronic Document Interchange technologies to send and receive various documents including purchase orders and invoices. Your company needs one also. Make sure to install and properly setup an EDI system compatible with the GSA platforms, such as GSA Advantage and GSA eBuy.

You can also use the pre-setup EDI system provided by various third-party GSA agents, such as Price Reporter.

Make sure you have enough capabilities

Winning a contract means you get access to the federal market, but this also means you now have obligations, especially if you respond to an RFQ. As soon as the contract is signed, there is no way back for you. And if your business capabilities turn out to be not enough to fulfill your obligations under the contract, you are at risk of penalties, various legal challenges and complete cancellation of your GSA Schedule contract.

That is why you must provide all means for your business to work flawlessly and seamlessly under the new load of GSA contracts. This may include audit of your production lines, optimization of business processes, and even expansion of your business! Not a bad thing to do after all, but you must be prepared nevertheless.

In conclusion

As you see, there are certain steps you should take in order to be successful with your GSA Schedule. And if you feel overwhelmed, don’t hesitate to contact an experienced GSA professional, such as Price Reporter. We already helped hundreds of companies to get a GSA contract, and continue managing dozens of current GSA contracts.

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