If you still think GSA schedules are for larger enterprises, and becoming a GSA contractor is literally impossible for a small entrepreneurship – it is time to reconsider. In fact, getting a GSA MAS contract for a small business is a viable option to get steady income and to secure the position on the market. Here are 5 things you should know about GSA.
1. Small businesses are welcome
The overall value of GSA MAS contracts awarded to small business is estimated at one billion dollars, annually. In fact, government agencies are obliged to set aside a certain number of contracts for small businesses. This means no corporations or larger companies will compete with you for these contracts, only other small businesses like yours. This also means your small business can definitely try to get its share of the market too. Since the market is enormous.
Now, what is a small business? GSA sees your business as small if it falls under certain annual receipt and employee number requirements varying across industries. You can use the official Small Business Administration tool to quickly check whether or not your can call your business small-sized.
2. Registering with GSA is not simple, but totally doable
The process of GSA vendor registration is not nearly simple. There is tons of information you need to assess and consider before even attempting to register. How do GSA contracts work? What does it mean to be GSA approved? What should be you very first steps? What documents do you need to prepare? How to deal with multiple GSA requirements and how to prepare yourself for Past Performance Evaluation. Questions are numerous!
Luckily, GSA itself offers a plethora of information on its official website here. Moreover, in fact you are required to complete GSA training before applying for GSA registration.
Summary: the process is well-documented and totally doable as long as you’re willing to spend a lot of time and effort learning the ins and outs of the GSA vendor registration procedure.
3. How do I get a GSA schedule
The very brief steps you need to take are as follows:
- Register your business
- Complete the required GSA training
- Prepare necessary documents
- Submit your application
The federal contracting officer will review your application (this takes time!) and whether approves your submission or declines it with some comments. If your application is approved, you become registered with GSA and can submit proposals for GSA Schedule contracts.
You can get more in-depth info on steps to be a GSA approved vendor here:
- How to become a GSA Schedule contractor
- How to get on a GSA Schedule
- Effortless GSA contract preparation
4. What is a GSA schedule number
As soon as your small business company gets GSA approved and is awarded a Schedule, you receive a GSA schedule number. This identifies your GSA contract explicitly and unambiguously.
The GSA schedule number format may vary, but often is as follows:
where NNN is the specific Schedule number assigned with your contract. Most common types of schedules are Schedule 70 IT and Schedule 51V Hardware. The MMMMM part of the number is your individual identifier within the General Services Administration schedule. You can find the GSA Schedules list here.
Also, you can look for any specific GSA number at GSA eLibrary. Type the name of the company, its NAICS, GSA number, Schedule or other information to find all matching businesses currently working with the government.
GSA Schedule number is assigned automatically, so you do not have to do anything about it except may be remembering it for further reference.
5. Getting help is ok
The process of becoming a GSA contractor is long and tedious, especially for small businesses where dedicated legal departments are rare. However, today there are a number of third-party consulting firms that take the burden of registering at GSA from you. A decent GSA consultant will lead you through caveats of GSA registration, will provide assistance in preparing necessary documents, and warns about possible mistakes and non-trivial parts of the process that can jeopardize GSA registration. A GSA consulting agency will even take on communication with a contracting officer for maximum chances of successful approval of your application.