Learn about GSA Schedule Contract Process, Benefits, GSA Sales Number and Other Certification Highlights

What is a GSA Contract or MSA GSA Contract?

A GSA Schedule is an unfunded contract that gives the government the ability to purchase goods or services from a vendor at a pre-specified price. Unfunded means there is not a guarantee the vendor will ever obtain a sale from the contact. However, a GSA Schedule Contract complies with Federal Acquisitions Regulations (FAR), allowing a government buyer to purchase goods from the schedule system forgoing other more arduous government purchasing processes.

A GSA Schedule Contract provides the federal procurement officer with a less complex buying process. This drives federal buyers to the MAS GSA Schedule System, creating a uique selling opportunity for GSA Schedule Holders. This makes the GSA Schedule system a favorite for most federal buyers.

How to Get a GSA Schedule

The first question many people ask when pursuing a GSA Schedule contract is “do I need to use a consultant?” The answer to this question comes in various forms but the reality is “it depends.” If the individual completing the application has competency in completing government proposals, is willing to put in some work in to understand what at times can be an ambiguous process, and follow these steps, it is possible to complete a GSA contract on your own.

Eligibility for a MAS program GSA schedule

  • The firm must be financially stable
  • Two years in business
  • Quality past performance
  • Products must be commercially available
  • Product must be compliant with the Trade Agreement Act

Outline for How to Get a GSA Schedule:

  • Your business must have a DUNS number, this can be obtained for free form Duns and Bradstreet if the purpose for obtaining the number is for working with the Federal Government.
  • Register your business with This is the vendor database which drives all other federal procurement systems.
  • Determine which GSA schedule SIN best fits your product or services. This can be accomplished by going to GSA elibrary and reviewing the comprehensive lists.
  • Identify potential competitors on GSA elibrary to make sure you are price competitive with other federal vendors.
  • Download the solicitation from FedBizOpps ( for the correct GSA Proposal for your firm.
  • Gather required documents such as financial data, invoices, past performance, business practices etc. to complete the proposal.
  • Prepare the GSA MAS Proposal following best practices format for a GSA Schedule.
  • Proposal Submittal is the next step don’t be surprised if the contracting officer asks for additional information during this phase of the process.
  • GSA contract negotiations take place in order to finalize your pricing with the GSA. The GSA contracting officer will compare your product or service to those already in the market to obtain the lowest price for the government. At this point it is critical that the company can justify the differences in its product offering to obtain the best pricing for the product.
  • Once the Contract is awarded the company will upload their offering to GSA Advantage and make sure the firm remains compliant with the GSA going forward.
  • Learn to use eBuy. Once the firm has an active GSA Schedule the firm should monitor the GSA eBuy bulletin board for additional contracting opportunities.

The firm should also take steps to target federal contracting officers and inform them of their new position as a MAS GSA Schedule Holder. Federal sales build upon each other making the next sale that much easier. Hopefully obtaining a GSA Schedule will give your firm the ability to make headway into the lucrative federal marketplace.

Get a GSA Schedule

Many Small Business strive to gain an SBA Certification or VA Verification but miss out on the bigger opportunity of combining that certification with a GSA Schedule. Certification holders that are eligible should “get a GSA Schedule” and the following case will demonstrate why it is in the best interest of the firm.

Industry Types

Many industries can be found on the GSA Schedule System. IT and Professional Services are the largest two service industry categories. Although facilities maintenance, logistics, travel, security, and janitorial also have a strong presence.

In addition to services, millions of products are listed on the MAS Schedule system. This varies from building materials, office equipment/furniture, personal protective equipment, hardware, computers, boats, groceries, and just about any other item you can imagine.

Limitations: Architecture firms are not found on GSA Schedules by federal act, and General Contractors for buildings are also not found on the schedule system.

