Becoming a GSA approved vendor involves multiple steps. It is important to properly follow the process provided by the GSA for becoming an approved vendor to avoid any setbacks and help ensure your approval. This review discusses what the GSA is exactly, the minimum requirements to become a vendor, and how the process works.
What Is The GSA?
The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) is a government agency that is responsible for product and service procurement for government-related needs. One of the primary purposes of the GSA is to approve government contractors for GSA schedule contracts. This streamlines the process for securing contracts by establishing fixed rates with businesses that have a proven history of fulfilling government contracts and remaining compliant with all relevant government regulations.
Why Do Vendors Need GSA Approval?
The GSA is in charge of purchasing goods and services from contractors (or vendors). They only establish contracts (also known as “schedules”) with contractors that are “GSA approved”. Without GSA approval, it can become difficult to secure contracts with government agencies such as the Department of Defense (DOD).
Minimum Requirements To Pre-Qualify As A GSA Vendor
To be approved as a GSA vendor, your organization must establish an annual revenue of $25,000 or more, be in business for at least two years, and have the necessary experience and skills to execute technical contracts properly and with reliability. Outlined below is a greater look at each requirement.
Annual Revenue Of At Least $25,000
All applicants for GSA approval must show that they average an annual gross revenue of at least $25,000. Those who do not meet the minimum revenue standards may need to focus on increasing their workload via non-GSA government contracts and through private contracts.
In Business For At Least Two Years
In addition to establishing an annual revenue of at least $25,000, contractors must have a documented work history of no less than two years. Subsequently, proper licensing information and bookkeeping is essential to verify that you have the necessary experience to become a GSA approved vendor.
Specific Skills And Experience For Certain Technical Contracts
You may need special skills and experience that are relevant to your industry, especially to become eligible for some of the more technical contracts. This may involve showing that you have the necessary training and years of experience utilizing the training and education on the open market.
Steps Involved In Becoming A GSA Vendor
Becoming a GSA vendor involves registering your business with the federal government, completing online training, and responding to scheduled contract solicitations, among other steps that are discussed below.
Research Federal Opportunities Available To Your Business
Every business has unique opportunities to sell to the federal government based on the industry and the specific skills and products the business can provide. Before starting your GSA approval process, research what, if any, federal opportunities are available for your business.
Familiarize Yourself With The GSA Business Models
Since vendors are different based on the type of products they can provide, the GSA has separate business models that may apply. Notably, this includes Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quality (IDIQ) contracts, Government-wide Acquisition Contracts (GWACs), non-schedule-based contracts, subcontracting, and set-asides. You can learn more about each type of contract and which one is right for you based upon the goods and services you can provide on the GSA website.
Register Your Business To Sell To The Federal Government
You will need to register your business (entity) with the federal government. You can do this on SAM.gov. Before doing so, you will also need to locate your NAICS code with the U.S. Census Bureau and get a DUNS number, which can be done on the Dun & Bradstreet website. You may also need to register as a small business with the Small Business Administration.
Complete Online Training Provided By The GSA
The GSA offers online training programs to help you become a GSA approved vendor and to help you maintain compliance once you are officially approved. Reviewing the training modules provided by the GSA is a great way to ensure that you are remaining compliant and help you feel confident as you begin work as a GSA contractor.
Respond To Schedule Contract Solicitations
Government agencies may submit a solicitation to purchase your products or services, also known as a request for proposal (RFP). RFPs are sent to qualified contractors so that the GSA can gather bids. It is important to promptly reply to the RFP to procure contracts and remain in good standing with the GSA.