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GSA Contracts for the ‘Up and Coming’ Entrepreneur

Why do you need a GSA Contract?

Are you a entrepreneur or a small business owner looking for help working with the federal government? But are not really sure where to start? This article provides owners of small businesses the help they may need to accomplish GSA contracts with the federal government.

The U.S. General Service Administration (GSA) is the duly authorized purchasing agency for the government of the United States. In fact, this agency spends well over tens of billions of dollars per annum on simple procurements alone.

The raison d’etre (reason of existence) of this agency is based on the establishment of long-term government contracts. Federal government offers such contracts to various commercial entities in order to provide access to many different commercial goods, products and professional services at discounted prices.

From the entrepreneurial point of view, it means that there is a lot of business scope for a suitably approved supplier, as per the rules of the GSA Schedule Program. However, here it is pertinent to note that the commercial organization will have to go through a very comprehensive application process before it ever joins the list of authorized retailers who can supply their goods to the US government. By and large, the copious amounts of red tape involved in the entire vetting process can easily take weeks, if not months, before approval may be granted. 

But once this approval comes through and a contract is successfully negotiated, the business enterprise or authorized seller is assigned its own specific GSA contract number. This means that it has been placed on the list of approved suppliers. However, this is only applicable to a specific schedule contract.

Making it to the list of approved suppliers effectively eliminates the prolonged process of bidding on individual government departmental contracts on a case to case basis.

Business Formation – Selecting The Best Legal Structure

If you haven’t already done so, you must file formation paperwork. It can be with your local city, county, and state to be a legal business. The most common legal structures are sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability, company and corporation. Each of these legal structures has different annual requirements at the local, state and federal levels. So it’s important to be aware that you are following them.

Not following requirements can potentially lead to fines, lost contracting opportunities due to inability to provide required paperwork. Even the state administratively closing down your business. Some of the most common requirements include:

  • State annual reports,
  • Meeting minutes,
  • Stock certificates,
  • Bylaws,
  • Operating agreements,
  • Tax returns

Federal government frequently requests these legal documents and there supporting fellows when seeking to engage in contracts or approving a certification. Without having these correct documents in place, the gate is closed before you even start your journey. So starting on the right foot is key to your long-term success.

To enter the world of contract vehicles, it’s all about the paperwork. Following rules, and demonstrating that you offer quality goods or services.

Apply For A D-U-N-S Number

The Data Universal Numbering System or D-U-N-S® Number is the proprietary means of identifying business entities on a location-specific basis. The user account number remains long after even if it closes or goes out-of-business. It remains with the company location to which it has been assigned. It provides a D-U-N-S Number, a unique nine digit identification number, for each physical location of the business. This number also “unlocks” a wealth of value-added data associated with that business, including:

  • The business name,
  • Physical and mailing addresses,
  • Tradestyles (“doing business as”),
  • Principal names,
  • Financial, payment experiences,
  • Industry classifications (SICs and NAICS),
  • Socio-economic status,
  • Government data

Remember, it’s critical to have a legitimate physical address location (home offices are acceptable). Because the business will not be able to complete the next step if it uses any mail forwarding location. The following are considered mail forwarding locations:

  • Mobile office,
  • Shelf company,
  • United Parcel store,
  • FedEx store,
  • Mailbox rental,
  • Certain business incubator locations as its valid physical address.

After registering for a DUNS Number, the business will be listed in the Duns & Bradstreet database and the business’ credit information will be available to banks and other companies.

Create A SAM Profile

The Systems Award Management (SAMis the primary registrant database for the U.S. Federal Government. SAM collects, validates, stores and disseminates data in support of agency acquisition missions. Including federal agency contracts and assistance awards. It’s critical to all businesses that want to work with the federal government. The reason being without an active SAM profile, businesses cannot be paid. Making registering with SAM a must for government contracts.

Being a popular agency, it will be reviewed by government agencies or contractors to locate businesses. Based on their abilities, size, location, experience, and other attributes. Giving huge benefits to any SAM user.

