I get a lot of questions about what the GSA Schedule Process is and how it works so I have decided to do a series of blog post that can serve as an easy step by step guide for vendors. This first post will start with what you need to be doing before you attempt the Schedules Program.
The GSA process is by far not an easy method. Once you have determined that a GSA Schedule is the right fit for you, it is a long journey to contract award and an even longer journey throughout the tenure of the contract. This is not said to discourage one from trying your hand at a schedule contract, it is merely presenting a realistic picture of having a federal contract. The Schedule Program was created to build revenue for businesses, and present a more streamlined process of awarding contracts for the federal government, while saving the taxpayer money. If you utilize your contract properly for example create a solid business strategy prior, during, and after the contract process a GSA schedule could be a more tranquil process for you than others. As you can see the schedule program is not a one application program and requires lots of work. To get started in the GSA process a vendor would need to have:
Completed market research of competitors in your commodity– This is done for several reasons. The first reason is to determine what prices were offered by your competitors and if you are able to compete with those prices. The second reason is to find out how your competitor has been doing with sales within that commodity and you will be able to make a determination of business strategies. The third reason this is done is because bottom line you need to know where your money is in the federal market.
Devise a business strategy– A business strategy should be started prior to attempting the schedule program. Your strategy should focus on how you will maneuver your way in the federal market once you receive the contract award, and during the contract award. You should also keep in mind that while devising your strategy that you need to allow yourself up to forty-eight months on return on investment.
Build solid relationships in the federal marketplace– This is one of the most important steps, if nobody knows what you do, where you are, or what you sell it will harder for you build revenue. Most contractors are behind the scenes type of people and only want to sell their products or services, unfortunately it takes more than that. Some contractors think they can hire a sales consultant to do the legwork, but I find that you would be doing your business a great injustice. A good sales consultant should have a blueprint of how you should generate sales and guide you in the right direction of where to go. Buyers need to see your face and hear your voice to connect you with your business.
Vendor Registrations– In order to do business with the federal government a vendor needs to register their business with the required domains. At one point a vendor needed to register with several different domains until recently. The System for Awards Management (SAM) has combined all registration domains into one and now a vendor only needs to register at www.sam.gov. As a reminder you should have a valid DUNS number as well.
Patience– The GSA Schedule process is time consuming and at times stressful, I repeat it is not a one application process. Be prepared to locate documentation at a minutes notice, make revisions, and reply to constant emails the good news is it all works out in the end.
This concludes series one, series two will focus on GSA Schedule preparation.
This post was written by Ilene Giles of Procurement Source Solutions. Ilene works with vendors who struggle with GSA Proposals and its processes. If you are in need of her services visit procurementsourcesolutions.com. To qualify for a GSA Schedule complete the GSA Prequalifier http://bit.ly/uOuz92 and contact her today.