GSA Schedule contracts are not right for everyone
Many small businesses come to Procurement Technical Assistance Centers interested in GSA Supply Schedule contracts. But the first question must always be – is a federal supply schedule right for your company? In many cases, the answer is no. Making that determination up front can save a tremendous amount of time, energy, and perhaps money, as some small business owners pay thousands of dollars to private firms to help them “get on a GSA Schedule”, only to be unsuccessful or find it a poor fit.
Your local PTAC Procurement Specialist can help you assess your company relative to GSA purchasing practices in terms of both overall readiness and pricing structure. Together you can determine the appropriate Schedule for you to consider and discuss the many other resources available on the GSA website, including their Readiness Assessment and Pathway to Success, which can all provide critical insight into the appropriateness of pursuing a Schedule contract.
He or she can also teach you how to use GSA’s online sales query tool to see how much of your product or service GSA is buying. It may be that current purchases far exceed your capacity to produce, or it may be that there are hardly any purchases at all. Either situation might argue against pursuing a Schedule contract.
Pricing is another important consideration. GSA wants your very lowest price, lower than that which you grant to your very best customer. The pressure to award to the lowest price possible has only grown in recent years, making GSA contracting more difficult for small firms. (See “The Cost of FSSI and the Prices Paid Portal”). A GSA Schedule contract at a price you can’t sustain could put your company out of business.
Your PTAC Counselor can help you sift through all of this information and these considerations to reach the decision that is right for your business. Then if you determine that a GSA Schedule contract IS right for your company, they can help you take the next steps in applying. Many PTACs offer classes such as “Understanding the GSA Schedule Process,” but all will also work with you one-on-one to answer your questions and help you find the information you need. Once you’ve been awarded a Schedule contract, they can help you develop a marketing strategy to maximize your opportunity for sales.
More about Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTACs)
Ninety-eight PTACs – with over 300 local offices – form a nationwide network of procurement professionals dedicated procurement professionals working to help local businesses compete successfully in the government marketplace. Funded under the Defense Logistics Agency’s Procurement Technical Assistance Program through cooperative agreements with state and local governments and non-profit organizations, PTACs are the bridge between buyer and supplier, bringing to bear their knowledge of both government contracting and the capabilities of contractors to maximize fast, reliable service to our government with better quality and at lower costs.
h/t Based upon a video tip by Carey White, University of Houston PTAC