SAM registration has made significant shifts in 2018 to protect business data, accounts, and information from less scrupulous telemarketers. This was achieved by creating newer and safer methods. These methods ensure only business owners and those designated by them through affidavits to access the individual business profiles.

Bid As A Government Prime Contractor Or Subcontractor

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There are two popular websites used by the majority of small businesses that are looking to work with the government:

SubNet: The Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Subcontracting Network System bridges the gap between businesses. Specifically businesses seeking small businesses. Also small business seeking contracting opportunities. This is a great way to get your feet wet in government contracts without all the exhausting hours of RFP (Request for Proposal) instructions.

FedBizOpps: This federal website is designed for overall United States procurement solicitations to the public. It is the key repository for collecting and distributing new work. Each business owner requires to provide his or her email address. The reason being to search potential listings and will be able to read through the RFP instructions prior to bidding on any work. Most RFP listings on the website will only last a few weeks, so it is critical to visit often and complete bids promptly to be considered for work.

What are the Core Responsibilities of the General Services Administration?

The General Services Administration (GSA) is a federal US government agency that has two major services; the Federal Acquisition Service (FAS) and the Public Building Services (PBS). Here, the GSA’s central role in the FAS makes it directly responsible for managing the whole GSA Schedule Contract System (SCS). In fact, the agency is directly responsible for negotiating different contracts with their pending GSA schedule contract holders. These contracts then allow the relevant authorized federal buyers or buying agency to place an order for that particular product or service at already pre-negotiated terms, conditions and prices.

What Is a GSA Schedule/contract?

The GSA schedule may be defined as a formal agreement that may be used to sell various products and services. These products may be sold from a business organization to many different government agencies and departments, according to the terms that are provided by the U.S. General Service Administration. The GSA Schedule is often referred to as the ‘GSA Contract.’ Once this contract has been signed, it will greatly help to facilitate and streamline the whole cumbersome order process. 

This is because the relevant government agencies now have all the information required to process an order from your firm or company without any problems in the procedure. The GSA contract or schedule basically contains a lot of important information, such as the contract number of the focal person in the organization, the duration of the contract, the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) clauses that govern the contract, a brief description of the various goods and services that you or a small business owner can offer to the government and the maximum price of your products or services.

Apart from that, there are also many other items that may be required for the fruitful termination of the contract. Here it is pertinent to note that the U.S. General Service Administration does not order directly from their vendors. However, they try to facilitate the process to ensure that both vendors and the federal agencies are able to get the job done without any problems.

The Concept of Multiple Award Schedule Contracts

The GSA website basically defines the GSA schedule or contract in the following words “a government-wide, indefinite quantity indefinite delivery, (IQ/ID) Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) contract/s.”

The contract is considered to be ‘government-wide’ because of the fact that it is universal in nature. In other words, once your organization has been awarded this contract, it will be possible for you to utilize the same contract to apply for work with multiple federal agencies.

Indefinite Quantity, Indefinite Delivery

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The term ‘indefinite quantity indefinite delivery’ means that this contract works as an ‘open-ended’ contract. In fact, the typical GSA contract usually lasts up to half a decade and may extend to a maximum of twenty years. The Multiple Award Schedule or Federal Supply Schedule showcases the fact that it is entirely possible for different small business enterprises to be able to apply for the same contract, irrespective of the department. 

Conclusion

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However, your choice of the correct GSA schedule for all your business requirements is of pivotal importance. This is why you will almost certainly require the expert guidance of highly skilled professional consultants.

They will help you not only determine but also obtain the relevant schedule for your small business enterprise. In fact, trying to go through the various forms and requirements on your own might mean that you will leave out something important. Once that happens, you will have to reapply all over again, risking precious time that might be gainfully employed by a competitor to acquire the contract.

However, hiring a top-notch professional consultant firm specialized in GSA contracts and with the required experience in this field will effectively ensure that you will be well guided through the process.  If you have any queries or questions regarding your eligibility for a GSA contract, you can approach the good people at Biz Central USA .Their highly qualified experts will guide you through the complicated GSA process and provide you full service assistance to determine the appropriate schedule for your particular product or service.

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