You can’t dabble in the marketplace, it’s too reactionary –And being reactionary in the marketplace doesn’t build you a sustainable go to market or business strategy within the public sector. You have to treat it as if it is an economy within itself.
A GSA Schedule contract, a master contract negotiated with, and administered by, the General Services Administration (“GSA”) transcends all of this.
Holding or having access to a GSA Schedule contract is a very valuable tool used to win business in the federal, state and local government and education markets. Although, you might say, “Aren’t GSA contracts only held by large businesses?” The reality is that 80% of all GSA contract holders are small businesses and many successfully sell through their contracts.
What is a GSA Schedule Contract?
A GSA Schedule is often referred to as a “Multiple Award Schedule” (MAS) contract because there is no limit to the number of contractors that can hold one. For example, there are literally more than 5,000 vendors on the IT Schedule, the largest and most successful division within the GSA Schedules program.
Also, unlike the typical government contract, it’s not funded at time of award, it’s funded at the time that task orders are issued through the contract at the agency level. Some of you may have heard the term IDIQ, meaning “indefinite duration indefinite quantity.” A GSA schedule contract is an IDIQ contract in addition to being a MAS contract. GSA makes no binding commitments to the duration or the term of the contract, nor the dollars or number of transactions that will flow through that contract.
Contract pricing is also pre-negotiated and it is considered approved at the time that the contract award is received. But the contract isn’t etched in stone. It can be amended at any time to add additional products and services, and it can be modified to increase or decrease your contract pricing. For example, Avnet Government Solutions (“AGS”) recently added HP hardware to our GSA contract and this task was accomplished in the course of about 30 days. We also routinely submit contract modification requests to add to the breadth of products and services that our partners can sell through our Schedule contract.
Important Contract Terms and Conditions:
What are the Benefits to holding a GSA Schedule?
- GSA Schedule contracts are not only open for use by federal agencies, they are available for use by state and local governments and educational institutions, a concept called “cooperative purchasing.”
- The use of GSA contracts is becoming the preferred purchasing mechanism on the part of contracting officers. If a vendor doesn’t have a contract or access to sell through another’s contract, it may be precluded from chasing some very lucrative opportunities.
- A government buyer can make an acquisition much more quickly and easily if they use a GSA Schedule contract to make the purchase. Did you know that the average time from the date of posting a competitive public bid to the award of the opportunity is approximately 300 days? In contrast, an award made through a GSA contract can be accomplished in a matter of days or weeks, which saves the government acquisition dollars. In fact, the average time frame from the inception of a GSA contract opportunity to its eventual award is 14 days, regardless of the size of the transaction.
- Also, because of the amount of paperwork and red tape associated with a GSA Schedule buy is significantly reduced for the government, the buyer would prefer to buy from a contract holder or partner that has access to a GSA Schedule contract.
- When a government official decides to run a procurement through a GSA contract, competition is reduced. Instead of competing against any other vendor submitting a response to a publicly-posted bid, which can number in the hundreds or even thousands, a GSA Schedule holder is only competing against two other contract holders.
- eBuy. If the federal buyer doesn’t have specific vendors in mind, he can put out a request for quote on GSA’s eBuy, an online portal maintained by GSA and only made available for use by GSA contract holders. Because countless and often very lucrative opportunities are posted on eBuy, GSA contract holders religiously monitor the site for potential opportunities and those vendors that don’t hold a GSA contract are shut out. Of particular interest to our partners is the fact that AGS monitors eBuy for opportunities and routinely passes those opportunities onto those partners that are authorized to sell through the AGS GSA contract.
- Last but not least, cost is always top of mind. A contractor’s proposal production costs are significantly reduced because it doesn’t have to prepare the full-blown proposal – those costly proposals required under public bids – when the government wants to run the opportunity through a GSA Schedule contract.
How do I learn more about leveraging a GSA Schedule Contract?
The use of GSA Schedule contracts by procurement officials increases on an annual basis, and some experts predict it may eventually become the predominant contract vehicle used by government buyers. If you want to learn more, watch the video below, or reach out to your Avnet Account Manager for more information.