The GSA is a government agency that is primarily tasked with constructing and maintaining government workplaces. They purchase needed materials and hire services from contractors through GSA schedules, which are provided to government contractors and vendors that have at least a two year history of working on government issued contracts.
What Is A GSA Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) Contract?
A GSA contract, also called a GSA schedule or multiple award schedule (MAS), is a long-term contract with the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) that allows the contractor or vendor’s services or products to be purchased at predetermined prices.
How Long Does The Process Take?
In most cases, the GSA schedule process takes six to twelve months. However, times can range widely based on various factors.
Factors That Influence The Length Of The GSA Schedule Process
The process timeline varies depending on your contract experience, the type of GSA schedule you are pursuing, and your resources.
Your Contract Experience
If you have a history of successful government contracts, then the review process may be shorter. At minimum, GSA contractors are required to have two years of experience before acceptance.
The GSA Schedule You Are Pursuing
The most common type of GSA schedule is an indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract. However, there are various other types. The type of schedule can influence the length of the process.
The goods and services you provide may also factor into the GSA’s decision. If you have a specific service or product that is in short supply, then you may be approved faster.
How To Determine Your Eligibility
The GSA has relatively strict standards for who they provide with a GSA schedule. While it may seem extensive and difficult to obtain a schedule, you can increase your chances to ensure eligibility in three key ways: the age of your business, your compliance with government regulations, and finances and accounting.
2 Years In Business (Except IT)
First and foremost, the GSA requires all contractors they provide with a GSA schedule contract to have a minimum of two years of experience with their business. Ideally, this should include two years of work with government-issued contracts. The
GSA approved vendors and contractors are required to comply with the Trade Agreements Act (TAA). TAA compliance involves properly representing your listed products. Products are required to be produced in the United States or a TAA “designated country”.
It is also important to show a history of healthy financials and proper bookkeeping and accounting. Otherwise, your organization may not be GSA compliant.
How To Get On A Schedule
The following guide highlights how you can get on a GSA schedule. Keep in mind that the process may look slightly different for each contractor.
Register With The System For Award Management
The first step is to register with the GSA system for award management. You will need your special item number (SIN) and digital certificate to do so.
Find The Relevant GSA Schedule Special Item Numbers
A GSA Special Item Number (SIN) is an identification code provided to certain products and services the GSA may purchase. It is important to know your SIN for all of your goods and services.
Get The GSA MAS Solicitation and Digital Certificate
You may need a GSA MAS digital certificate to begin work on a GSA schedule. You can find out more about digital certificates and how to obtain one here.
Develop A Proposal
Once you have registered for award management, then you can begin the proposal process. This can take anywhere from three to twelve months.
Gather The Documentation You Need
You will first need to gather all relevant information and documents and have them neatly arranged and nearby when crafting your proposal.
Write A Proposal
The next step is to write your GSA schedule proposal. To do so, you will need to first determine the type of schedule. You can learn more about writing a GSA schedule proposal here.
Submit The Proposal
After you write the proposal according to the guidelines provided on the GSA website, then you can submit your proposal.
Wait For Review
The review process can take several months. In the meantime, you can work with other government agencies or in the private industry.
Negotiate Your Contract And Review The Final Proposal
If your GSA schedule is approved, then the GSA may respond with an offer (or counter offer) to the proposal. They will try to secure the fairest rates possible during this stage.
Reach Out To The Professional Government Contractor Accounting Team
You can contact our team at Diener & Associates by phone or message today to learn more about GSA schedules and find out if you are eligible to apply. We offer accounting services to help ensure your long-term compliance with the GSA and other government agencies.