The Application

A firm wanting a contract submits a proposal to the General Services Administration (GSA) using a specific format. This is generally considered an arduous process is taking several months to complete. The GSA will assess if the firm has the ability to successfully complete a federal contract. To do this, they will assess:

  1. Past performance on federal contracts, or private industry references;
  2. The firm’s financial capacity to complete federal contracts;
  3. The firms pricing to ensure that it is in line with other goods or services;
  4. The firm agrees to take government-issued purchase (credit) cards.

Once the GSA is ready to approve the application they will enter a final price negotiation with the firm whereby the GSA will work to ensure that pricing in the contract is fair and reasonable.

Upon Approval

Once the applicant is approved, their price catalog is uploaded onto GSA elibrary and the government e-commerce site GSA Advantage. GSA elibrary gives a federal contracting officer the ability to see all of the offerings of an individual company. GSA Advantage is set up as an e-commerce platform where government buyers can compare products, click and buy. The GSA Contract holder also gains access to GSA ebuy where special bidding opportunities are placed, whereby only GSA Contract holders are permitted to bid.

Market Research

Federal buyers are generally required to review/document at least three vendors offering before making a best-value decision. GSA elibrary, GSA Advantage. GSA ebuy provides an easy way for a federal buyer to comply with this FAR requirement during their purchasing process.

Contract Duration

A GSA Schedule Contract is for a five-year period and can be renewed for up to 20 years. Modification to the contract can occur throughout the life of the GSA Contract.


There are 19,000-20,000 businesses holding GSA Schedule Contracts with over 7 million products/services listed on the GSA Schedule System. Approximately ¾ of all companies on the schedule system are small.

The GSA Schedule System accounts for approximately 15% of federal discretionary spending. Small businesses average around $1 million per year in federal sales. Large business concerns can have over $100 million per year in contract sales.

Many small businesses utilize their GSA Schedule to obtain their first contract within an agency. Once they have proven themselves it make winning future contracts less challenging.

Benefits of Obtaining a GSA MAS Schedule Contract

A GSA Schedule is a contracting vehicle or a bridge that helps sellers connect with federal buyers in an easy yet regulation compliant manner. Therefore the true benefit of obtaining a GSA MAS Schedule is that it can increase a firms sales by either helping a firm break into the federal contracting market or by providing a firm with a new method in which to sell.

Financial Benefit

Firms with GSA Schedules on average are more successful at selling to the federal government than their peers. A small business with a GSA schedule has average sales of over $1 million dollars per year from the Schedule alone.

Additional Benefits

  1. Helps firms break into the federal marketplace – A GSA Schedule provides a firm with a contracting vehicle giving an easy method in which the federal buyers to purchase from GSA Schedule Holders. Firms wanting to sell to the government can obtain a GSA Schedule and use the schedule to begin selling small orders to federal agencies.
  2. Market Research – Federal buyers are generally required to review at least three sources before making a purchasing decision. GSA Advantage the web porthole in which all GSA Schedule holders list their products is the favorite site for this market research.
  3. Provides access to GSA ebuy – GSA ebuy is an online solicitation system whereby federal buyers can place items out for bid, however a firm must have a GSA Schedule in order to participate. This opens a whole new avenue in which to break into contracting with a particular agency.
  4. Increases Subcontracting Opportunities – When a prime contractor uses a GSA Schedule Holder as a subcontractor, items purchased from the GSA schedule at schedule prices are not required to be audited. This save prime contractors compliance effort. Additionally holding a GSA Schedule shows the prime contractor that the firm is serious about federal contracting.
  5. Can lead to an Enhancement of a firm’s value – Our most successful clients often work with a single federal agency where they have established deep roots. In the federal space often times acquisitions occur in order to make inroads into a particular agency. A GSA Schedule allows a small business entrance into these agencies creating root building opportunities and in some cases making the firm an acquisition target.
  6. Helps position a firm to get on other GWACS – Having a GSA Schedule provides the pricing basis for obtaining positions on other GWACS. The GSA MAS pricing can be used when applying for positions on other contracts.
  7. Allows a firm to quickly add new products and services – When adding a new product or service to an existing GSA MAS Contract the Schedule holder can submit a modification and add the new product.
  8. Allows a firm to add non-schedule items provided that the majority of the order – When completing a contract that was originated utilizing a GSA Schedule provided that the majority of the cost of completion of the project was from items purchased from the schedule, other items can be added to the contract provided they do not make up over half the cost.
  9. Synergies are created between a GSA Schedule and SBA/VA Certification – SBA and VA Certification holders often find an increase in combined benefit by adding a GSA Schedule. The likely cause of this benefit is because during the market research process the federal buyer identifies a certification holder as being able to meet the needs of the contract and then places the contract out for sole source or set-aside contract and inviting the GSA Schedule / SBA/VA Certification holder to bid.

