A Complete Guide To Understand About GSA Schedule & How To Obtain a GSA Schedule Contract

A Complete Guide To Understand About GSA Schedule & How To Obtain a GSA Schedule Contract

By: BOB STEGER | Date: 2022-09-09

Let’s begin by understanding the General Service Administration (GSA).

The General Service Administration (GSA) was created in the year 1949 to streamline the acquisition and administrative work of the federal government of the United States. Over the years the GSA has grown rapidly since the late 1940s. It is America's only source made solely to procure goods and services for the government of the United States. The GSA provides centralized procurement for the federal government that reduces the administrative burden on other federal agencies.

The General Service Administration (GSA) offers a wide array of products and services that federal agencies need to serve the general public of the country. The GSA Schedule program provides shorter lead times and transparency to the government and commercial companies. The Federal Acquisition Service (FAS) delivers comprehensive products and services across the government at the best value. The GSA Schedule program generates approx $33  billion every year.

Companies that are willing to obtain a GSA Schedule contract, should submit a proposal that complies with the applicable GSA solicitation, depending on the products or services that the commercial companies want to offer to the U.S. government. GSA Schedules are open enrollment and that is why companies can apply at any time to get into the federal market. When you sell your company's products and services through a GSA contract, the terms and conditions are previously agreed upon through the GSA Schedule acquisition process. Agreeing upon terms and conditions simplifies the purchasing procedure for different federal agencies in the federal market.

GSA contract opens new contracting opportunities to commercial companies in the federal marketplace. The government agencies know the prices of your products and services and your company which gives them access to buy from you through the GSA contract. These contracts are created by the General Service Administration (GSA) which is an independent agency with the sole purpose of supporting federal agencies to buy products and services from commercial companies.

Pros of being on a GSA Schedule

The GSA Schedule program has several advantages for potential federal contractors. You will need to do a cost/benefit analysis before getting into the federal marketplace. Some of the most remarkable pros of the GSA Schedule program are mentioned below:

The GSA MAS program is well-established and highly utilized by federal contractors as a contracting vehicle for federal government procurement. GSA offers products and services that cover various industries. A large number of opportunity is available in the GSA program for federal contractors.

Working with the government can sometimes feel overwhelming but there are tools to help you learn more about the GSA and stay current on any GSA updates. The Roadmap for New Schedule Offerors, Vendor Education Center, and Vendor Support Center is very useful websites for educational resources to start the procedure of getting on a GSA Schedule.

Obtaining a GSA Schedule contract is not meant for every commercial company and that is why you should do an in-depth analysis before putting time, effort, and resources into the project.

What does the GSA Schedule offer to the contractors?

The offerings of the GSA are attracting more and more federal contractors to get into the program and obtain GSA Schedule contracts. In this section of this blog, we are going to let you know what GSA Schedule offers to contractors.

Regulatory compliance

One of the major perks of working within the GSA system is that the GSA evaluates each offeror to ensure that they are responsible for contractors during the GSA acquisition process. The vetting procedure while obtaining a GSA Schedule contract proves that contractors:

  • Have enough financial resources to perform the work that is anticipated by the schedule.
  • Can meet the delivery or performance requirements.
  • Have a satisfactory record of business ethics and integrity.
  • Have a satisfactory performance record.
  • Have the corporate facilities, resources, skills, equipment, and controls to do the work.
  • Qualified and eligible to receive a GSA Schedule contract award under federal laws and regulations. 

The vetting process showcase that your business is capable of complying with Federal Acquisition rules and is eligible to work with the government of the United States.

Fair & reasonable pricing

GSA Contracting Officers (COs) determine that the prices offered for goods and services are fair and reasonable before awarding a GSA MAS contract. GSA compares the prices that a company offers the government with the best prices or discounts. GSA also checks companies that offer 'most favored customer' pricing to its own commercial customers.

