How to Determine What GSA Schedule is Best for Your Company?
So, you’ve read tons of articles, blogs and forums on GSA, and finally decided to give it a try and pursue a GSA Schedule contract. Now, the question is: what GSA Schedule you should choose? Which one is the best for your business? Let’s see.
What does GSA stands for?
GSA Schedule is a contract between the government represented by GSA and the vendor. The contract describes what a vendor sells to the government, quality criteria, terms and conditions of delivery, prices, discounts, special conditions, labour rates, etc.
Whenever the government wants something, it places a solicitation on one of GSA acquisition platforms (eBuy, GSA Advantage) – essentially, a GSA catalogue where GSA contract holders can look for opportunities and respond to solicitations by placing bids. Then, the GSA contract specialist reviews bids and awards one of GSA approved contractors with a GSA Schedule contract.
Getting a GSA Contract
We’ve covered the process of getting a GSA Contract in these articles:
- How to become a GSA contractor?
- Effortless GSA contract preparation
- How long does it take to get a GSA contract?
- GSA contract requirements
Basically, getting a GSA contract is a long road where you complete the following milestones:
- Register the business. You need to get a DUNS number and register at SAM.gov.
- Pass the obligatory GSA training. This will teach you the basics of GSA scheduling.
- Choose the GSA Schedule that matches your business best of all.
- Conduct market research and discover what the government needs.
- Find opportunities and place bids.
As you can see, once you have completed the obligatory part, the very first thing you need to do is to determine the best fitting Schedule for your company. How to do this?
What schedule is best for your company?
Before you start selecting a schedule to pursue, you should understand what type of schedules are available.
Type of schedules
All Schedules are organized by specific supply and service type. Currently, before GSA MAS Consolidation completes, there are 24 Schedules organized into 9 categories (plus 16 VA Schedules). Each legacy Schedule contains a number of subcategories – SINs. The comprehensive list of legacy schedules can be found here.
When MAS Consolidation 2020 completes, the entire Schedule system will be tied to NAICS codes making it simpler for vendors to submit GSA Schedule applications and find contracting opportunities, and for government contracting specialists to publish solicitations and quickly finding contractors for each job. But for now we can use the legacy schedule system to illustrate the principle of finding the best one for you.
Picking the best schedule
Schedules cover everything the government needs or may need. The nine main categories are:
- Facilities and Construction,
- Human Capital,
- Industrial Products & Services,
- Information Technology (IT),
- Office Management,
- Professional Services,
- Security & Protection, and
- Travel, Transportation, and Logistics
When you submit your GSA application, you can select multiple SINs to pursue. Should you do this? Picking the right SIN is not always obvious, but applying for every GSA Schedule or SIN available is not the smartest decision.
Generally, even legacy Schedules are more or less related to NAICS codes. Then, your business also has one or more NAICS codes assigned, so the closer is the selected SIN to your business profile, the better. But what if your company offers services in IT, hardware and security? What if you legitimately offer products on the commercial market that could easily match 6-7 SINs on the government market?
If your business activity covers multiple MAS categories, you still better stick to just one when pursuing a GSA contract. The reason is multifold:
- GSA wants the best for the government. Jacks-of-all-trades are good at nothing, so the government tends to award good fits first.
- You must provide proof of your competence as well as past performance records for every Schedule category. This is tough, and failing to prove your skills in just one category means a declined proposal in all categories.
- You may not have enough resources to compete in many SINs and Schedules.
- Contracting officers rarely place solicitations that require two or more SINs with a reason.
The rule of thumb when selecting a proper Schedule category is: always choose the Schedule where you perform the best. The best in terms of financials, in terms of past experience, in terms of your team and your partners, and so on. The best GSA Schedule for your company is a Schedule that is best for the government, and the government always wants high quality, fair prices, and zero problems.
If you perform equally well in two or more categories, select the one where competition is weaker to increase your chances of winning the bid.
Finally, if you really feel confident, you can pursue multiple different Schedules and/or SINs. But in this case you better submit multiple individual applications to GSA rather than just one with all the SINs you want.
Questions? Feel free to contact Price Reporter.