The GSA government contract helps help you make more sales and have federal, state, and local government agencies as your clients while saving time and costs and generating revenue. But while the GSA government contract provides a plethora of opportunities, winning the contract is not easy. There are a lot of criteria your company must meet before beginning the painstaking process of applying for the contract. These criteria include:
Require things to qualify for a GSA Contract
Details of your products or services: to be eligible, you must ensure that every one of your products complies with the Trade Agreements Act(TAA). TAA oversees the trade agreements and other countries. With the TAA, the US government can only purchase goods produced in the US or designated countries. So, if you’re planning on selling your goods to the government, they can only buy it if it’s TAA compliant.
Designated countries include world trade organization government procurement agreement countries, e.g., South Korea, Germany.
Free Trade Agreement Countries, e.g., Canada, Singapore.
Least Developed Countries, e.g., Afghanistan, Yemen
Caribbean Basin Countries, e.g., Aruba, Bahamas
Products compliant to TAA are produced either in these countries or in the US. Now that you are aware of this rule make sure you check all your products because if peradventure you are awarded the contract and sell a product that is not TAA compliant to the government, your contract will be cancelled.
Minimum two years old: GSA doesn’t work with startups but companies with firm footing that have been running for nothing less than 24 months. To apply for the GSA contract, you must provide evidence that your organization has been running for nothing less than 2 years by providing DUNS number, NAICS codes that show your company has been registered for as long as you claim it has. These documents must be up to date.
Most times, GSA doesn’t calculate 2 years from the moment your company was incorporated, but the year it became fully functional. The requirement can be waived for IT vendors as long as they meet the requirements for the Springboard program.
Past performance with other clients: this will give the GSA a clue about how you’ll relate with the government agencies that will patronize you if and after you’re awarded the GSA contract. The use of open ratings determines the past performance evaluation report.
This report collates references and testimonials from clients to whom your company has previously rendered services or sold products. Because, indeed, your reputation and ability to fulfill obligations will show in how you relate with the government when they request your services.
To have an idea of what range your past performance score will fall in, you can try giving out questionnaires to your clients beforehand and make necessary adjustments according to their replies.
Stable financially: your company must have generated a gross profit of nothing less than $100k annually for the last two years or more, depending on the specific schedule. Also, asides from making a substantial profit annually, you must not owe debts or have too many loans. Also, none of your assets should be frozen. For your business to be eligible for the GSA contract award, financial stability is one of the essential requirements.
Some other way, to obtain a GSA schedule, your firm must
Show that its services fit within the scope of a particular GSA schedule: you can browse through the GSA schedule category list to confirm that your firm falls under one of the 12 categories called Special Item Numbers(SINs). These categories make it easy for government agencies to view your products easily.
Your business falling under one of these categories is not enough because you must be able to provide solid evidence that you’ve been operating in that category with documents like invoices, contracts, or proposals.
You will also need to provide clients information, including involves and contracts with your firm. Having a small group of clients or your firm is legally bound from sharing documents with third parties, meeting this criterion will prove quite difficult for you.
Need good client references: for your firm to be awarded a GSA schedule, you must be able to provide either 3 contractor performance assessment reporting systems (CPARS) or 3-5 reference letters from clients you’ve previously or are correctly working with. Just ensure they say all good, honest reviews of you and your business.
Offer GSA your best pricing: GSA always ensures that government agencies will be purchasing goods and services they need from the GSA schedule at fair and reasonable prices, so they negotiate your prices to give a GSA discount.
The GSA discount is not unreasonable. Your contracting officer calculates it by using prices that competitors sell the same goods, the historical marketing price, and how much it is being sold on other contract platforms to check if your price falls within the market range.
Another way they determine fair and reasonable prices is by determining the price you usually charge compared to your Most Favored Customer(MFC) discount. Your GSA contracting officer then chooses a discount higher than your MFC. But if you’re using eligible SINs, you can cancel this process by making a Transactional Data Report (TDR).
Once you’re eligible for the GSA government contract, the next thing to do is start the process of being awarded the contract. The method of applying for the contract is usually a strenuous, complex one, so it’s much safer to employ the services of a GRA consultant so you can kickstart the Multiple Award Schedule Offer Process.
If you’re awarded the MAS schedule contract, don’t forget that the process doesn’t end there, you have to employ the use of the best marketing tools so you can stand out and make a lot of sales. You also need to meet the contract maintenance requirements, so it won’t be surprising if you need the help of the GRA consultant in the first few years of winning the GSA award.
Josh Ladick is the President of GSA Focus, Inc., and has been immersed in GSA Contracts and Government Contracting for over 15 years. I explain the complex GSA and FAR clauses in simple terms that anyone can understand, as well as keep government contractors informed on a broad group of GSA Contract related topics.