The Role of GSA Schedules in Federal Contracting
This video provides an overview of federal contracting and major agency buying programs. It demonstrates the value of having a GSA schedule contract.
What is the GSA
The General Services Administration, or GSA, is a central buying authority for the U.S. Federal government. It runs the Public Building Service (PBS) and the Federal Acquisition Service (FAS).
To make Federal buying more efficient and less costly, GSA identified over 30 million commercial products and services that it regularly buys. GSA then divided all these commercial items into logical groupings, which they refer to as GSA schedules. In other words, GSA Schedules are groupings of like items that the federal agencies routinely buy.
GSA then created GSA contract solicitations so that commercial firms could submit an offer and negotiate a GSA contract. If a company successfully completes the GSA negotiation, GSA will award contract.
What is a GSA Schedule Contract?
A GSA Schedule contract enables you to sell your products or services to ANY agency of the federal government, certain other organizations, and state and local governments (under some circumstances).
Best of all, it allows your business to receive orders for products or services without the need to respond to each government request for costly federal proposals and confusing federal contract requirements.
It is a contract for five-years, with three five-year option periods. So it is potentially a 20-year contract with the world's largest client.
A GSA contract is also a government-wide contract, which means you can sell to any Federal agency, not just GSA. Without such a deal, you would need to bid on and negotiate with agencies separately
Many synonymous terms are used to describe the program, such as:
- GSA Schedule
- GSA Contract
- Federal Supply Schedule
- Multiple Award Schedule or MAS
- GSA Listing
- GSA Number
GSA Schedule contracts have become the contracting vehicle of choice for procurement officers. Obtaining a GSA Schedule contract enables your firm to be listed on GSA eLibrary and provides you with access to GSA eBuy, an exclusive database of requests for quotations reserved only for GSA contractors.
Countless firms have pursued opportunities with agencies and convinced technical staff that their product or service was great, only to be asked, "Do you have a Schedule?" If the answer is yes, those firms are in business; if not, they are out of luck.
Small Businesses Size Standard
Congress requires agencies to issue 23% of its prime contracts to small businesses. Small business is defined by the SBA size standard based on your industry. For manufacturing or products industries, it uses the number of employees as the determination of size (often it is 500 employees). For service firms, it is usually based on revenues (varies widely depending on industry codes, but can run from $7.5 million to $37 million).