Bad things happen: your long-fostered GSA proposal has been rejected. Time and efforts you’ve put into it seem wasted. Now what? Well, don’t panic, here is a recipe to get yourself back into action and to overcome GSA rejection.
Getting rejected is easy
Preparing a proposal for GSA Schedules is a complex activity with many pitfalls all around. No wonder GSA rejects 3 of 4 proposals submitted by vendors via eOffer. Surely, you shouldn’t think GSA intentionally makes the process complex. In fact, the entire procedure is well-documented, and there are always procurement officers and GSA information resources to help vendors. The main reason for rejection is inaccurate or not up-to-date information included into proposal documents. This is really common, so don’t worry if your offer was rejected by GSA.
Also, the recent MAS Consolidation has made things even worse. The upcoming waiver of legacy schedules means GSA staff has to review all latest submissions within very strict timebounds. And this leads to more proposals are getting rejected without detailed consideration.
However, even if your proposal is rejected, it is not all lost yet.
What to do if your GSA proposal was rejected
1. Calm down
The first thing you should do is to let it go. Nobody said getting a GSA Schedule contract is easy. Rejection is not your fault. Also, this is not GSA’s fault either. Forgive them, this is merely their work after all.
2. Identify problems
Now, it is time to understand what went wrong. If your offer is rejected, GSA sends you a rejection letter describing the reasons of rejection.
Here is the list of common mistakes that often lead to rejection of your proposal.
- The company is less than two years on the market
- The company is in debt and you have not provided an explanation for that
- Your Past Performance Report is negative (or not positive enough)
- Your prices are not competitive. Approximately 85% of reviewed proposals fall a victim to this.
- There are mistakes or discrepancies in the submitted documents. I.e. wrongly filled CSP-1 form which accounts to 70-80% of all rejected offers.
- Some required documents are missing. Missing certificates are a common issue.
Of course, there are numerous other reasons of rejection. Please refer to our Common GSA Proposal Mistakes article for more in-depth review of potential problems.
3. Fix problems
After thorough GSA’s response reviewing, you should clearly see what needs fixing. Of course, some issues are unfixable here and now. For example, if your firm is too young, there is no way to change this other than continue business operation until the “minimum of two years in business” threshold is hit. Other problems can be fixed, though, and you should do your homework properly to make you second submission attempt the last one.
- Re-read GSA’s requirements to new offerors
- Pass the training again if you fill necessary
- Fix the problems mentioned in the GSA rejection letter: add missing documents, fix wrong formatting, collect necessary proof for Open Ratings Report, sort out TAA compliance issues if any.
If you submitted your proposal before October 2019 when the MAS Consolidation started, and it got rejected, you may need to rework your proposal so that it meets the updated requirements of the new solicitation.
Take a look at your proposal from a fresh perspective. Remember: the contracting officer does not know your or your company. He or she makes a decision based only and solely on the information you provided in your offer. So make sure you use clear wording, provide enough details and all the figures to simplify for the officer the process of reviewing your application as much as possible. Pretend that you don’t know your company either and try to be unbiased: does your proposal look attractive, fair and competitive?
Here is some good news: you can resubmit your proposal multiple times.
Here is some more good news: after GSA Consolidation completes, reviewing of each such submission shouldn’t supposedly take as long as it was before.
Ways to simplify your life after GSA rejection
Getting a contract is hard. Traveling along this path just once is already a serious deal, but if your GSA proposal was rejected, you need to make your way up from square one again. This could be a really frustrating experience.
To make your life easier, you can order GSA contract services at PriceReporter. Together we will go through the rejection letter you have received, examine your proposal documents to quickly fix everything that is and potentially could be the reason of further rejections. Also, make sure to read our Tips and Tricks on GSA contracting to learn how to make your GSA Schedule Award an inevitable outcome.