Steps to Award
Responding to solicitations is not a task to be taken lightly. When performed by experienced individuals completion times and complications are minimized. Even basic responses will have important terminology buried in extraneous text, and can have a long-term negative, or positive, effects on an organization.
The Steps to Award Process Model below illustrates the challenges involved in acquiring and building upon a government contract vehicle. While complex, Guidance Group support will move you through each step quickly with assured outcomes; by retaining our services you will obtain a contract and the knowledge for long-term success. We can help at any stage of a contracts life-cycle, for more information contact us by form, or phone at (813) 476-5150
Typical Steps to Award move from analysis to planning and execution...
What are GSA Schedules and Schedule Vehicles?
The purpose of the GSA's Multiple Award Schedules (MAS), and other schedule vehicle programs, is to leverage the government's buying power through government-wide contracts for commercial products and services. Through use of a pre-negotiated contract, purchasing procedures are streamlined and implemented with shorter lead-times and lower costs compared to a new solicitation each time a purchase is made. Pre-negotiated pricing for the products and services (offered by schedule holders) ensures the government receives that schedule holder's most favored customer (MFC) pricing and terms for the length of the contract. GSA Schedule contracts are typically five (5) years with three (3) five (5) year "evergreen" options for 20 years total.
Being awarded a GSA Schedule does not guarantee sales.
Productive contracts require strategy, due diligence. and determination. When time and effort are put into a contract vehicle, the rewards can be great. This statement cannot be emphasized enough because GSA Schedule Contracts, GSA Schedules, GSA Numbers, by whatever name, do not guarantee success; the government will not (typically) beat a path to your door to buy your goods and services.
Although some contracts come with a guaranteed order/sale of $2,500 the GSA requires annual sales requirements of $25,000 annually. These minimum sales requirements must met by the end of Year (2) of the contract and, barring a *feasible cause for exclusion, GSA enforces this stipulation. Failure to meet these minimums can result in contract cancellation and being prohibited from pursuing another GSA Schedule for a period of 12 months from the time of cancellation.
* The minimum annual sales is derived from the Industrial Funding Fee; as such, materials purchased from the goverment (e.g. scrap, metals, obsolete electronics, and etc.) count towards this annual sales total. Potential exlusions from minimum sales requirements include offsetting fees, Zero cost contracts, and other instruments beneficial to the government.
Planning & Strategy
Step 1 - Eligibility Determination
Determining eligibility is the first step; the following conditions must be met:
✔ Minimum of 2 Yrs in business w/DUNS
✔ Registered in SAM.gov w/CAGE Code
✔ Acceptable Past Performance
✔ Commercially available products/services
✔ Trade Agreement Act compliance
Step 2 - Schedule Determination
Choosing the right schedule for positioning your products or services is of paramount importance to success. The various schedules and their scope can be viewed in the GSA Schedule Sales portal. Please feel free to contact us for assistance determining the best schedule(s) for selling your products and services.
Step 3 - Determining Feasibility
Perhaps the most critical task in determining whether a GSA Schedule is right for your company is determining the government's level of utilization. This can be accomplished through GSAs Schedule Sales Query (SSQ). If records substantiate a need for the products or services you offer, the decision can be made easily. We will assist you in this process by providing you with due diligence data to support your decision. Contact us by phone at (813) 476-5150 or use our contact form.
Step 4 - Due-diligence SIN Selection
Determining the most suitable Special Item Numbers (SIN) for your goods and services is the next most important step. This can be accomplished through research in the GSA Advantage online store, as well as further research in the Schedule Sales Query (SSQ); records can provide a wealth of information including historical sales by Schedule, SIN, year, quarter, contractor and contract.
Step 5 - Strategy and Planning
Although not required for award, a Business Plan is strongly recommended to support development of the overall government program; in particular, the plan should address roll-out, administration, marketing and sales, minimum sales requirements and retaining agreed upon price structures to avoid triggering the price reduction clause.
Step 6 - Solicitation Response
Although solicitations vary, all require input about/from, each facet of your business:
✔ Completed past project narratives
✔ Dunn & Bradstreet Open Ratings™ Report
✔ Financials, Corporate/LLC by-laws
✔ Commercial Sales Practices Format (CSP-1)
✔ Proposed GSA price list
Step 7 - Proposal Preparation
Drafting the solicitation proposal is by far the most demanding, and confusing, stage of the process; followed closely by completion of the Commercial Sales Practices Format (CSP-1)... the most often rejected component.
Step 8 - Submission of Offer
With few exceptions, GSA now requires all offerors to obtain a digital certificate through ACES or Identrust, and upload solicitation responses through eOffer/eMod, an online tool for submission of contract offers and modification to GSAs Federal Acquisition Service.
Step 9 - Offer Review & Revision
Following submission of the solicitation, a Contracting Officer (CO) is assigned. This individual will request additional documents and information (as needed) to ensure the offer is complete. When all information has been received, and clarifications made, drafting of the best and final offer proceeds.
Step 10 - Best and Final Offer
Whereas a primary goal for GSA/VA MAS Programs is best pricing and services, it is of paramount importance to have your pricing and terms strategy already in place during this stage (see Step 5); this is the final step.
Step 11 - Pricelist Preparation/Upload
The GSA Pricelist is often the first document prospective customers see, time and effort to prepare a showcase pricelist is a worthwhile objective; upon approval this pricelist will become your approved GSA Pricelist, and your face to buyers, until the contract is modified or renewed.
Step 12 - Continued Compliance
We ensure your programs remain managed and operating within guidelines through:
✔ Monthly, weekly, or daily reporting.
✔ Industrial Funding Fee remittance.
✔ Project financial accountability.
✔ Percentage of completion preparation.
✔ Industry Representation.
Step 13 - Marketing and Sales
You are notified when projects meeting predefined parameters are discovered; often though it is often times too late. We set up long term contract watch services to ensure you remain aware of opportunities in all stages of development.
Step 14 - Improving Opportunities
As part the ongoing effort, product and service information must be maintained within e-Buy, the online Request for Quote (RFQ) system used by government buyers. This allows Schedule holders to place quotes online, as well as receive notification based on product and service particulars, price, size, and etc.
Step 15 - Contract Modifications
Modification requests are encouraged by GSA since they show active engagement in the process. Modifications must be submitted to GSA in when changes to the contract pricing made. To maintain compliance, and maximize your opportunities, it is important to ensure products, services, and pricing remains up-to-date. Continually increasing the depth and breadth of capabilities, requires a continual improvement effort to increase offerings and terms, for a wider market range.
Step 16 - Renewals and Compliance
Nearly every facet of your GSA Schedule comes with instructions and requirements. Attempting to manage these contracts using in-house employees, most often requires hiring new personnel. Allowing the contract to be administered by Guidance Group most often proves to be a more cost effective method for long-term management and administration of government programs. Please feel free to contact us by phone at
(813) 476-5150 or use our contact form.
Step 17 - Management Systems
As part of ongoing management services, Guidance Group provides design, development, integration, and administration of certification ready information systems; these turn-key systems can be made audit ready and support multiple standards... read more.