For many successful vendors, obtaining a GSA Schedule contract seems like the logical “next step” in their government contracting career. A GSA Schedule contract can be very rewarding for a business but also comes with some risks as well. Obtaining a GSA Schedule can also become quite costly in both time and money for some businesses.
The first step for any business considering a GSA Schedule is research. Learn about the advantages and risks you take, the laws and regulations governing the GSA Schedule program, what products and services are currently being offered on the GSA Advantage website and what would be required of your business if you were awarded a contract. You may need to make changes to your business practices in order to take advantage of a GSA Schedule contract. It is recommended that vendors get their feet wet in standard government procurement practices before taking the plunge into GSA Schedules.
If after doing the research you believe a GSA Schedule is right for your business, the next step is to start the registration process. Your company should already have obtained a DUNS number and completed SAM registration. You should also decide which schedule you will sell your product or service under and locate the appropriate solicitation for that schedule on FedBizOpps. Once you’ve selected a solicitation, you’ll need to complete all the documentation and submit it to GSA for review and approval.
Once your documentation has been received, it takes an average of 90 days before your schedule contract can be approved. If there are any errors or omissions in your documentation, this can cause significant delays in processing your application.
After your request has been approved, you will need to upload a catalog of your products or services so government customers may evaluate your company’s offerings and decide whether or not to buy from you.
Keep in mind that a GSA Schedule contract does not guarantee your firm any money or business. The GSA Schedule program is just a vehicle to accessing new streams of revenue; you will still need to market your business to government buyers to entice them to buy from you.
Check out the following video for more information about GSA Schedule contracts, how to register and what challenges and benefits you can expect from the program. The video is focused on PR firms, but the information shared about GSA is invaluable to all industries.