Qualifying for a GSA MAS Contract

There are several criteria that a firm must be able to meet in order to have their proposal accepted by the GSA.

Criteria 1 – Product or Service must fit on an existing Schedule

Your products or services must fit on an existing GSA Schedule. The reason for this is that the federal government uses the schedule system for routine and repetitive purchases. Maintaining a schedule costs the federal government over a thousand dollars per year in costs and therefore they don’t want items on the GSA MAS System that will never be purchased by federal buyers. The good news is that there are over 8 million products and thousands of services listed on GSA Schedules so in all likelihood your item will have a place. However certain novel products or services do not find a place on schedule system and certain large categories such as architecture and general contracting are not found on the schedule system due to federal acquisition regulations.

GSA Schedule

Criteria 2 – The firm must be financially stable.

The purpose of the GSA Schedule system is to provide a high quality and reliable system for government employees to purchase form. As a result the GSA does not want unreliable vendors on the schedule system to diminish its’ value. Therefore your firm must be able to prove that it has financial stability to the GSA. The GSA will place higher scrutiny on firms that have any of the following issues.

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.
GSA Schedule

Criteria 3 – Goods must be for sale in the commercial market place

The GSA has this requirement for several reasons. One is that the GSA will review the firms past invoices to insure you are selling to the GSA at the price you are offering the same product or service in the commercial marketplace. This would not be possible for a new product or service. The GSA generally likes to see that the firm has at least four customers and sold at least $25,000 in the past 2 years in order to be eligible. For IT firms this duration of time is cut to 1 year and past work performance in some cases can be used.

GSA Schedule

Criteria 4 – Your Products Pricing Must be Consistent

A firm must be able to provide the government with consistent year round pricing. This can be difficult for suppliers of good such as coffee where the price of the commodity varies dramatically from week-to-week or month-to-month.

GSA Schedule

Criteria 5 – Your firm must be of High Moral Character

The company and its principle owners/managers must not have been disbarred from doing business with the Federal government within the last three years. Additionally, your company and its principles must not have a civil or criminal conviction as a result of performance on a federal, state, or local contract.

GSA Schedule

Small Business GSA Sales Numbers

GSA Schedules are often used by small businesses to boost their federal sales. Small businesses that go through this process are rewarded with an average of $1MM in annual sales through their GSA Contract.

Small businesses that have a special designation generally achieve even better results than the small business average. The numbers show that getting a GSA Schedule and combing it with an SBA designation increases the effectiveness of a GSA Schedule. (See table below)

Business Type/Size Amount of GSA Revenue # of GSA Schedule Holders Average GSA Revenue 2020
Large Business 22.4B 2,415 9,276,190
Small Business 13.1B 11,960 1,100,376
SDVOSB 2.3B 1,657 1,415,154
VOSB 3.2B 2,267 1,430,128
EDWOSB 1.5B 1,538 969,636
WOSB 3.5B 3,401 1,067,895
8a 2.3B 1,633 1,489,053
HUBZone 1.1B 799 1,419,622

If we breaking these groups into Industries we can see where the GSA + Certification/Verification provides the most benefits to firms.

