Beginner’s Guide to the GSA Contract Get the Guide Now

GSA Schedules FAQ

What is a GSA Schedule Contract? How Can Your Company Get a GSA Schedule? Watch our 2-minute video to find out, then review some of the most common GSA Schedule questions companies have.

GSA stands for the General Services Administration which is a government agency that was established in 1949.  The agency has evolved over the years and today is tasked with managing government buildings and real estate, providing product and service procurement support, and developing policies and regulations.

GSA is most widely known for its development of GSA Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) Contracts, also referred to as Federal Supply Schedule Contracts or the GSA Schedules Program. The GSA Schedules Program was created to streamline government purchasing of commercial products and services and to leverage the buying power of the federal government in the process.

The GSA Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) Contract—also referred to as GSA Schedule, GSA Contract, and Federal Supply Schedule—is an indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity (IDIQ), long-term contract managed by the General Services Administration (GSA). The GSA Schedule was developed to assist federal agencies in purchasing products and services. The contracts contain pre-negotiated prices, delivery terms, warranties, and other terms and conditions which streamline the buying process.

Learn more about what the GSA Schedule Contract is here or watch our 2-minute video.

If your company does business with any federal government agency, you’re required to register as an entity on You’re also required to update that registration on an annual basis and whenever changes occur (such as a change in company name, address, point of contact, or NAICS codes). is free to use and is the central hub for navigating the federal award lifecycle.

You can use to:

  • Register to do business with the U.S. Government
  • Update, renew, or check the status of your entity registration
  • Search for entity registration and exclusion records
  • Search for assistance listings, wage determinations, contract opportunities, and contract data reports
  • View and submit BioPreferred and Service Contract Reports
  • Access publicly available award data via data extracts and system accounts

While you are required to register as an entity on to do business with any federal agency, you are not technically required to get a GSA Schedule. However, depending on your industry and your target government buyers, you may need to get a GSA Schedule to maximize your ability to compete for contract opportunities. Some agencies, like DOD, award a significant amount of contracts through the GSA Schedule. Other agencies, like NARA , award a high percentage of their total federal awards through the GSA Schedule. 

As Category Management continues to gain traction, agencies are tasked with utilizing specific contract vehicles, like the GSA Schedule, that meet Category Management goals of delivering more savings, value, and efficiency to federal agencies. To ensure your competitiveness in the federal market, position yourself with the contract vehicle(s) that your customers utilize most and that help them meet category management goals.

The qualifications needed to obtain a GSA Schedule Contract vary slightly from Schedule to Schedule. However, for the most part a company must meet the following criteria:

  • 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 TAA Designated Countries.

One of the primary benefits of holding a GSA Schedule is that it simplifies what is typically a complicated and lengthy federal procurement process. GSA Contracts comply with all applicable procurement regulations, and pricing has been deemed fair and reasonable, which reduces evaluation times. Depending on the dollar value of an opportunity, government buyers can make purchases directly from a contractor’s GSA Contract, eliminating time-consuming responses to complex RFP’s and lengthy negotiations.

GSA Schedule Benefits

  • One Contract Serves All – You can use a GSA Schedule Contract to sell to all federal buyers and, in some cases, even state and local government.
  • Limited Competition – When an agency issues a bid under the GSA Schedule, your pool of competition is greatly reduced.
  • Product Visibility – Government buyers can view and purchase products on GSA Advantage!, an online shopping site for GSA approved items.
  • Increased Opportunities – eBuy expands your potential pool of opportunities, allowing you to view and respond to RFQ’s.
  • Shorter Sales Cycle – When an agency purchases products or services through the GSA Schedule, everyone saves time with streamlined ordering procedures.
  • Qualifies as a Tier 2 Solution – A GSA Schedule is considered a Tier 2 Solution under the Governmentwide Category Management initiative. Some specific SINs also rise to the level of Tier 3, Best-in-Class Solutions.

There are several factors to consider when evaluating if your company should get a GSA Schedule Contract. Ultimately the answer comes down to eligibility, potential benefit, and readiness.  Take our GSA Schedule Assessment here to review the eight questions that will help you determine if you qualify, if you would potentially benefit, and if you are ready to pursue a GSA Schedule Contract.

GSA has recognized that the two-year business requirement designed to protect government buyers from companies without proven success, was also preventing government buyers from accessing innovative solutions. To address this problem, GSA created the Startup Springboard. This program allows companies that do not meet the two-year requirement, to still apply for a GSA Schedule Contract, albeit under more scrutiny.

