Getting on the GSA Schedule
Checklist of Steps to Get a GSA Schedule Contract
Regardless of how you refer to it – getting GSA approved, getting on the GSA list, or acquiring a GSA Schedule – the process of obtaining a GSA Schedule Contract is lengthy and complicated. Below is a simplified version of the process, broken down into ten steps.
Need Help Getting on the GSA Schedule?
Federal Schedules, Inc. has been helping companies get their GSA/VA Schedule Contracts since 1986. We can help you through each step of the process – from identifying the appropriate GSA Schedule and developing pricing strategies, to preparing your proposal and fielding negotiations with GSA. To find out more information on our services or to request a quote, see GSA Schedule Proposal Help. or Contact Us.
1. Determine Eligibility
The first step to getting on the GSA Schedule is determining if your company/organization is eligible to receive a GSA Schedule Contract Award. Before beginning the GSA Schedule proposal process the following must be met:
- Financial Stability
- At Least 2 Years in Business
- Past Performance
- Products Commercially Available
- Products Compliant with the Trade Agreements Act. End product must be manufactured or substantially altered within the U.S. or a ”designated country” as defined by the Trade Agreements Act. Click here for a list of designated countries.
2. Required Registrations
Whether or not you plan on obtaining a GSA Schedule Contract, the following items are required to do business with the federal government:
3. Past Performance Evaluation
A Dun & Bradstreet Open Ratings Past Performance Evaluation report must be included with your GSA Schedule Proposal. The process can take 35 days, so we recommend ordering the report — which costs $185 — when you begin preparing your GSA Schedule proposal. Keep in mind though; the report is only valid for 12 months. Meaning, if your GSA Schedule proposal gets put to the side for too long, you will have to pay to have the report completed again. For more information and to order the report, click here.
4. Identify the Appropriate GSA Schedule
There are currently over 11 million products and services available through approximately 40 GSA Schedules. It is important you pick the appropriate Schedule for your product/service offerings. Depending upon your offerings, the appropriate Schedule may be immediately obvious, or may require an in-depth analysis of your products/services in comparison with the scope of various Schedules. If the correct Schedule is not identified before beginning the proposal process, you risk wasting months worth of work preparing a proposal that will be rejected. A list of GSA Schedules can be found on the GSA eLibrary website.
5. Download the Corresponding Solicitation
Once you have identified the appropriate GSA Schedule, download the corresponding solicitation. Each GSA Schedule solicitation is posted on FedBizOpps (www.fbo.gov). Links to each GSA Schedule solicitation can be accessed from the Schedule’s eLibrary page:
- Click on the appropriate Schedule number under the ‘Source’ column the GSA eLibrary page located here.
- Click on the box that says, “Vendors Click here to view the current solicitation on FedBizOpps”.
- Read the synopsis and download all documents on the right side under ‘Solicitation 1”.
6. Prepare a Proposal
In general, each solicitation will require data including, but not limited to: corporate and financial information, past performance, commercial practices, and a proposed GSA price list. The exact information and format required will vary from Schedule to Schedule. If your company/organization chooses to pursue a GSA Schedule Contract without outside assistance, this may be the most time-consuming step of the process. The Solicitations are not always clear and contractors frequently end up submitting proposals that are incorrectly formatted, incomplete, and swiftly rejected by GSA.
TIP: Be cognizant of a possible Solicitation Refresh. Many companies who decide to take the GSA acquisition project in-house can take anywhere from months to over a year to complete the proposal. In this time GSA can issue a Solicitation Refresh which is an amendment that can potentially change the entire scope of the Solicitation. Once a Refresh is issued, contractors are typically given a set amount of time to submit proposals under the old Solicitation. After this time, proposals submitted under the outdated guidelines will be rejected.
7. Proposal Review
Your GSA Schedule Contract proposal must be submitted electronically through GSA’s eOffer system, http://eoffer.gsa.gov, which requires a digital certificate. Once submitted, it will be assigned to a Contracting Officer who will conduct an intense and thorough review. During this review the Contracting Officer will request additional information and/or clarifications.
8. GSA Contract Negotiation
The purpose of the GSA Schedules Program is to leverage the government’s vast buying power to pre-negotiate discounted pricing. Once your Contracting Officer has completed a satisfactory review of your proposal, a conference call will be scheduled to negotiate pricing. It is crucial that you plan a negotiation strategy in advance to ensure the agreed upon discount is favorable to both potential government buyers and your company/organization.
9. Final Proposal Revision
After negotiations are complete, you will prepare and submit a Final Proposal Revision (FPR) that synopsizes your entire proposal and includes finalized pricing, as negotiated with GSA.
10. GSA Contract Award!
Contractors will receive a Contract Award and GSA Schedule Contract Number approximately a week after submitting the Final Proposal Revision. Once awarded, you may begin selling from your Schedule immediately.