8(a) Certification Highlights

  • The best performing industry was Security and Protection at $3.7MM.
  • The largest industry was IT with 974 GSA Contract Holders.
  • Professional Services is another large group of firms with similar sales to that of IT.
Industry 8(a) Certification Sales # Vendors Average Sales
Clothing, Textiles & Subsistence S&E 7,121,576 11 647,416
Electronic & Communication Equipment 19,340 2 9,670
Equipment Related Services 9,955 1 9,955
Facilities & Construction 100,158,108 115 870,940
Human Capital 59,526,013 61 975,836
Industrial Products & Services 93,841,976 64 1,466,281
IT 1,354,451,159 974 1,390,607
Miscellaneous S&E 3,781,814 8 472,727
Office Management 48,196,380 68 708,770
Professional Services 629,988,143 459 1,372,523
Security and Protection 108,750,479 29 3,750,017
Sustainment S&E 2,082,512 6 347,085
Transportation and Logistics Services 23,607,685 43 549,016
Travel & Lodging 87,983 2 43,992
Totals 2,431,623,123 1,633 1,489,053

HUBZone Highlights

  • Transportation and Logistics is the strongest performing group in this category with over $2.1M per firm in average sales.
  • HUBZone firm’s largest sales category is IT with 415 firms.
  • HUBZone firms also do well in any type of equipment or industrial products industries.
Industry HUBZone Sales # Vendors Average Sales
Clothing, Textiles & Subsistence S&E 18,068,913 16 1,129,307
Electronic & Communication Equipment 97,696 1 97,696
Equipment Related Services 7,501,299 4 1,875,325
Facilities & Construction 24,796,851 63 393,601
Human Capital 19,127,580 27 708,429
Industrial Products & Services 106,426,877 59 1,803,845
IT 673,581,324 415 1,623,088
Miscellaneous S&E 869,713 6 144,952
Office Management 43,699,497 56 780,348
Professional Services 182,385,986 182 1,002,121
Security and Protection 9,237,605 13 710,585
Sustainment S&E 5,584,818 15 372,321
Transportation and Logistics Services 42,231,301 20 2,111,565
Travel & Lodging 668,382 5 133,676
Totals 1,134,277,842 799 1,419,622

SDVOSB Verification Highlights

  • SDVOSB firms do extremely well selling Industrial Products and Equipment.
  • SDVOSB firms had the highest average IT sales from their schedule contracts of any small businesses.
  • SDVOSB firms have the highest sales level for Human Capital and Training.
Industry SDVOSB Sales # Vendors Average Sales
Clothing, Textiles & Subsistence S&E 27,746,813 25 1,109,873
Electronic & Communication Equipment 10,996,966 7 1,570,995
Equipment Related Services 6,820,581 2 3,410,291
Facilities & Construction 55,501,198 89 623,609
Human Capital 130,384,182 109 1,196,185
Industrial Products & Services 185,691,604 100 1,856,916
IT 1,092,294,331 652 1,675,298
Medical 1,791,950 9 199,106
Miscellaneous S&E 7,301,048 16 456,316
Office Management 87,204,104 78 1,118,001
Professional Services 593,686,794 447 1,328,158
Security and Protection 51,905,312 31 1,674,365
Sustainment S&E 2,562,551 18 142,364
Transportation and Logistics Services 80,163,343 63 1,272,434
Travel & Lodging 10,859,168 11 987,197
Totals 2,344,909,945 1,657 1,415,154

