contract mangement

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.

Pros

– 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

Cons
– 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.

Considerations
– 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.

Contact Us

STOP – Don’t pay for SAM Assistance or Registration. Why? It’s FREE and EASY!

Let’s debug this common urban legend of government contracting: Someone tells you have to pay for a “service” in order to register your company with SAM.gov OR you have tocon-artist-alert pay for someone to update your entity’s registration.

So, you’re a government contractor, or you’re wanting to become one. You ask around, “What do I do first?” The responses are muddled, you do some Googling, then you start to really notice the emails offering services to set up or update your registration. WAIT – WHAT?! Services?? I have to pay for this?? The long and short answer: NO

You should never, ever in a million years have to pay for these “services” the emails claim to offer – EVER! The SAM registration takes about 15 minutes to complete, and any updates to it take less than 5 (honestly – it’s that easy)

Be aware of these other “offers” and how the issues can be addressed for free:

1) Year Long Technical “Support”
  • Updates are only as necessary, and often times SAM.gov only needs to be reviewed once a year
  • There is no “support” required
2) SAM.gov Migration Annual Updates
  • Migration happens once; Most likely all government contractors who have registered in the old CCR have already been migrated
3) FAR Updates (if necessary)
  • SAM.gov DOES NOT provide FAR updates!
  • During the annual update of the entity registration, these are already incorporated
4) Basic Changes to Registration (NAICS codes, contact info., contracts awarded, etc.)
  • This is a part of the basic updating
  • Takes 5 minutes!
5) Government Buyer Submission
  • Only if offering disaster response
  • One page within SAM.gov
  • Takes 30 seconds to complete!
6) Verification of Dun & Bradstreet Number (required)
  • Can be done by logging into iUpdate
  • If it is needed, you will be directed after SAM.gov login
7) SAM Registration Completion
  • This is a 15 minute process
  • Can be done for free! (or divide the completing person’s rate by the time it takes – that’s really the cost; just a few dollars of opportunity cost)
8) Verified Vendor Seal of Approval
  • BEWARE – THE GOVERNMENT WILL NOT RECOGNIZE THIS “SEAL”!
So, all in all it may take one person a total of maybe, maybe 25 minutes PER YEAR to either register or update SAM.gov. Now, unless you are paying your employees an exorbitant salary, isn’t 25 minutes much more affordable than the approximately $600 price tag companies out there are charging? I’m not an economics specialist by any means, but I think I’ll go with the 25 minutes, and I hope you do the same.

Still need help? Check out Arrowhead Solutions – we’ll lead you in the right direction with a FREE 30-minute consultation. We don’t like to be scammed, and we definitely don’t want our clients to deal with these “support” claims either.

 

Five Years; time to give back to our wonderful readers! Part 1 of 4:

As Arrowhead celebrates our 5th anniversary, we realize that we could not have done it without all the support from you – our readers and clients!

To give back, we’d like to share some government contracting tips and tricks so that you can be the best government contractor possible. Each week, throughout the month of March, we’re going to be posting 5 tips to celebrate 5 years. Cheers!

This week’s post: Government Contracting: Tips and Tricks Part 1 – DCAA and Government Accounting

#1: Ask “How would we fair during a DCAA audit?” Not sure? Try a mock audit with Arrowhead’s experts on the other side of the table before there is DCAA in the picture.

#2: Make sure you know what wrap rate means. Need a refresher?

#3: Be familiar with indirect and direct rates. Read On…

#4: Read RFQs carefully – response instructions must be followed exactly as stated.

#5: Make sure to time your GSA proposal right  (if you have one). Not sure? Just call Arrowhead and we’ll help you sort it out. Don’t know if you really need a GSA? You could be right. Not all companies can benefit from being on a GSA Schedule. Arrowhead will also help you sort this out.

Don’t forget to follow Arrowhead Solutions on Twitter (@arrowheadllc) for daily tips, too!

See you next week!

Introducing ArrowBD – The Complete Government Contracting Solution

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It’s finally here, and tailored for small business government contractors! A complete contract opportunity solution, ArrowBD matches the most current contracting opportunities to your specific niche. One simple, easy-to-read weekly email, and access to your own, well-seasoned Account Analyst, will allow you to feel confident that you will never miss that next big opportunity. Because ArrowBD is backed by the experts at Arrowhead Soltuions, LLC you can be sure that your spending your BD budget intelligently.

Simple. Easy. Opportunity. 

With ArrowBD, you can spend your resources and time on the pursuit of the opportunity itself, or in many cases, opportunities, highlighted by your ArrowBD report (AKA: “push”). You no longer have to spend hours looking through multiple search agents and opportunity tracking sites. We take the burden completely away, and present you with one email, once a week. This removes all the inbox-clutter from daily tracking agents that return results not typically fit for your business. The opportunities received in your weekly ArrowBD “push” are hand-picked by a designated Account Analyst, so you can rest assured that they are a “perfect fit” for your company. The Account Analyst will set up your subscription after just one quick phone call; then, you pick the date on which to receive your opportunities in your inbox in one, clean PDF. We can track based upon NAICS codes, keywords, departments with which you wish to work, and even help you with teaming efforts.

