Beginner’s Guide to GSA Schedule Contracts: Get the Guide

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.

GSA Schedule Contracts, also known as GSA Schedules or Federal Supply Schedules, are indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity (IDIQ), long-term contracts under the General Services Administration’s Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) Program. GSA Schedule Contracts were developed to assist federal employees in purchasing products and services; they contain pre-negotiated prices, delivery terms, warranties, and other terms and conditions which streamline the buying process.

For more information on what the GSA Schedule Contract is click here or watch our 2-minute video

There is no law that requires a contractor to hold a GSA Schedule in order to conduct business with the federal government. However, many agencies will only place orders through GSA Schedule Contracts. As a result, companies that conduct significant business with the federal government ultimately find it necessary to obtain a Schedule Contract.

Acquisitions through GSA Schedules are issued using full and open competition. Prices have already been deemed fair and reasonable, and Contracts are in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations, reducing evaluation cycles. Purchases can be made directly from a contractor’s GSA Schedule Contract, eliminating time-consuming responses to complex RFP’s and lengthy negotiations.

  • Blanket Purchase Agreements (BPAs) between agencies and contractors under the GSA Schedule are established to meet recurring product/service needs. BPA’s reduce administrative costs by eliminating repetitive ordering procedures.
  • Contractor Team Arrangements (CTAs) are agreements between two or more GSA Schedule Contract holders to work together in order to provide a complete solution to an agency’s need.
  • GSA Advantage!, is an online shopping mall for federal government agencies to view, compare, and directly purchase products and services available through GSA Schedule Contracts.

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.

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.

GSA awards Schedule Contracts to responsible companies that offer Commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) products and services falling within the descriptions of the Schedules. Combined, the GSA Schedules are a comprehensive, categorical offering of almost every product and service available. To date, there are over 11 million commercial products and services available through the GSA Schedules.

There are, however a few products and services that are restricted from the Schedules Program. Currently firearms and ammunition, as well as construction and architectural services are not allowed on the GSA Schedule. While it is unlikely that firearms and ammunition will ever be permitted on the GSA Schedule, there has been recent talk of adding construction services to the program. In the meantime, there are some aspects of construction and architectural services that may fall under the scope of Schedule 871, Professional Engineering Services.

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?

Federal Schedules GSA Schedule FAQ GSA BGuide download

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