What do you think it takes to get started in the GSA Schedule program?  Is it as simple as a one application process or will it command work?  If you want to be successful there are a few critical steps that will put you on the right path, check them out here:

  1. Have a clear understanding– Getting a GSA schedule is not mandatory for any contractor but it definitely makes your company more appealing in the federal market.  So if you’re a business and you qualify a GSA schedule is a great place to start.  Understanding the federal sector or at least having someone to represent you who has a clear understanding will help you move with ease.  GSA contracts have a formal process that is structured in accordance to the rules and regulations of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) and its internal regulatory General Services Administration Acquisition Manual (GSAM).  Becoming familiar with federal language and protocol will certainly take a lot of stress out of the process.

  2. Determine if you are the right fit– Before jumping into applying you want to be sure that you are the right fit.  I have seen many customers desperately wanting to apply for the schedule to only find it would have never helped them grow in the federal market because GSA had no need for their commodity.  GSA buys all types of products and services but you want to be sure that they have a need for what you sell.  Although there are several ways to conduct an in depth research a quick way is by visiting GSA e-library.  GSA e-library provides detailed descriptions of products and services that are solicited, as well as the vendors that  currently hold GSA schedules for those commodities.

  3. Registrations– If you want to do business with GSA you are required to ensure proper company registrations such as, EIN, State Business License, DUNS number, and SAM Registration.  All registrations are free except for state business license.

  4. Financial responsibility– One of GSA’s major requirements are financial stability.  Although they require that your business has accumulated at least fifty thousand dollars in sales for two previous years will that amount be enough to keep your business operational?  Once you receive a government contract there may be months where you have provided service and/or products before receiving compensation for it.  Before making that move forward make sure that you have adequate funds in place prior to obtaining opportunities.

  5. Qualifications– GSA has four preliminary requirements to apply.  You must maintain at least fifty thousand dollars in sales for two previous years.  You must have performed at least two consistent years of business that is related to the GSA schedule you wish to apply.  If you offer products they are required to be in compliance with the Trade Agreements Act, and in some cases the Buy American Act (See FAR 52.225-5).  All products and services must be commercially available.  All preliminary requirements are mandatory in order to apply.

  6. Know who buys what you sell– Before applying for a GSA schedule you should know who your target market is.  Your target market will be who you market your GSA schedule to for potential opportunities.  You may visit the Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS) to assist you with your research.

  7. Set goals– In federal contracts you have to know your business in order to grow your business.  You can start by setting short to long term goals and modify those goals as you make progress.  Some questions that you can ask yourself in order to prepare those goals are, What do you want to achieve with government contracts?, What capabilities are needed to help you achieve your goals?, or How will you manage the progression of those goals?

  8. Be realistic– A GSA schedule is not a get rich quick type of business.  Commit to devising a business strategy that is realistic and works for your company.

Was this helpful? Let me know by leaving a comment below or contacting me Ilene@gsaproposalmaven.com.

Ilene Giles is a GSA schedules expert that has helped thousands of businesses grow with a GSA contract.  Get her FREE CD, “What You Need To Know Before Applying For A GSA schedule” or contact her today for a FREE consultation at GSAProposalMaven/meet-Ilene.

Want more news like this? Sign up for my weekly newsletter click here