A GSA Schedule Proposal is your gateway to lucrative government contracts and a pivotal tool in securing a place in the federal marketplace. Crafting a comprehensive one is not just a task; it's an art form that combines precision, strategy, and attention to detail. In today's competitive landscape, navigating the intricacies of government procurement demands more than mere paperwork; it requires a strategic approach that sets you apart from the crowd.
This comprehensive guide will take you on a journey through the intricate process of crafting a winning GSA Schedule Proposal. Whether you're a seasoned contractor looking to renew your schedule or a newcomer aiming to break into the federal arena, you'll find invaluable insights here.
We will dive deep into the technical and pricing sections, helping you decode the jargon, optimize your offerings, and align your proposal with the government's exacting standards.
Are you ready to unlock the doors to a world of government contracts? Let's embark on the journey of preparing a GSA Schedule Proposal together.
The GSA Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) offered by the General Services Administration is a widely-used contract mechanism for supplying goods and services to the government. Those aspiring to become contractors under the GSA MAS should be aware that the proposal process comprises three distinct segments: administrative, technical, and pricing. If you're currently perusing this document, we are here to provide you with valuable insights into the essential elements of the each and every section and offer guidance on what to consider as you proceed with the phases.
The administrative section, which serves as the initial part of your proposal, acts as an introduction to your company. As the term "administrative" implies, this section encompasses all the administrative-related details, such as your company's address, contact information, and business registration records. It is crucial that the Contracting Officer, the individual responsible for reviewing your proposal, forms a positive first impression of your business through this section. Furthermore, this section establishes the primary Points of Contact (POCs) for the proposal, including individuals within your company and external entities like consultants.
These designated individuals have the authority to negotiate on behalf of your company and manage the contract during the negotiation phase. Beyond establishing your company's reputation, this section also showcases to the Contracting Officer the research and preparation invested in your proposal, underscoring your commitment to securing the contract.
Check out our article on How Can Securing a GSA Schedule Propel Your Business Forward?
A competitive proposal necessitates several documents, with many of them falling within the administrative section. While additional documents may be required depending on your offerings and business size, this section generally follows a standard format.
Submission of your company's System for Award Management (SAM) certificate and Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) report.
SAM registration is a prerequisite for conducting business with the government and must be updated annually to ensure federal compliance with various requirements.
The FAR report obtained from this system contains representations and certifications that
are essential for compliance.
Note: SAM registration, including obtaining a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI), replaces the DUNS number and is a mandatory step in securing government contracts. Starting this process early is advisable due to potential delays.
GSA mandates the submission of Profit and loss statements from the two most recent years unless you are utilizing the Startup Springboard Program, in which case alternative information can fulfill this requirement.
Your Contracting Officer will scrutinize these statements to evaluate your company's financial stability, particularly its ability to handle the demands associated with being a government contractor.
Organizational Chart: This chart should depict the organizational hierarchy within your company, providing insight into your internal structure.
Employee Handbook and Statement on Overtime Policy: GSA requires a copy of your employee handbook to review internal policies and processes within your company. Additionally, a separate statement on your company's overtime policy is necessary, which can often be extracted directly from your employee handbook, if applicable.
Readiness Assessment: Every contractor must complete a Readiness Assessment document, which helps ensure that you are prepared to submit an offer within the appropriate GSA Large Category, Subcategory, and Special Item Number (SIN).
Statement on Subcontracting: Depending on your business's size, you may be obligated to submit a Small Business Subcontracting Plan. You must provide a statement indicating whether this requirement applies to your business.
Statement on Production Points: This document outlines all production points associated with your company. If your business operates multiple production facilities for its products, you should specify them in this section.
Other Statements: The administrative section may require statements on various other matters related to your proposal, which can vary based on your offerings and specific proposal details. These may encompass topics such as compliance with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and exceptions to Representations and Certifications, among others.
As mentioned earlier, the documents required may vary depending on the products and services you intend to offer. To determine the exact documents you need to submit, we recommend referencing the MAS Large Category attachments for comprehensive guidance.
The Technical Section of the GSA Schedule Proposal serves as a crucial platform for contractors to demonstrate their technical prowess and readiness to fulfill government orders under the GSA Schedule. This segment follows a structured framework outlined in the MAS Solicitation, guiding contractors in presenting their expertise effectively.
Corporate Experience Narrative: This section allows you to showcase your company's business history. You should detail the goods or services you offer, your workforce's relevant qualifications, information about your organizational and accounting controls, and your resources available to fulfill orders under the GSA Schedule. Mention successful projects, especially if they involve government agencies, and outline your marketing strategy for your contract offerings. If applicable, describe your plans for subcontractors.
Quality Control Narrative: In this part, you'll present your company's quality control procedures, emphasizing their robustness. Discuss internal review processes, the responsible personnel, measures for subcontractor quality control, and strategies for problem resolution. Address how you maintain high-quality standards during urgent requirements and concurrent projects.
