Becoming a government contractor can be very profitable for a private firm. Although the public sector is marred with inconsistencies, a firm is better off doing business with the government because it always has capital.
Before a private firm can engage in any business with the government, they have to meet certain requirements. Acquiring a GSA contract is one of those demands. A general services administration contract gives businesses permission to engage in trade with the government.
The Process of Acquiring a GSA Contract
1. Discuss and evaluate your company’s eligibility with a GSA Consultant, a government official or conduct your own research to understand the details that are involved to apply for a contract (Schedule).An experienced GSA consultant can explain the entire process and let you know whether or not the government is in need of your goods and services.
2. If your business meets the required criteria to be eligible to apply for a GSA contract, you can begin the process of preparing a proposal that shows the government why they should do business with your company. This brings you to the Submission process, where your GSA Application Package is submitted for review by a Government official (Contracting Officer).
3. If your Contracting Officer accepts your proposal, you enter a negotiations phase where the rate or price for the provision of goods and services is agreed upon along with other terms.
4. After successful Negotiations, you are awarded a GSA contract (referred to as a Schedule), and can begin doing business with government agencies.
Firms that have GSA schedules can benefit by being selected as long-term procurement providers of certain goods and services for governmental agencies. Since the schedule sets a discounted price for an extended period, it enables the government to save on costs.
GSA schedule 70 is a long-term contract usually given to information technology (IT) vendors. The agreement ensures that the IT needs of different government departments are met by a single supplier. This schedule is often considered to be the biggest since it can run for 20 years and be worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
The services offered by this schedule’s vendors are IT facility operation and maintenance; coding; systems development; automated information system design and integration; IT security and back up; data conversion; network management; as well as a variety of other IT services.
Schedule 70 allows the government to properly budget for its IT needs during a given financial year. Since the prices are pre-determined before awarding the contract, the government is protected from unpredictable price changes.
Schedule 70 also enables the government to save time and have items delivered upon request. For repetitive IT supplies, the government can create a blanket purchase agreement (BPA) with the vendor. BPAs allow the government to procure items whenever they need them with additional discount.
A GSA contract is issued by the General Services Administration Agency to qualified vendors. It allows private businesses to work with the government without any restrictions. Schedules are long term GSA contracts between the government and one specific vendor that offer a specialized category of services or products. Of all the schedules, schedule 70 is the most lucrative.