Federal Supply Schedule Contract

A federal supply schedule contract provides private companies, such as vendors and contractors, the means by which to sell to and do business with the government. In 1949, a government agency known as the General Services Administration, or GSA, was established. Since its inception, this agency has changed quite a bit, and today, it is responsible for the following:

  1. Managing government buildings and real estate
  2. Providing procurement support as it pertains to products and services
  3. The development of policies and procedures

Additionally, the GSA is most widely known for the creation of the GSA Multiple Award Schedule (MAS). This is also commonly referred to as the Federal Supply Schedule Contracts or the GSA Schedules Program. It was created as a means of streamlining government purchases of commercial products and services. Additionally, the program serves to leverage the power and influence of the federal government in the buying process.

The GSA Schedule Contracts typically contain pre-negotiated prices, terms, deliverables, warranties, and other details to aid in streamlining the purchasing process. This allows for ease in establishing and executing such contracts by federal employees. If you are curious as to how often these contracts are utilized, there are currently over 12,000 MAS contracts in place, providing 4 million commercial services and products.

Which Companies Need GSA Schedule Contracts to Sell to the Government?

Perhaps you have a company that could potentially do business with the government, such as a private security firm or a corporation that manufactures things like ships or submarines. Ultimately, there are no laws in place that dictate the necessity of having a GSA Schedule Contract in order to sell to the government, but there are many government agencies that will only conduct business with those entities that do. As such, many companies find it beneficial, especially if it is to be a long-term or ongoing relationship, to have a GSA Schedule Contract in place.

So, how do you know if your particular company is eligible to have a GSA Schedule Contract? The specifics may vary from one contract to the next, but generally speaking, all potential sellers must meet these criteria:

  1. The company must be able to demonstrate that they are financially stable
  2. The company must have been in operation for a minimum of two years
  3. The products must be commercially available
  4. The company must be able to demonstrate strong past performance regarding management, cash flow, customer or client satisfaction, etc.

All products that are manufactured or produced must be in compliance with the Trade Agreements Act.

How to Obtain a GSA Schedule Contract

You have determined that you meet the eligibility criteria for obtaining a GSA Schedule Contract and you are interested in being able to do business with the government.

There are various terms that can be used in these situations and they can create confusion at times, so it is beneficial to get some clarity on the lingo:

  1. Getting on the GSA list
  2. Getting GSA certified
  3. Getting a GSA number

All of these are phrases that are often used in conjunction with GSA Schedule Contracts. To begin, knowing that a GSA is a contract and not just getting on a list or being assigned a number, is a good starting point. The next step is to submit a proposal, which is split up into two parts:

  1. The length of time it takes to prepare your proposal for GSA consideration (this could take anywhere between a few months to a year, especially if you are preparing the proposal yourself)
  2. The review period of your proposal by the GSA and subsequent negotiation of the contract, should it be approved

If you are looking to obtain a GSA Schedule Contract for IT purposes, the review process will generally take between three and four months. However, if you are looking to obtain a GSA Schedule Contract for the Furniture and Security Schedules, it can take over a year for the review process to be complete.

Who Can I Sell To?

You have obtained a GSA Schedule Contract and are ready and eager to get to work. So, to whom can your company sell? Examples of those agencies with whom you can now potentially do business include:

  1. Federal and executive agencies
  2. Department of Defense
  3. Government of the District of Columbia
  4. Government contractors authorized to spend federal dollars
  5. Certain institutions and international organizations

If you need help with federal supply schedule contracts, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel’s marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law, and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.