Introductory note from Brian Lindholm of FedSavvy Strategies: This blog post is brought to your courtesy of Josh Ladick of GSA Focus. The topic of GSA Schedules is an ever popular one among current and aspiring federal government contractors. However, does anyone ever really give much thought to the reasons why NOT to pursue a GSA Schedule contract? No, it does not happen nearly enough. With that stated I’ll turn the content over to Josh Ladick of GSA Focus. Josh has 13+ years of experience in GSA Schedules.
We help companies get and manage a GSA Contract. However, I will be the first to admit that it isn’t for everyone, and before beginning the massive undertaking of getting them on schedule I assess two things. First, are there any disqualifying factors with the company? Second, is the company staged to succeed in the GSA world and do they have reasonable expectations? This post focuses on the first question (1-5), but the second question is very important to consider as well (6).
The truth is that when pursuing a GSA contract there are six very real reasons a company should bow out. And here they are:
- Products/services – Some products and services just aren’t represented on a GSA Schedule. There is always a chance of sneaking in on an “Other” category, but it may end badly, and you should consider that from the start.
- Financial Strength – The GSA puts great emphasis towards debt and losses. Your GSA Contracting Officer will look at your Current Ratio (from your Balance Sheet), and also evaluate any losses your company has experienced (from your Profit/Loss). If you have very low sales within the past 2 years, then this can compound the problems. This is not necessarily going to prevent you from getting on schedule, but it will make for some obstacles.
- Less than 2 years corporate experience – If your company has not been around for at least two years, then you will not be able to fulfill the GSA requirement of providing financial statements for the past two years. Therefore, you will have to wait.
- The Trade Agreement Act – Some people call me and everything is fine so far, but then I ask them a few questions about their products or services and things go sideways. You don’t have to only offer ‘Made in America’ products, in fact there is a huge list of trade-eligible countries; however, your products must be made in countries that are on the “List.”
- Project experience – The GSA will not allow any companies on contract without a good deal of experience in their field, with the documentation to back it up. If your company is service-based, and you are very bad at record-keeping, then getting a GSA Contract will be much more difficult for you. Just something to consider.
- No resources to pursue federal business – If you have a good number of federal customers, then getting a GSA Contract will undoubtedly increase sales and make you more appealing to federal buyers. However, if you are going to be emerging into the federal market, then you will need resources available to locate potential projects, prepare bids, follow-up with customers, administer your GSA Contract, and much more. The point is, if you do not have these resources to grow the federal segment of your business, then don’t even start to try.
Author: Josh Ladick is the President of GSA Focus, Inc., and has been immersed in GSA Contracts and Government Contracting for over 13 years. He explains the complex GSA and FAR clauses in simple terms that anyone can understand, and keeps government contractors informed on a broad group of topics ranging from GSA Contract compliance to Government Contracting News to helpful explanations.