ArrowBD also sets itself apart from other government opportunity search applications currently on the market due to is unique customization options and affordability. The Foundation package (the base: opportunity, news, and events package) can be tailored to add market analysis, capabilities statement creation, the management of other search platforms, custom insights/advice, and more. See the Pricing page for more information on customization options.

ArrowBD was developed out of necessity. Often times, small businesses lack the BD budget of their much larger competitors. How can you get ahead of the competition when you’re going against a large company with a dedicated BD department or assigned contract analyst? Access to your own Account Analyst is included with a subscription of ArrowBD. Don’t worry about waiting to hear back from an “automated” or generic email address that may have more than one person answering when you have time-sensitive questions. With ArrowBD, you can be sure that a seasoned professional is providing you with relevant, accurate information – fast.

News and information are the key to remaining “in the know” when it comes to new opportunities; especially as we move into the fast-paced end of Q4 of 2013. There are sure to be, and have been, many contracts up for grabs. Even with sequestration, the government still plans on spending relevant amounts on small business set-aside projects. With ArrowBD, you can be sure that you are always on top of these new opportunities. Industry day notices, sources sought, requests-for-information (RFIs) – all are delivered in your weekly ArrowBD report when announced.

More questions? We’ve prepared some FAQs – make the right decision – enlist in ArrowBD and feel confident in your pursuit. Feel free to contact us, as well, if you have any other questions related to ArrowBD, or any questions about Arrowhead Solutions full suite of government contract services.

What will 2011 bring for government contracting?

On Face the Nation the other Sunday, the panel of reporters was asked to provide their predictions for 2011.  It will be interesting to see what materializes and who was right come this time next year.  This got me thinking about what 2011 may bring for our industry; one that is rarely ever spotlighted (unless there is some sort of drama). Although in our world the new year started on October 1st, it seems January 1st is still a significant milestone for us all.

This past year we saw GTSI get burned a bit and I don’t believe that the microscope will be lifted in 2011.  In fact, according to the WashingtonTechnology.com article, “Contract management becomes top priority for the White House”, the scrutiny will only get more intense.  The December 13th article quotes Dan Gordon, administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy as stating, “We have got to stop situations where everybody knows that there are sham arrangements going on out there, but no one pays attention. We’re paying attention,” he adds,“We are taking this seriously, folks.”

Scrutiny, oversight, and better agency contract management is what government contracting in 2011 needs.  Post award management is crucial and hasn’t been given as much attention as preaward functions have in recent decades.  Granted, the preaward phase is critical to saving money with planning and selecting qualified suppliers. However, if a contractor goes on their merry way and the contract is left to collect dust until closeout, problems, and thus costs, will arise.  As the WashingtonTechnology.com article states, management and communication make all the difference in a successful acquisition and I couldn’t agree more.

What about the budget?  Let’s talk DOD.  According to the White House’s website, “The 2011 Budget for DOD provides $548.9 billion for the Department of Defense base budget in 2011, a 3.4 percent increase over the 2010 enacted level. This funding increase allows DOD to address its highest priorities, such as the President’s commitment to reform defense acquisition, develop a ballistic missile defense system that addresses modern threats, and continue to provide high quality health care to wounded servicemembers.” Notice the first priority listed? Reform of defense acquisition!

These numbers are good news for small business contractors.  More money directly from the DOD and through primes.  We’ll just have to see what the funding looks like once it is actually signed into law. The House passed a stripped down version of the bill on the 17th.  Here are the details of the reform points:

  • Ends the C-17 aircraft program because additional aircraft are not needed, saving $2.5 billion.
  • Eliminates the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Alternate Engine program, saving $465 million, because this program raises logistical, management, and cost concerns.
  • Saves an additional $73 million by terminating the Third Generation Infrared Surveillance program, and instead procures upgraded Space Based Infrared System Satellites in the future; it saves $8.5 million more by eliminating the Net-Enabled Command Capability program, which has been unable to meet its requirements on schedule.
  • Reduces the use of high-risk contracts in areas that relate to time-and-materials and labor hours by 17 percent through the end of 2011, and takes steps to ensure that military requirements for weapons are reasonable, program costs and schedules are realistic, and acquisition funding is stable and affordable.
  • Implement the Weapon Systems Acquisition Reform Act.

With the reduction of T&M contracts, will this cause more small businesses to consider getting their systems ready for DCAA audit so they can compete on the Cost Type RFPs?  I actually hope so – although not a high priority for many small businesses who are comfy in their T&M contracts, having their accounting systems get approved may provide an edge in 2011.

Money, reform and the ever constant march of the government contracting life-cycle should make this a good year!