The General Services Administration (GSA) is a federal agency that has two major services the Public Building Services (PBS) and the Federal Acquisition Service (FAS). For our purposes, the GSA’s role in the FAS is that it manages the GSA Schedule Contract System. The GSA is the agency responsible for negotiating contracts with pending GSA Schedule Contract holders, which will then allow the authorized federal buyers to order the product/service at pre-negotiated prices and terms.
A GSA Schedule Contract (GSA Schedule/ Federal Supply Schedule) is an indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contract that falls under the GSA’s Multiple Award Schedule (MAS). The purpose of GSA Schedule Contracts is to eliminate paperwork and bureaucracy thereby assisting federal employees in purchasing products and services at pre-negotiated prices and terms.
Once awarded a GSA Schedule contract, contractors are required to post the negotiated prices on GSA Advantage. Agencies may use the GSA Advantage website to purchase products. For purchasesunder the mirco-purchase threshold of $3,500, the contractor is required to accept the GSA SmartPay purchase card. It is up to the contractor if they accept the SmartPay card over the micro-purchase threshold.
Simplified Acquisition Threshold – generally used for purchases between $3,500 and $150,000. For these purchases completed from GSA Schedules the federal buyer needs to document reviewing three sources before making a purchase. GSA Schedules are regarded as the easiest place to go in order to meet the market research requirement prior to award of a Simplified Acquisition Purchase.
Full and Open Competition – GSA eBuy is used when the procurement exceeds the Simplified Acquisition Threshold. This gives the procurement officer the ability to limit the sources for the procurement to GSA Schedule Holders. This is an advantage because these prospective suppliers have been previously vetted by the GSA. The federal buyer must receive at least three responses to the eBuy request and have justification for a best value determination.
eBuy is an online procurement tool only for GSA Schedule holders that is used by procurement officers to facilitate the request for quotes on proposals for products and services buy federal buyers. The average eBuy procurement is sent to seven GSA Schedule holders of which between three and four responds.
GSA Advantage is an online government website in which federal buyers go and purchase service and services. This government sales website is for GSA Schedule holders only and is widely used by federal buyers to conduct market research. The site has over 7 million products and services listed.
There are several factors that determine the amount to time it takes to obtain a GSA Schedule. Once you have submitted all of your documents for approval to the GSA, GSA then goes through a multi-step approval process. The review time will vary depending on which GSA Schedule you are pursuing. Review times range from approximately 3 to 4 months for the IT Schedule to 6 months or more for the Furniture and Security Schedules. The GSA has recently introduced a process whereby if the firm needs the schedule for an agency to make a purchase the schedule can go through an expedited process which usually takes around 4 weeks.
The Industrial Funding Fee (IFF) is a mandatory quarterly management fee that is paid by agencies purchasing through GSA Schedule holders. The schedule holders collect the fee and remit it to GSA on a quarterly basis. The IFF supports the GSA branch that negotiates all GSA Schedules. This fee is .0075 of sales.
5 years with the potential of three more 5-year renewals for a potential of 20 years total.
SmartPay is a very similar process to taking a credit card. The GSA SmartPay Program is the world’s largest commercial payment solution program. GSA Schedule holders must accept SmartPay in order to ease the process for purchases made under the micro-purchase threshold.
State and local governments have the use of GSA Schedules through two platforms: The Cooperative Purchasing and Disaster Recovery Purchasing Programs. State and local government use of GSA Schedules has been a high growth area for the GSA in recent years.
MFC is a contractual agreement between the federal government and GSA Schedule holders that guarantees the federal government to receive the best price the firm is offering.
As part of your agreement as a GSA Schedule holder, you offer the federal government your firm’s Most Favored Pricing. If your firm’s pricing changes, you have 30 days from the price change to notify the GSA.
80% of GSA Schedule holders are small businesses, 36% of sales are from small business
In order to maintain your GSA Schedule your firm must have $25,000 in GSA sales in the first 24 months and $25,000 each following year.
FAR requires federal buyers to review the price list of at least three Schedule contractors if the purchase exceeds the micro-purchase threshold of $3,500.
A GSA Schedule contractor team arrangement (CTA) is an agreement between two or more GSA Schedule Contract holders who choose to work together to meet agency requirements. This written document will outline the roles and responsibilities of each of the team’s members.
No, in a CTA all members of the team are equal parties in the contract, whereas in a prime contractor/subcontractor arrangement the prime is responsible for the contract and all aspects of it.
Yes, the process is performing a contract modification that must be approved by the GSA; however, this is a much quicker process than getting on the initial schedule
The government is obligated to purchase under each resultant contract a guaranteed minimum of $2,500 during the contract term. But, more importantly, a GSA Schedule Contract provides your firm with a hunting license in which to obtain federal business. A firm should consider developing a federal marketing plan in order to take full advantage of its GSA Schedule opportunities.