Frequently Asked Questions
Why are your rates much lower than your competitors?
We’re a small business and we charge less because we can. We keep our overhead low and take advantage of electronic business practices. Many of our competitors charge more than $5,000, but that doesn’t imply that paying more gets you more. It just means that you paid more. The GSA doesn’t care how much you spent on GSA proposal assistance — $5,000, $8,000, $10,000, $20,000 or more: a GSA contract is a GSA contract. We give you the same level of expertise, experience and customer service as companies that charge much more than we charge. Beware of companies that offer to dump their prices underneath that of a competitor just to get your business! Are they more concerned about doing a good job for you than just landing a sale?
How do I know if my company qualifies for a GSA schedule?
Your company must have:
been in business for at least one to two years..
a Web site and e-mail address. If your company does not have either of these, please contact us. We can guide you toward reasonably priced resources to fulfill this requirement.
earned at least $100,000 to $150,000 within the past year, although there is latitude here.
a verified accounting system, use Quickbooks or a similar accounting tool or have a CPA. Your financial ratio must be at least 1.5.
for IT services (programmers, network engineers and so on), each labor category you propose must be associated with at least two contracts.
How long does this process take?
The answer depends on who creates the proposal. Most businesses do not have personnel with the experience to successfully perform this process without significant error and delay. If you submit a proposal that does not meet the formatting or information requirements of the GSA, the GSA will ask that you rebuild the proposal and resubmit it. Under these circumstances, the process could take a year or more and cost a small business tens of thousands of dollars. If you hire a company such as GSAProposal.com to work this process, plan on about two months for proposal creation followed by around three months of GSA review, negotiation and other steps.
Why does it take so long?
The short answer is that the process is complex and requires significant data gathering, writing, reviewing and interaction with not only your own internal organizations but also the government procurement staff. Also, GSA procurement offices around the USA have enough proposal evaluation and negotiation work to keep them busy around the clock.
What if I have a government opportunity that requires a GSA contract but the government opportunity won’t wait for me to get my own GSA schedule?
GSAProposal.com will assist you in locating a company that is in your line of work, that has its own GSA schedule and might agree to allow you to use its GSA schedule. The government does accept this arrangement. But…
May I get on another company’s existing GSA schedule and skip getting my own schedule?
Yes, but keep in mind that doing so makes your company’s goods and services more expensive because the company that adopts your company on to their schedule always wants to add their overhead and profit on top of your prices. However, some companies might adjust the overall price structure so that your company’s prices do not inflate, but these companies usually ask for some other form of compensation. Also, if the company whose schedule you wish to join is a large business, your goods and services are not as competitive because you might give up the advantage of being a small business. Finally, if the company hosting your goods and services has its own delivery or legal problems, they become yours, as well. In the long run, it’s best to have your own schedule.
Do I need actual government experience to qualify for a GSA schedule?
What is the most important aspect of past performance?
That you delivered an acceptable good or service on or before the date to which you committed in your contract.
Does my past performance have to be recent?
It should be within the past two years, but the GSA CO might accept slightly older experience.
Does the government check my past performance history?
Absolutely. You will need to give three references.
Do errors in spelling, grammar and logic hurt my proposal?
Yes, because these kinds of errors not only indicate something less than the kind of professionalism that the government requires but also are red flags that other aspects of your proposal might have inaccuracies.
What is GSAProposal.com’s success policy?
If GSA rejects your proposal, we will work with you to submit a revised proposal until you get a contract. If GSA’s Accounting and Finance Division puts a hold on an award that the GSA PCO has approved, we will work with you as you solve whatever financial problems GSA A&F determined were sufficient to put a hold on an award to your company.
More General Frequently Asked Questions
What is the GSA?
The GSA is the General Services Administration, the landlord and general store for much of the federal government. If you want to sell your goods and services to the federal government, many government agencies require that you have a GSA contract.
What is a GSA Schedule?
A GSA Schedule is a formal agreement between your company and the federal government. A GSA Schedule is also called a GSA Contract. Government agencies do order from your contact, and they use the information in that Schedule (Contract) to order from you.
What’s in a GSA Schedule?
Your GSA Schedule has your contract number, the beginning and ending dates of your contract, the FAR (Federal Acquisition Regulations) clauses that form the legal basis and rules of your contract, a description of the goods or services your company offers through the Schedule, the maximum rates or prices you may charge the government and prime contractors for each labor category and other items.
Why do I need this?
To respond to a government requirement, in many cases, the government and its established vendors require you to have a GSA contract. The reason for this is your GSA contract has pre-negotiated rates and prices, so the government and its vendors know that said rates and prices are fair and reasonable. Additionally, in most cases, an award based on a GSA contract is considered to have been “competed”, an important government requirement.
Essentially, a GSA contract is a powerful calling card even if a government agency does not buy from GSA contracts because having a GSA contract means that the government “certifies” your company, including its financial system, expertise and past performance.
What’s the big deal about creating a GSA proposal?
If you take on this enormous task yourself, without any assistance, it could cost you thousands in lost revenue and time, and you still might not have your GSA contract. Many obstacles exist. First, you will encounter 100+ pages of information, across many documents, that the government has written in a style and format that is unique to the federal government and alien to most small businesses. Most small businesses that have never done business with the government find these documents overwhelming and confusing. Therefore, you will spend a great deal of time simply trying to decipher GSA’s documents. This will be time taken away from running your business and that means lost revenue.
Most small companies have spent at least a year, unproductively, trying to understand and respond to GSA’s densely worded documents.
Most companies end up with a proposal that the GSA rejects because the proposal had too many omissions and mistakes. You lose twice because you diverted time and effort away from your traditional business while working on your GSA proposal and you lost revenue from your regular customers. Also, because GSA usually rejects proposals from companies that don’t use proposal assistance, you lost money you would have made if you had your GSA contract.
Most small businesses wind up taking twelve to eighteen months to do something that GSAProposal.com does in about six months. By using a professional service such as GSAProposal.com, you can be making money in six months with your GSA contract rather than wrestling with the process unproductively after at least a year.
If you use GSAProposal.com, we make it easy. Here’s what you can expect from your company’s resources:
o Our fee, which is fully tax-deductible.
o One employee as a point of contact with us.
o Time for data collection. This can take several days or longer.
o A day or so of Web data entry.
o The time it takes to refine the proposal with us, and this varies with the kind of proposal you need.
What is the biggest obstacle to marketing to the government?
Not appreciating the government’s needs and business methodologies. You must listen to the customer and determine the what’s and why’s of this complex customer. Also, understand that you have lots of competitors. Wise companies learn how to partner with other companies to create a larger, more competitive entity, combining the resources of more than one GSA contract.
How much money does this market represent?
The government is a gigantic business that must count on its suppliers for billions of dollars of goods and services, from a to z. Your company eventually could land government contracts worth hundreds of thousands of dollars or higher.
Do I really have a chance?
Yes, you do. The government is revising its procurement practices to the advantage of small businesses, especially minority, veteran and women-owned enterprises. Large, established government prime contractors seek qualified small businesses for their expertise and to meet small business subcontracting goals required of them by the federal government.
Where should I place my expectations?
You are going to start small, probably providing resources to an established contractor for a larger effort they will manage. Over time, you will establish a positive record of “past performance” (on-time delivery, within budget). Customer satisfaction is vitally important. Establish a program of zero defects, and you have the correct approach.
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We thank you and wish you many successes with your government contracting initiative!