Past Performance: Demonstrate a track record of successful performance, aligned with the goods or services you intend to offer under the GSA Schedule. Offerors should provide Contractor Performance Assessment Reports (CPARs) or Past Performance Questionnaires (PPQs) along with Customer References. For those lacking CPARs, the Solicitation offers alternative options.
Past Project Narratives (Services Only): If you plan to offer services, you must include Past Project Narratives based on relevant Statements of Work (SOWs). These narratives should cover projects completed or ongoing within the last two years. Describe the work's scope, methodology, tools, compliance with regulations, project schedules, and how it relates to your proposed SIN (Special Item Number).
It's important to note that specific SINs may have unique requirements within the Technical Section, and some Information Technology SINs may require additional documentation. Understanding these nuances is crucial for a successful GSA Schedule Proposal.
The final stage of the GSA Schedule proposal process is the pricing section, which is considered the most intricate part of the proposal. In this section, you are required to outline your prices and provide justifications for them. The GSA Contracting Officer (CO) responsible for your application will then assess whether your prices align with the "fair and reasonable" criteria as defined in the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Part 15.
The GSA has stringent guidelines aimed at obtaining the "best value" for the goods and services procured from contractors. In this article, we will guide you through what the pricing section of the GSA Schedule proposal entails and how to position yourself for success.
Requirements for the Pricing Section:
The initial step in creating an effective pricing section is gaining a deep understanding of the marketplace you intend to enter. This involves conducting market research to gain insights into competitor pricing and the volume of business conducted within your industry through the GSA Schedule.
With a better grasp of the market landscape, you can start compiling your pricing section, which includes several crucial documents. The central document is the Price Proposal Template (PPT). This template allows you to present all your pricing data, including proposed Special Item Numbers (SINs), the unit of sale (e.g., per hour, per item), product or labor descriptions, and price lists and discounts for potential GSA customers. It's important to note that the specific information required may vary depending on your pricing support and whether you opt for Commercial Sales Practices (CSP) or Transactional Data Reporting (TDR).
Determining Price: Commercial Sales Practices or Transactional Data Reporting:
CSP supports your pricing data by referencing publicly available pricing information, such as the Commercial Price List (for GSA product vendors) or the Market Rate Sheet (for service vendors). You should submit past invoices, catalogs, or pricing from similar contracts as supporting documents. CSP essentially outlines what you offer to your commercial customers compared to what you offer to the federal government through GSA. It is also used to determine which customer or customer class is offered the lowest price, including reporting on your Most Favored Customer (MFC) and other discounting and sales practices.
In contrast, TDR streamlines the process by determining fair and reasonable pricing based on market indicators. While you still need to include elements of the pricing section such as a PPT, pricing narrative (discussed below), and pricing support, you are not required to disclose various discounts your company offers to commercial customers. TDR also involves reporting sales on a monthly basis instead of quarterly and submitting a more comprehensive sales report.
The GSA aims to transition away from CSP in favor of TDR, but this program is still in its pilot phase and is only applicable to specific SINs. Choosing between CSP and TDR depends on your company's solutions and needs, so we recommend a thorough review of both options before making a decision.
Pricing Narrative and Economic Price Adjustment:
The pricing narrative accompanies the PPT and serves to elucidate the rationale behind your pricing strategy, demonstrating your understanding of GSA compliance regulations.
Another vital aspect of the pricing section is the Economic Price Adjustment (EPA), sometimes referred to as EPA Clause. This mechanism allows you to adjust your prices at a fixed annual rate or through a modification request later on. There are three methods to choose from:
EPA Clause 552.216-70: Typically applies to GSA product vendors with pricing based on publicly available Commercial Price Lists. Under this clause, you can request GSA price increases when your commercial prices rise, with the first request being permissible 12 months after the initial contract award. Price increases generally range from 4% to 10%, depending on your Schedule Large Category.
EPA Clause I-FSS-969: Preferred by GSA service contractors. Price increases under this clause follow a predetermined escalation rate established prior to your contract award. Prices are automatically increased every 12 months without the need for additional requests.
EPA Clause I-FSS-969(b)(2): Price increases are determined based on agreed-upon publicly available market indicators, typically linked to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Cost Index.
In summary, the pricing section of the GSA Schedule proposal is a critical component of the proposal process, and understanding the requirements, options, and strategies involved is essential for success in securing a GSA contract.
Preparing a GSA Schedule proposal is a pivotal step toward unlocking a world of opportunities in government contracting. It's not just about filling out forms; it's about strategically positioning your business for success in the federal marketplace.
By following the guidelines and best practices outlined in this process, you'll be well-prepared to navigate the complexities of the proposal submission process, showcase your value proposition, and ultimately secure a coveted spot on the GSA Schedule. This achievement can open doors to a vast customer base and consistent revenue streams, all while simplifying the procurement process for government agencies.
Remember, attention to detail, compliance with regulations, and a clear value proposition are your keys to success. With dedication and perseverance, your business can thrive in the federal market, contributing to your growth and the betterment of our nation.
So, embark on this journey with confidence, and let your GSA Schedule proposal be the gateway to a brighter future in government contracting.