Regardless of your industry, if you do business or have thought about doing business with the government, there is a strong chance you have heard of the GSA Schedule Contract. However, if you are like many companies, you may be uncertain whether your company is eligible to participate in the program and if you should invest the time needed to obtain a GSA Schedule Contract.
So, how can you tell if your company would benefit from holding a GSA Schedule? Here are eight factors to take into consideration:
1. Does your company currently do business with the government?
If you have a D&B D-U-N-S Number, are registered on the Central Contractor Registration (CCR) website, and have already been contracting with the government, a GSA Schedule Contract is the next logical step. Your company has already established a client base and has the history of work to show you are prepared for the opportunity.
A GSA Schedule provides your sales force with an additional tool to secure government business, and will also open up a new market of potential clients who may not have considered your company in the past.
2. Are your competitors on the GSA Schedule, and/or do they target the public sector?
If your company does not maintain a sales presence in a major market sector, you may be allowing your competition to thrive unchallenged.
3. How much sales are companies in your industry currently making through the GSA Schedule?
Historically, the GSA Schedules for Information Technology (IT), Management Consulting and Training, Engineering, and Security have taken in the highest sales each year. In terms of average sales per contractor, companies within the Logistics, Transportation, and Office Imaging industries also experience healthy sales and have the added benefit of lower competition within the GSA Schedule Program.
Companies representing other industries can still benefit from a GSA Schedule; however, there is an even greater potential for opportunity among these industries.
4. Does your company provide products or services that complement a hot button government initiative?
Check with GSA and the Office of Federal Procurement Policy to identify government-wide initiatives and potential new spending trends that your company may be in a position to fulfill.
5. What are your internal resources and capabilities?
Take stock of your internal resources and capabilities to ensure your company has the ability to meet the demands involved with: 1) developing and implementing a marketing plan to target government buyers, 2) pursuing a GSA Schedule, and 3) handling the potential additional business.
6. Does your company qualify as a small business?
Each federal agency is required to establish annual goals for contracting with various types of small businesses. If your company qualifies as a small business, you may receive higher consideration over competing large businesses; your advantage is compounded if you also qualify as a woman-owned, veteran-owned, service-disabled veteran-owned, and/or disadvantaged business.
If you decide your company would benefit from holding a GSA Schedule, there are still two major items that affect your eligibility to obtain a GSA Schedule:
7. Has your company been in business for at least two years?
Requirements vary by Schedule, but typically your company needs to have been in business for two years or more to obtain a GSA Schedule. If you do not meet this requirement, you can still pursue government work that does not require a GSA Schedule.
Any government experience your company builds prior to obtaining a GSA Schedule Contract will help provide a jump start when the time comes to pursue the contract.
8. Does your company have a solid financial history?
To get a GSA Schedule, you have to show your company has a record of financially stability. While you do not need to have a perfect record, if your company is just recovering from a few years in the red, it may not be the best time to pursue a GSA Schedule Contract.
Before making the decision to pursue a GSA Schedule, every company should carefully consider all of the costs and benefits associated with holding a GSA Schedule, including the eight items discussed above. Timing can play a major factor, and a GSA Schedule may not be the best path for all business.
However, for many, a GSA Schedule facilitates a profitable, long-term business relationship with the largest customer in the world – the United States federal government.
About The Guest Author: Julie C. Crosby is the President of Federal Schedules, a leading GSA consultant that assists businesses in obtaining and maintaining GSA contracts so they can conduct business with the federal government.
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