compliant proposals

Is a GSA Schedule Right for Your Company?

GSA Schedule Proposals

Arrowhead Solutions, LLC is the state of Colorado PTAC’s Subject Matter Expert for GSA.

What is a Schedule? – The General Services Administration (GSA) Schedule (also referred to as Multiple Award Schedules (MAS) and Federal Supply Schedules) establish long-term government contracts with commercial firms. GSA Schedules provide fast, flexible, cost-effective procurement solutions that allow customers to meet acquisition challenges, while achieving their missions. There are forty different Schedules that cover everything from environmental services, furniture, restaurant equipment and finance to business solutions.

Acting almost like a catalog of supplies and services for the US Government to procure from, GSA Schedules can be an easy way for customers to access your supplies/services quickly and easily, to an extent. It seems to be a common belief that a GSA Schedule is a necessity and if your company doesn’t have one, you’ll be left behind. Let’s look at some of the pros, cons and considerations you should make before jumping into GSA.


– Access to all government customers, not just one particular agency – the Schedule Program is government-wide
– Ability to receive orders quickly
– Pre-negotiated terms, conditions, and pricing (thus allowing for your quick orders)
– Diversification of your company’s contract tools – having more ways for your government customer to reach you is good
– Five year award, with options up to another fifteen years

– Requirement to sell twenty five thousand dollars under the Schedule within the first twenty four months and twenty five thousand dollars every year after
– Work involved with proposal preparation – piles of documents and time needed to navigate the submission rules/process
– Length of time to award – although advertised and quick (for eOffers), GSA is backlogged by eight months right now
– Lower profit margins – your company is required to offer to the government a discount on top of your lowest prices
– Administration – your company is required to pay back the Industrial Funding Fee and report sales

Your particular company’s industry, size, time in business and client base should be taken into consideration before making the leap.

– Is your industry dominated by competitors with schedules? Do they receive most of their revenue from GSA Schedules?
– Is your product or service in high demand and do you have current government clients complaining they can’t reach you easily?
– Have you been in business for over two years and do you have stellar track records and solid sales?
– Do you have the extra funding available to pay for your time, or that of outside assistance, to build your proposal?
– Are you willing to wait nearly a year to get on Schedule, or is your time better spent chasing other opportunities?

So, do the benefits of having a Schedule outweigh the costs of building a proposal, offering discounted pricing and administering the schedule? If the answer is yes, we can help.

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Government Proposal To-Do’s – Great Reminder

I read a simple, yet great article today on today that I really wanted to share and comment upon.

The article is “6 Reasons Your Proposals Fail” by Bob Lohfeld.  Here is the link to the article itself   – but to summarize, Mr. Lohfeld points out 6 simple rules for success.

1) Compliance

2) Responsive

3) Compelling

4) Customer focused

5) Easy to evaluate

6) Appearance

These seem so straightforward to many who have reviewed contractor proposals from a government chair, but from our experience, seem to be sometimes surprising to government contractors, large and small.  In our opinion, the most important is compliance. All too often I’ll review a proposal that was built without a contractor even looking at Sections L and M of the solicitation. Or a contractor will overlook the FAR clause giving direction on how to build a commercial proposal.  Shredding the solicitation to ensure compliance should be task 1 after the go/no-go decision is made to propose.

Second in line in my opinion would be easy to evaluate. Don’t mix up the sections, don’t provide weird numbering or organization that doesn’t flow with the requirements. Even if you hit the ball out of the park in responding to everything, if the evaluator has a hard time finding the answer, it won’t matter how good it is.

Last, on the list is Appearance.  This is important, but as this article states, a pretty proposal doesn’t win on looks alone.

Note what is NOT on the list – up selling, overselling, extra brochures/handouts/CDs, bugging the CO, cutting down the competition, low-balling … and the list goes on.  I think it is time for a Do-Not’s blog! Stay tuned…