Getting a Government Contract Schedule


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Written by: Gustav Plato

If you are an emerging company, or are still in the process of maturing your business model, you probably do not have a General Services Administration (GSA) schedule. This is understandable. As a start-up, your focus was on your business concept. However, as you mature you need to begin to consider implementing the tools that will help you be competitive. One such tool is a GSA contract schedule.

As an emerging company, you probably did not consider a schedule because you did not know what it is, or how it could help you. So let us begin with the basics, and let us answer what a GSA schedule is and why you may want to have one.

Last year, the government spent over $ 35,750,000,000 through GSA Schedules. That is a lot of zeros and a lot of buying power. Here is what you need to know; if a product or service is commercially available, there is a good chance that the GSA buys it for all government agencies.

GSA is a centralized procurement and property management agency for the Federal government and manages more than one-quarter of the government’s total procurement dollars, and oversees the management of $500 billion in federal assets, including more than 8,300 government-owned or leased buildings and 170,000 vehicles. Suffice it to say, keep track of what GSA is doing as part of understanding the Federal market and how it is managing its business.

There is a variety of GSA schedule contracts (87 are shown on their web site) including ones for information technology, small business, or transportation. GSA Schedule Contract presents an excellent opportunity for a service provider, manufacturer, dealer or distributor who bases his or her business on quality, feature-rich products/services and sound business practices. Having a GSA number is like being listed catalogue or directory that has ONLY contractors who have been certified as responsible vendors by the federal government. Most federal government departments/agencies now require that their procurement offices use authorized GSA contractors. In some cases, they are not allowed to purchase goods or services from those vendors who are not GSA Schedule holders.

Being and authorized GSA Schedule holder provides you with visibility, establishes your credentials, and certifies to the buyer that you will be a ‘responsible’ contractor. GSA Schedules are available to federal buyers across the nation, and in some cases, for certain commodity areas, state and local procurement offices can purchase goods and services using the GSA contracts as well. Therefore, if you own or direct a company, this is a proven strategy to generate new business opportunities and create jobs.

Generally, getting a GSA Schedule can be pretty straightforward. That is if you understand its rules and procedures and the pages of acquisition regulations that underlie the Contract. Next, we will look at some of the requirements and restrictions that GSA imposes on businesses to help you understand what you can do and what makes sense for your organization.

We hope that this will help allay your concerns about getting a Schedule and will encourage you to take the next step and investigate the rewarding possibilities of such a contract for your firm.


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