Getting Your GSA Business on Schedule

Despite robust opportunity at the federal, state and local level, the government sector remains a highly procedural market requiring the utmost in professionalism. With the necessary skillsets and business acument, systems integrators can participate and profit as a direct provider or subcontractor.

[IMAGE]12084[/IMAGE]Getting Cozy With Manufacturers

Establishing good relationships with manufacturers that already play in the government space will be requisite in order to find products to build your GSA program. The trickiest part is to identify vendors that are willing to give you a “letter of supply” for the products necessary to fulfill a security solution you plan to include as your GSA offer.

As explained in the sidebar on page 74, you will have to meld the suppliers that match with Special Item Numbers (SINs) so that in your game plan you can access all of the product categories you want to offer under the electronic Request for Quotes (RFQs) program known as GSA eBuy.

This is the method the agencies will use to alert you to a project opportunity. If you do not have a certain SIN, you cannot identify the opportunity; therefore, you will be unable to respond. Another requirement stipulates in order to submit for a product line, you must show you have substantially sold those items previously. There is a workaround if you have not sold substantial quantities, but the supplier will need to be supportive of your efforts.

Some manufacturers prefer to hold their own contract and set up participating GSA resellers. The suppliers will not be available to list on your GSA contract, but being a GSA dealer should also be a part of your strategy. The goal is twofold: gain access to the product categories you want to offer as well as products your company has experience and confidence in supporting.

Get Your Financial House in Order

So what are some of the primary requirements for undertaking a GSA contract vehicle? First, it is not a list! To receive a GSA award, a contractor must submit the bid package, which can be downloaded from the GSA eLibrary when linking to the GSA Schedule program.

Being financially sound and commercially successful are key prerequisites for even considering the government as a potential customer or submitting a GSA contract. When a government agency is seeking an integrator for its project to support ongoing work, it will certainly want to be assured your company can sustain and perform all contractual obligations.

As part of the process for being awarded a GSA contract, the contractor must pass a financial review. With the submission of a financial statement, review of information on Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) and some additional credit references as part of the requirement, the successful awarding of a GSA contract vehicle has already determined that essential element for the agency procurement officer.

Another key point for an agency to consider before placin
g an order is your company’s reputation and past performance. Having a traceable track record for the work you wish to perform will be a documented requirement under GSA. To build a performance history, each contractor wishing to be awarded a GSA contract must submit a list of no more than 20 past customers to be surveyed by GSA.

An “open ratings” report is then generated after the surveys have been completed to determine your standing. Any noted negative reporting will have to be explained to confirm it is not an ongoing problem. The report must accompany your GSA submission.

At least one member of your team involved in negotiating and managing the contract must take an online GSA contractor training course. The session takes about 90 minutes to get through and a certificate is issued upon completion. This certificate must accompany your GSA offer as well.

Your company must register online in the government’s central contractor registration section and also link to complete the Online Representations and Certifications Application (ORCA), which includes standard quotation representations and certifications. This must be kept current and needs to be accurate.

D&B, tax ID and address information must all match the offer. Also, choose carefully when selecting the services you provide. Any contractor with service sales in excess of $11.5 million is considered a large business.

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