The GSA Contracting Officer considers many factors to determine fair and reasonable pricing. It includes pricing on competitor contracts, currently available pricing from other sources, and historical pricing.

As a part of the pricing review, the offeror needs to submit:

For a complete list of evaluation factors, terms and conditions view the Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) to check if the prices are fair and reasonable.

The faster order placement process

Ordering is much easier for government agencies because GSA prices have already been determined to be “fair and reasonable.” The ordering procedures through GSA allow government agencies to purchase commercial products and services quicker than buying through the open federal market. It is a win-win situation for government contractors as well as for government agencies. Federal Acquisition Regulation 8.4 outlines streamlined ordering processes for Schedules so that the government agencies can focus on the unique requirements of the purchase. This procedure of order is applicable to all government agencies. GSA also offers additional information which is related to unique features, flexibilities, and electronic buying tools of the Schedule.

It is important to note that orders that are placed against a MAS contract:

  • Must follow the processes set forth in FAR 8.4.
  • May be set aside for small businesses at the ordering Contracting Officer’s discretion.

Full product and board service offerings

GSA has a huge depth and breadth of offerings that are available to buyers. MAS contractors maintain continuous coverage and offer innovative technologies and solutions. GSA Schedules accomplish this through a continuously open solicitation which allows GSA to continuously onboard new federal contractors. GSA update offerings to include an innovative and new solutions to make sure that the government has access to the best the industry has to offer. MAS solicitation is open for new federal contractors to submit an offer at any time.

The Multiple Award Schedule provides federal contractors the opportunity to offer worldwide coverage. Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) contractors may offer any of the following three categories of geographic coverage:

  • Domestic
  • Worldwide
  • Overseas only

The MAS is organized into Large Categories of products and services offerings to facilitate the contract award and buying process. Larger categories are further sorted into subcategories and Special Item Numbers (SINs).

What are the schedule policy and procedures?

The GSA MAS program is guided by two major governing regulatory documents and these are FAR and GSAM.

The Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) contains the principle rules and regulations that govern the federal acquisition process. It ensures that the purchasing process remains standard and consistent across GSA contractors so that there is a standard document. Several GSA contract provisions and clauses reference the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) which is why it is essential to familiarize yourself as a contractor with the document to understand the GSA Schedule acquisition process. FAR 8.002 outlines an order of procurement that federal agencies need to follow while buying goods and services. This section of the FAR mandates that if purchases can be completed through a Federal Supply Schedule they need to be done before agencies seek other Commercial Sources. Therefore, FAR can be utilized to your advantage if you know it.

The term GSAM stands for General Service Acquisition Manual. It provides background on the purpose of GSA, definitions of key words, and terms frequently used in the world of GSA. It also gives an outline of competition and acquisition planning. FAR is used for all federal acquisitions and GSAM is specific to GSA which makes it pertinent for prospective GSA contractors. The GSAM will answer any question you may have about GSA socioeconomic program that contractors can utilize, contracting methods, contracting types, and contracting requirements.

Features of a GSA Schedule

Multiple features of a GSA Schedule are offered to buyers and sellers. The following features are available for the buyers:

  • Negotiated contract ceiling prices.
  • Opportunities for discounts at the level of order.
  • Single government contracting vehicle to fulfill complex or ongoing needs and reduce overall contract awards and administration.
  • Lesser administrative time and contract information.
Socioeconomic credits for orders awarded to small businesses and several other socioeconomic categories.

The following features are available for the sellers:

  • creased opportunities to reach federal buyers.
  • Increased opportunities for socioeconomic set-asides.
  • Opportunity for a 20-year contract.


So now you have enough knowledge about the GSA Schedule program and GSA Schedule contracts. Obtain a GSA certification to get into the GSA Schedule program and acquire GSA Schedule contracts.

Complete template of the price proposal.

Pricing support for offered pricing.

The mechanism for future potential pricing adjustments.

Proof that the price is fair and reasonable.

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