What you should know about the Financial Qualifications for getting a GSA Schedule

By: Admin | Date: 2020-06-03

Why GSA?

A GSA Schedule can greatly enhance the value of your business by opening up this large federal sales channel. The average small business with a GSA Schedule does over $1MM per year in federal contracts. The challenging part for some smaller firms can be showing the Financial Capacity required to obtain a GSA Schedule Contract.

This week I will go over the Financial Criteria for obtaining a GSA Schedule:

Recommended Sales Level

$25,000 in sales per year of the product or service you want to sell on schedule. If you don’t meet this sales figure you may still have the potential to obtain a GSA Schedule but a much closer look at your business will occur.

Recommended Number of Customers

Having at least 3 to 5 customer references that GSA can contact or 3 CPARS (Contract Performance Assessment Reporting System) from past federal contracts.

Recommended Years of Experience

Generally the company needs to have been in business for two years or more.

Causes of Higher Scrutiny by GSA

  1. Higher scrutiny is placed on firms that are not currently profitable
  2. Higher scrutiny is placed on firms that do not have positive working capital, (current assets less current liabilities)
  3. Higher scrutiny is placed on firms that do not have a positive net worth (total assets less total liabilities).
  4. Higher scrutiny is placed on firms that lack access to capital, typically seen in the form of a bank line of credit or other credit faculty.

Financial Exceptions

If the GSA finds that the firm’s historical financial statements do not prove financial stability then the firm is permitted to build a case showing that the firm has the ability to complete federal contracts. The procedure for accomplishing this is the completion of a “certificate of competency” COC from the SBA. It has been my experience that usually the SBA does not have issues with granting a COC under the following set of circumstances.

  • Your bank provides a good financial reference for your firm.
  • The reason the firm was not profitable in the previous year is due to large expenditures on R&D. Going forward the firm is expected to be profitable.
  • The firm had a one-time bad debt expense, or similar negative transaction which caused the firm to have a negative net worth.
  • The firm is able to obtain a letter of credit from a financial institution or a credit line increase for $50,000-100,000.
  • The firm is able to show how it was able to perform on a recent contracts that are similar in nature.
  • The firm is able to show that it will have positive cash flow based upon completing a federal contract with a 60 day delay in payments from the federal government. (In these cash flow projections the firm must never go negative.)

Even firms with a few financial “skeletons in the closet” can get a GSA Schedule provided that the explanation for the issue is plausible by the SBA and non-reoccurring. It can be a GSA Schedule killer so in a questionable situation we would have our in-house CPA look at financial data for clients before moving forward

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