Honestly Answer These Questions Before Pursuing a GSA Contract
While attempting to penetrate the federal market may look absolutely “a must”, you should think about your strategy BEFORE you start doing anything in that regard. And the very first questions any prospective contractor must need to ask himself are:
- Does my company qualify for a GSA contract?
- What do I want from the federal market?
Let’s try to figure out why these two questions are important, and how they impact your future GSA contract strategy.
Do you qualify?
Whenever a company submits a registration request to become a GSA contractor, the government scrutinizes it very closely. There are a number of requirements a company must meet in order to qualify doing business with the GSA.
While you cannot foretell whether or not GSA will consider your company eligible for competing for GSA contracts, you can still perform a self-check here to get a basic understanding of the qualification requirements.
There may be two outcomes after you complete the checklist:
a) Your business seems legit for GSA contracts
Congratulations! However, please keep in mind that passing a pre-test is not the same as actually registering with GSA and winning a Schedule. There’s still a lot of work to do: ensuring compliance, checking labour rates, collecting past performance reports, preparing documents, and so on. If you feel overwhelmed – don’t panic. You can always hire a federal market professional to help you preparing your first GSA Schedule placement.
b) Some or more points in the list are questionable
If you feel that you cannot currently meet some requirements, or if you are unsure whether or not you meet them, this means you need to do your homework. Closely inspect what is missing and try to find ways to fix that. For example, if you fail to meet the requirements of the “Buy American Act”, you may want to consider finding local replacements for foreign non-compliant parts or equipment you use.
What do you expect from the Federal Market?
There are two poles here: overoptimistic and overpessimistic. Both expectations are harmful, but for different reasons.
Overoptimistic expectations are wrong
Being awarded is a great step forward and is surely an opportunity for you. But don’t take profits for granted. You expectations about the Federal Market must be reasonable. There are no such thing as a free lunch, and in many ways the government market is much more complex than its commercial counterpart. You still need to be competitive. You still need to perform market research. You definitely need to deliver quality service and to offer fair prices.
Being too excited about the federal market is wrong, because it may result in great frustration when your expectations are not met. And unfortunately, that happens very often. Over 85% of businesses NEVER ever do sales to government after winning a Schedule!
Too pessimistic is wrong too
With all being said above about too many expectations, if you now feel a bit depressed – don’t. In fact, there are a lot of small businesses that are successful government contractors now, for years.
Yes, there are many no’s that might turn you from pursuing a GSA contract:
- “I’m a small business, there’s no room for me on the federal market”
- “It’s too complex for me”
- “There are too many regulations”
- “I won’t be profitable in the federal market”
- and many other ‘reasonable’ objections.
However, with diligent preparations, chances are very high that your GSA efforts will be rewarded appropriately.
Don’t know where to start from? Feel free to get in touch with us, we will be glad to consult you.