The task of managing your GSA contract can prove to be quite difficult especially if you have a supply contract with a large list of line items. Contractors unknowingly make mistakes that eventually become costly to your business. If you don’t understand the process of managing the contract once it is awarded it is best to hire a reputable consultant that can assist. If you decide to go at it on your own it is smart to read and understand what you are agreeing to before you sign on the dotted line or again, at least have a representative that can interpret what your responsibilities will be.
A small mistake could turn into a big deal if you don’t understand what is required of you, so follow what I call GSA’s golden rule in order to prevent facing future problems. Many times mistakes are found during the audit process and if there isn’t a sufficient reason why the mistake was made you could face penalties or possibly lose your contract altogether. Penalties can incur from the time the mistake occurred up to the moment the mistake was noticed and that my friend is costly. Here are some commom mistakes made by contractors post award that could possibly assist you.
Not properly documenting sales items- Contractors often do not have an internal system that separates GSA Schedule line items from Open Market line items. One of your duties as a contractor is to report your GSA Schedule sales quarterly, this means report all sales made under the scope of your GSA contract using the particular SIN within the contract. In order to maintain that properly it is best that you document your invoices accordingly if the item is Open Market that needs to be visible. If it is not visible to you then it is not visible to the Audit Officer and that can cause problems. Contract audits take place two times during the tenure of the contract. The first audit is within the first two years and the last takes place between the fourth and fifth year of the contract.
Offering discounts not applicable to the contract- If you have agreed to a particular price in your contract with the agency it is best that you apply that price to future customers in order to keep it simple. Hopefully during the negotiations you agreed to a price that is sufficient to market trends and a price that helps your business grow. Applying additional discounts and not notifying the agency won’t be pretty so do your market research before you get to this point in order to avoid any headaches.
Proper sales reporting- Not reporting your industrial funding fees or paying the fees on time can be an issue. After award of your contract the agency requires that the contractor report and pay any fees due every three months (quarterly), the fixed rate fee is 0.75% of all sales. If there are no sales for that quarter then you have no concerns, but you still have the responsibility to report 0 for the sales incurred. Sometimes this is a problem for vendors who get busy with the day to day activities and simply forget to report. That can become a problem and your business could incur more fees for not reporting or paying fees owed. So please report on time.
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