Now that we have talked about what a vendor should be doing prior to attempting a GSA schedule I am going to focus on preparing your proposal submission. First, you should keep in mind for a person who has never done something like this this portion of the process will take much of your time. You should dedicate at least eight to ten hours per week to work on your proposal, that alloted time ensures that you have an acceptable proposal to submit to the agency. If you find that you do not have that amount of time to dedicate it is best that you hire a reputable consultant. I would like to add in the event that you do want to hire a reputable consultant you still have some responsiblities to the proposal process, such as submitting valid required documentation in a timely manner, making yourself and your company information transparent to the consultant as well as the agency, and trusting in the information and guidance that the consultant provides you.
The next phase is to read the solicitation in its entirety before starting anything. Take note of the requirements and ensure that you are within scope of the schedule. If there is anything that you do that is not within scope of the schedule do not present it to the agency because they are not interested. This is not to be harsh, but GSA schedules are streamlined and in order for it to be streamlined there are strict guidelines. Once you have a somewhat clear understanding of the schedule and what the agency is requiring you to do you should begin to gather required documentation. This documentation is generally needed for all proposal submissions, any additional documents are based on the which method you choose to use for your submission and any request that the agency Contracting Officer makes. Here is a rundown of the general documents needed:
Pathways to Success
ORCA & CCR report via System for Award Management
Previous 2 year financials
Open Ratings Receipt & One Copy of Open Ratings Report
One copy (each) of two (2) projects related to the Schedule
Price determinant (MFC)
With just that documentation alone anyone can get a little frazzled, but no worries take a deep breath and press on. Once you have all of your documentation together it needs to be attached to your proposal in the suggested section. Each schedule is different so you need to address the proposal based on which schedule is of interest to you.
A GSA proposal is like a short story of you and your company. Each section is broken down for you to present your offer in the best possible light in two pages or less, normally anything over that will be pretty much be disregarded. So be direct, honest, ensure that you are able to handle the project that is before you, and remember everything is negotiable. The key thing to remember about a GSA proposal is the pricing, the agencies main concern is awarding a contract based on fair and reasonable pricing. So it is best that you conduct market research for the pricing section of the proposal prior so that you know what your business is capable of handling. Once you have completed your proposal you are required to submit via e offer, which is heaven sent. The days of mailing in or dropping off a proposal are long gone for this agency. Be sure to keep track of correspondence to ensure timely award and follow up with any agency representatives for questions and updates.