Under the Startup Springboard, you must demonstrate financial stability, as well as the ability to manage a company of the size and scope you propose to GSA. While you do not need to provide two years of financial statements, you do still need to provide past performance, references, pricing, and invoicing – all of which can be a challenge for startups.

How Do I…..

  1. Get on the GSA List?
  2. Get GSA Certified?
  3. Get a GSA Number?
  4. Get GSA Approved?
  5. Get GSA Pricing?

The GSA Schedules Program can be confusing because it is referred to in a number of ways.  Getting on the GSA list, getting GSA Certified, or obtaining a GSA number are all terms that are used in reference to getting a GSA Schedule Contract.  Knowing that it is a government contract and not simply a certification, a number, or a placement on a list, can be helpful to understanding the process.  Companies that wish to get a GSA Schedule Contract must submit a proposal for consideration by GSA. For more information on the GSA Schedule process see, Getting on the GSA Schedule.

The time it takes to get a GSA Schedule Contract is broken up into two parts: 1) preparing your proposal and 2) GSA’s review of your proposal and negotiation of your contract award.  If you choose to prepare a proposal yourself, it could take anywhere from a few months to over a year. Once your proposal has been submitted to GSA, the review time will vary depending on which GSA Schedule category you are pursuing. Review times range from approximately three to four months for the IT Large Category to over a year for the Furniture and Security Categories.

A GSA Schedule Contract can be used to solicit hundreds of federal customers, including:

  • Federal and Executive Agencies
  • Department of Defense (DOD)
  • Government of the District of Columbia
  • Government Contractors Authorized to Spend Federal Dollars
  • Certain Institutions and International Organizations

Click here for a complete list of Eligible GSA Schedule Users.

The GSA Multiple Award Schedule Contract can be used to sell a wide range of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) products and services. All GSA Schedule products and services are categorized under the twelve Large Categories listed below. Each Large Category is further broken down into Subcategories and Special Item Numbers (SINs). Any product or services you sell on the GSA Schedule, must fit within a SIN. You can explore each Large Category along with its Subcategories and SINs here

  • Facilities
  • Furniture & Furnishings
  • Human Capital
  • Industrial Products and Services
  • Information Technology
  • Miscellaneous
  • Office Management
  • Professional Services
  • Scientific Management and Solutions
  • Security and Protection
  • Transportation and Logistics Services
  • Travel

The GSA Multiple Award Schedule Contract can be used to sell millions of products and services. However, there are some offerings that are not allowed on the GSA Schedule.

  • Firearms and Live Ammunition – Firearms and live ammunition are items that are prohibited under the GSA Schedule. The Defense Logistics Agency is in charge of the procurement of these items.
  • Construction and Architectural Engineering Services (A&E) – While construction management can be offered under the Professional Services category of the GSA Schedule, construction and A&E services are not allowed on the GSA Schedule. This is due to the Brooks Act that requires A&E firms to be evaluated based on competency and experience versus price.
  • Remanufactured Products – While there are a few exceptions, in general refurbished, reconditioned, and repaired items are not allowed on the GSA MAS Contract due to potential supply chain vulnerabilities. Learn more here.

While researching GSA Schedule Contracts, you may have come across the term “Streamlined GSA Proposal” or “Streamlined GSA Offer”. In 2016, GSA created a streamlined offer process for companies to obtain a new GSA Schedule Contract when their existing contract reaches the final option period of its 20-year term. The streamlined offer process has reduced requirements, in comparison to a standard new offer, to help expedite the approval process. This is GSA’s solution to make sure existing contractors do not have a lapse in their GSA Schedule Contract.

Learn all about the streamlined offer process here.

Need Help Getting on the GSA Schedule?

Federal Schedules, Inc. has been helping companies get their GSA Schedule Contracts since 1986. We can help you through each step of the process – from identifying the appropriate GSA Schedule categories and developing pricing strategies, to preparing your proposal and fielding negotiations with GSA. Contact us to discuss how we can assist you with the GSA Schedule Contract.

More Questions?

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Beginner’s Guide to
GSA Schedules

Download our Beginner’s Guide to the GSA Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) Contract to find our more information, including:

  • Requirements to Obtain a GSA MAS Contract
  • Benefits of Holding a GSA MAS Contract
  • Tips for Conducting GSA Contract Market Research
  • Overview of Steps Needed to Obtain a GSA MAS Contract