Intro to the GSA MAS Contract: Benefits, Eligibility, & Proposal Process Learn More

How to Hire a GSA Consultant

How to Hire a GSA Consultant

If your company is considering or currently holds a General Service Administration (GSA) Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) Contract, you may benefit from the help of a GSA consultant.

The GSA MAS Contract, also referred to as the GSA Schedule, streamlines the government sales process. However, obtaining and managing the contract can be an overwhelming maze of regulations and unexpected hurdles. Many companies choose to hire a GSA consultant to avoid common pitfalls, save time, and get the most value from the contract.

While there is no shortage of consultants that offer assistance with the GSA Schedule process, it can be challenging to find a company that is worthy of your investment and can best meet your needs. Learn more about how a GSA consultant can help your company and how to evaluate service providers to find the right fit for your company.

What Does a GSA Consultant Do?

Your GSA Contract is a tool for expanding and capturing opportunities in the federal market. A skilled GSA consultant helps train you on how to effectively use this tool. They also help ensure your contract is in optimal condition to capture government contract opportunities.

Depending on the level of service, a GSA Schedule consultant may:

  • Advise you on eligibility and feasibility
  • Conduct market research and competitive analysis
  • Develop your proposal or modification
  • Handle correspondence with your GSA Contracting Officer
  • Provide guidance in relation to GSA contract administration, sales, reporting, and compliance
  • Conduct GSA Advantage Uploads

The right GSA consultant will serve as your strategic partner. As experts in the federal contracting industry, seasoned consultants have in-depth knowledge and valuable experience dealing with complex GSA regulations, policies, and requirements.

In Addition to Saving You Time & Money, a Good GSA Consultant Provides Strategic Advisement While Navigating Your Company Through the Complexities of the GSA MAS Contract.

The Benefits of GSA Consultants

Tackling the GSA Schedule with in-house resources may save money in the short-term. However, ultimately, it could end up costing your company more in terms of lost time, pulled resources, missed opportunities, and lower return on investment. On top of lost time, you run the risk of errors and inconsistencies that could lead to the rejection of your proposal.

In contrast, a GSA consultant simplifies and streamlines the proposal process, providing strategic advice throughout every step.

When you work with a GSA consultant, they can help you:

  • Save Time to Focus on Your Business Growth: A full-service consultant will take on as much of the process as possible, enabling your team to focus on critical business operations.
  • Negotiate a Better GSA Contract: A skilled GSA consultant will utilize market research along with their experience to help you negotiate a GSA Contract that’s competitive and profitable.
  • Understand How to Effectively Use & Maintain Your Contract: A good consultant will educate you throughout the process. They’ll also take the time to explain your contract terms, review resources for finding opportunities, and detail your post-award compliance requirements.
  • Ensure Your GSA Contract is Sales Ready and Compliant: Post-award, a consultant assists you in understanding and complying with the terms and conditions and any changes impacting your contract.
Save Time

Focus on your business while your consultant manages your GSA Contract.

Negotiate Like a Pro

A skilled consultant will help negotiate a contract geared towards your long-term success.

Understand Your GSA Contract

Training on how to effectively use and maintain your contract is critical to your success.

Be Sales Ready

Keeping your contract up to date and compliant is a key step towards winning bids.

8 Factors to Consider in a GSA Consultant

It’s important to note, not all GSA consultants offer the same services or even level of service. Taking time to vet each prospective option before hiring a GSA consultant is critical. Asking the right questions upfront will help you select a firm with the reliability and expertise you need to achieve long-term success and sustainable growth.

To help you hire the best GSA consultant for your business, here are eight essential factors to consider:

1. Reputation

One of the first things you should consider when looking at prospective consultants is the reputation and success of each company. Review client testimonials and ask for references to get a sense of the firm’s client satisfaction. Glowing reviews, a positive reputation, and high client success rates are strong indicators you’re on the right path.

🚩Watch out for anonymous testimonials and a lack of references. These are red flags you should not ignore. A company with a less than stellar reputation is more likely to overpromise and underdeliver.

2. Years of Experience

When searching for a GSA consultant, years of experience are typically directly related to a company’s reputation and success rate. The solicitation governing the GSA Schedule is complex; it takes more than a few years to learn the ins and outs of the GSA proposal and modification process.