WOSB Highlights

  • The largest number of both a GSA Schedule and a certification. WOSB firms generally underperform other certifications however a GSA Schedule increases these firms average sales approximately three fold.
  • 2/3 of WOSB firms engage in IT and Professional Services with over 2,300 firms in these two categories.
  • WOSB Certification is the most widely held certification which diminishes its value however the marketing synergies of combining it with a GSA Schedule greatly enhances the value of both.
Industry WOSB Sales # Vendors Average Sales
Clothing, Textiles & Subsistence S&E 38,461,326 91 422,652
Electronic & Communication Equipment 893,412 13 68
Equipment Related Services 1,218,837 12 101,570
Facilities & Construction 99,209,735 265 374,376
Human Capital 114,274,831 176 649,289
Industrial Products & Services 253,245,892 221 1,145,909
IT 1,719,390,363 1,272 1,351,722
Medical 894,283 6 149,047
Miscellaneous S&E 10,113,126 60 168,552
Office Management 164,443,221 274 600,158
Professional Services 1,066,351,977 1,105 965,024
Security and Protection 74,527,967 49 1,520,979
Sustainment S&E 8,882,995 52 170,827
Transportation and Logistics Services 74,664,599 107 697,800
Travel & Lodging 5,338,898 22 242,677
Totals 3,631,911,462 3,401 1,067,895

There appears to be a strong synergistic value in combining a GSA Schedule with a Certification/Verification. Therefore firms that have a certification/verification should combine them to increase their federal sales.

GSA Schedule – FAQ

What is a GSA Schedule Contract?

A GSA Schedule Contract is an indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contract that falls under the GSA’s Multiple Award System (MAS). The purpose of GSA Schedule Contract is to eliminate paperwork and bureaucracy therapy assisting federal employees in purchasing products and services at pre-negotiated prices and terms.

How many firms hold GSA Schedule Contract?

Approximately 14,400 firms have a GSA Schedule Contract. There are approximately 12,000 small businesses and 2,400 large businesses with GSA Schedule Contracts.

Number of Products and Services on GSA Schedule?

Approximately 11 million different goods and services.

How long does a GSA Schedule last?

Generally an GSA Schedule remains in place for a five year period. It can be renewed three times for twenty years total in contract life.

How long does it take to obtain a GSA Schedule?

There are several factors that determine the amount of time it takes to obtain a GSA Schedule Contract. Once you have submitted all of your document for approval to the GSA. Then the GSA schedule goes through a multi-step approval process. Review times range from three to five months. There is an expedited process if the GSA Schedule is initiated through a federal agency request is approximately four weeks.

If my firm has a special designation is that listed on my schedule?

Yes – Firms with an 8(a) Certification, HUBZone, WOSB, EDWOSB, SDVOSB, or Veteran Owned certification have this listed on their GSA Advantage and GSA elibrary listings.

How much in gross sales (revenue) is required in order to qualify for GSA Schedule?

Generally a firm applying for a GSA Schedule must have had at least 25,000 in sales over the prior two years in the industry in which they are seeking the GSA Contract.

What is the best industry to be with regard to federal sales as GSA Contract holder?

There is no set industry that is best for doing well within the GSA Schedule System. The largest two industries are IT, with approximately 35% of 8(a) firms; in Information Technology with approximately 30% of 8(a) firms. Both of these industries tend to do well within the federal 8(a) space, however many niche industries out-preform these more mainstream industries.

If I obtain an 8(a) certification, should I also obtain a GSA Schedule?

A GSA Schedule can greatly aid an 8(a) firm in the marketing of its goods and services. This is because GSA Schedules are the predominant method of purchasing most federal procurement officers go, in order to do market research. Past studies have shown that 8(a) certified firms do 3-times the amount of business of that a non-8(a) firm showing the advantage of the combination.

What is GSA eBuy?

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 by federal buyers. The average eBuy procurement is sent to seven GSA Schedule holders of which between three and four responds.

Can I sell to State and Local Governments using a GSA Schedule?

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.

What is the small business participation rate on GSA Schedules?

83% of firms with GSA Schedules are small business and 37% of GSA revenue is with small business.

What is a GSA Schedule Teaming Agreement?

A GSA CTA (Contractor Teaming Arrangement) is an agreement combining the goods and services of two or more GSA Schedule Holders into one offering. The agreement sets the outline of the roles of each of the firms in the agreement.

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