The United States General Services Administration (GSA) uses a contracting vehicle called the Schedules Program; this program essentially creates a one-shop source for all GSA federal agencies worldwide for many regularly purchased commercial items. For government contractors, obtaining a GSA Schedule contract can be lucrative; it is estimated that the federal government spends more than 40 billion dollars on goods and services purchased off the GSA schedule annually. It can also streamline the procurement process: because the price of the products sold are pre-established, the buyers do not need to individually obtain cost or pricing data from the contractor, nor will the contractor have to enter into multiple contracts. For a contractor, this means products are purchased at a faster rate, allowing for faster compensation.
Other terms for schedules and programs are as follows:
GSA schedule Eligibility
While requirements can vary based on the particulars of the Schedule Category, there are some that apply to all contractors:
If your business has been approved, the Federal Practice Group offers guidance on pre-negotiation of GSA Schedule specifics such as:
Once a Schedule contract is awarded, the contractor will be expected to adhere to certain compliance obligations. Contractors can expect to audited on an annual basis. Thus, while it can be very beneficial to obtain a Schedule contract, maintaining one does require the contractor to be organized. Prior to any audit, it is advisable for the contractor to have the following documents at their ready:
This audit (also referred to as a Contractor Assistance Visit, or CAV) is critical to the success of the Schedule contract. If it is found that the government is not receiving the most fair and reasonable price on the products being sold (which is usually based on a review of pricing with other non-government purchasers), the contractor could face an adjustment of pricing, claims for recovery of funds, or non-renewal or cancellation of the GSA schedule.
Access to the federal government’s GSA Schedule entails eligibility screening, proposal preparation, and requests for reconsideration of proposal denials, appeals of proposal denials, annual review submittals and continuing eligibility reviews, and termination reviews and appeals.
Government contractors are subject to a wide array of contract requirements, statutes, and regulations. Given the complicated rules that apply to federal contractors and the severe penalties for non-compliance, it is essential that companies retain skilled counsel in order to succeed in this industry. If you are seeking guidance on GSA Schedules, contact the Federal Practice Group today.
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