Additionally, the more years of experience, the more likely the consultant has worked with many different GSA Contracting Officers. Why does this matter? While GSA is continually working to standardize the proposal and modification process, many aspects are left to the discretion of the GSA Contracting Officer. Experience with a wide range of Contracting Officers helps a consultant better anticipate potential questions and requests during the GSA review process. Experience also helps a consultant identify standard versus out of the ordinary requests and respond accordingly.

🚩The fewer years of experience, the more likely you are to experience issues during the proposal or modification process. These issues could lead to delays, rejection, and/or missed opportunities in negotiating the best rates.

3. Expertise

The GSA Schedule is a unique and complex contract, which is why you are better served by a specialist versus a generalist. The fact that some of the top contractors with departments dedicated to government contracting still seek outside assistance with the GSA Schedule speaks to this.

Specific industry expertise is another factor to consider when making your decision. Depending on your industry, there may be specialized qualifications and certifications beyond the standard requirements. Expertise across all the GSA Large Categories helps you better plan and avoid surprises.

🚩If support for the GSA MAS Contract is only a portion of the consultant’s services, they may not be true experts in the field.

4. Level of Service

When comparing prospective firms, it’s important to understand the level of service each GSA consultant provides. Do they offer general guidance and provide you with templates to complete on your own? Or, are they hands-on and full service? Do they take the time to get to know your business in order to develop a proposal that’s intended to achieve your goals? Do they provide support for the entire GSA Contract lifecycle and field correspondence with GSA on your behalf?

🚩A lower cost is typically associated with a lower level of service and expertise. If you have government contract experience and extra time on your hands, this may meet your needs. However, if you lack time and/or experience with the GSA solicitation and compliance regulations, you will likely benefit most from a full-service consultant.

5. Bandwidth & Resources

If you decide to move forward with a consultant, are they prepared to start work right away? Do they have the bandwidth and resources to devote to your project, or will your work be delayed while they wrap up existing projects. The staffing resources of your prospective consultant is particularly important if your proposal award or modification approval is time sensitive.

🚩 If you have just one point of contact for your project, consider how your project will be addressed if that person is out of the office unexpectedly .

6. Your Experience During the Sales Process

During the early stages of assessing your options, consider how responsive each firm is to your questions and concerns. Beyond answering your questions, is the consultant asking you questions? Are they providing information, so you can make the most informed decision for your company?

These first impressions can be a great indicator of future service. Excellent service starts with well-articulated answers to your questions. A positive experience during the sales process can demonstrate in-depth knowledge and expertise on the part of the prospective consultant.

🚩High-pressure sales tactics are always a warning sign, regardless of the industry. When looking for a GSA consultant, be leery of companies that promote the GSA Schedule as a “no-bid” contract with “guaranteed sales”. A reputable consultant will take the time to help you determine if the GSA Schedule is a good fit for your business.

7. Project Engagement

If you decide to engage with a consultant, what does the process look like post-signature? Who will you be working with directly during the project; will you have a team or a single point of contact? What is their standard response time? Is there an established and well-defined course of action for completing your project? If you continue to work with the consultant after your initial engagement, will you work with the same person/people? These are all questions to consider prior to selecting a service provider.

🚩A lack of action plan is reason for concern. Also, it is helpful to know who you will be working with prior to engaging with a company. If this information is not available, you should at least know the minimum experience of your primary point of contact for the project.

8. Contract Responsibilities

When it comes time to sign a contract for GSA support services, carefully evaluate the terms and responsibilities laid out in the contract. Is it clear what tasks the consultant will handle and what your company must provide, or are responsibilities vaguely defined? Before signing a contract, ensure it clearly outlines all of responsibilities and terms. Make sure to ask about tasks that fall outside of the proposal scope to prevent unplanned expenses.

🚩A contract that does not delineate responsibilities is a red flag. Also, unless you’ve worked with the consultant before and the contract is for a small project, requiring the entire payment upfront is another red flag.

Put FEDSched to the 8-Factor Test

Our team here at FEDSched has worked hard over the years to earn a reputation for excellence within the GSA Schedule contracting community. Put our team to the test and find out why thousands of contractors – from small businesses and non-profits, to fortune 100 companies – have trusted our team with their GSA Contract needs.