The General Services Administration is the branch of the US federal government that handles procurement. The process was streamlined by the federal government in 1994 by creating GSA Schedules to simplify this process and remove redundant administrative process by both the government buyers as well as government suppliers. A GSA Schedule is basically an unfunded five year contract with the U.S. federal government.
Getting on a GSA Schedule can be an arduous task. The General Services Administration, or GSA, wants to make sure that all vendors are both well qualified to provide the good or service to the government and financially stable. The normal amount of documentation requested by the GSA in order to be placed on schedule is between 300-500 pages. This takes more than 200 hours for a fully trained analyst to generate. Getting on a GSA Schedule involves an examination process by the General Services Administration to ensure that quality and service thresholds will be met or exceeded.
This level of scrutiny is required by the GSA because once a firm is placed on a GSA schedule that firm could be selling to several different federal agencies as well as state and local government clients. The government buyers rely on this rigorous level of scrutiny and see the GSA as a very safe place to procure necessary products and services.
From Scratch here is the process for getting placed upon a GSA Schedule.
STEP 1: Obtaining a D-U-N-S number from D&B is your first step. A D-U-N-S number can be obtained for free at the following website. www.fedgov.dnb.com/webform
STEP 2: Register with the CCR (Central Contracting Registry) www.bpn.gov/ccr/default.aspx. There are companies that provide a CCR Registration Service a link to our partner is www.ez8a.com/ccr-registration.aspx and the cost for this service should be around $100-125.
STEP 3: Determine if your firm can get HUBZone Certified or is 8a Eligible. Firms we partner with regarding HUBZone Certification is www.hubzone.us.com and for 8a Certification the firm we partner with is www.ez8a.com
If you are eligible for either of these Certifications we highly recommend that you obtain these certifications as it will place your firm at the top of the list for GSA Schedule approval as well as make the firm eligible for special "set-aside" contracts.
STEP 4: Determine if your firm meets the following requirements set forth by the GSA to be placed upon a GSA Schedule. (Note: Some requirements may vary based upon the firm’s NAICS and governmental agency requirements)
- Firm has been in business for two years. For certain schedules only one year is required.
- Minimum of six references from sources with whom you have done business. For many GSA Contracts you will have to contact D&B and have an Open Ratings www.prod.openratings.com/spe/order performed on your company. This is where D&B independently has past and present customers rate the quality of your products or services.
STEP 5: Register with ORCA www.orca.bpn.gov the Online Representations and Certifications Application. ORCA saves time by making all of the information it collects available to all governmental units that would be using your product or services.
STEP 6: Find a suitable GSA schedule for your firm. It should be in an area of business that your firm has significant experience. The GSA will want to make sure that your firm has the capabilities to successfully supply the government. To search for GSA schedules see the GSA elibrary resource at www.gsaelibrary.gsa.gov/ElibMain/home.do.
STEP 7: Apply to be placed upon the GSA Schedule. This involves answering the RFP placed for bid at GSA elibrary. The GSA will require a large amount of documentation as part of this process wanting general information about your firm, as well as pricing history for all products offered as part of the service and complete job descriptions for employees providing services to the government.
STEP 8: A Negotiation will take place between your firm and the GSA. If successful your firm will be placed upon a GSA Schedule.
STEP 9: The next step is for the firm to upload its price list to GSA Advantage website https://www.gsaadvantage.gov. All pricing sheets must be kept up to date as part of any GSA Schedule for the life of the schedule. We will communicate directly with the GSA contracting officer on your behalf to insure that your file is up to date and accurate.
STEP 10: Once you have been placed on a GSA Schedule, your firm now has "a license to hunt", the firm must then engage in marketing activities to the end user at the government agency. This may take a significant amount of management time and there needs to be a commitment from management that selling to the Federal Government is a priority.
Note: There is a minimum of $25,000 in sales for the first 24 months a company is placed on a schedule and a minimum of $25,000 per 12 month period thereafter for maintaining the firms place on the GSA Schedule.