Getting on Schedule
Under the GSA Schedules Program, GSA establishes long-term governmentwide contracts that allow customers to acquire a vast array of supplies (products) and services directly from commercial suppliers.
To become a GSA Schedule contractor, a vendor must first submit an offer in response to the applicable GSA Schedule solicitation.
GSA awards contracts to responsible companies offering commercial items, at fair and reasonable prices, that fall within the generic descriptions in the GSA Schedule Solicitations. Contracting Officers determine whether prices are fair and reasonable by comparing the prices/discounts that a company offers the government with the prices/discounts that the company offers to commercial customers. This negotiation objective is commonly known as "most favored customer" pricing. In order to make this comparison, GSA requires offerors to furnish commercial pricelists and disclose information regarding their pricing/discounting practices.
In order to fully understand the process involved in "Getting on Schedule," GSA recommends that all vendors take the Center for Acquisition Excellence online, self-paced training course, "How to Become a Contractor—GSA Schedules Program." The course describes—
Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) Express Program
Vendors should consider submitting offers under the MAS Express Program, a specialized program established under the GSA Schedules Program. The goal of the MAS Express Program is to simplify, streamline, and ultimately accelerate the process for vendors to obtain Schedule contracts. Offers are currently being accepted under the MAS Express Program for 15 selected Schedules. In order to participate in the MAS Express Program, vendors must meet specific criteria for certain products and services under these Schedules. Vendors must also successfully complete Pathway to Success, an education seminar designed to assist prospective Schedule contractors in making an informed business decision as to whether obtaining a GSA Schedule contract is in their best interests.
Instructions for submitting offers under the MAS Express Program are included in the applicable Schedule solicitations. Additional information regarding the MAS Express Program is available by accessing the Vendor Support Center (VSC) and clicking on the "MAS Express Speed Limit 30 Days" box.
Submission of Offers: Paper or Electronic
As an alternative to the paper submission of offers, GSA has developed eOffer, a web based application that allows a vendor to prepare and submit a Schedule offer electronically. eOffer is designed to create an interactive, secure environment that simplifies the contracting process from submission of offers to contract awards. eOffer uses the latest digital authentication technology to ensure the integrity of data and to electronically sign the offer. Digital certificates are required to use eOffer. The eOffer website contains a variety of information regarding the eOffer application, including available training, information regarding digital certificates, and identification of those Schedules under which eOffers are currently being accepted.
Under the MAS Express Program, a vendor may prepare and submit an MAS Express offer electronically using "Express eOffer," an application similar to eOffer, but specifically designed for the MAS Express Program. The eOffer website provides the requisite information regarding the Express eOffer application, including those Schedules under which Express eOffers are currently being accepted.
Identify the GSA Schedule solicitation that covers the vendor's supplies or services. This step may be accomplished by any of the following methods:
Other helpful hints to assist vendors in obtaining a GSA Schedule contract:
Trade Agreements Act
Vendors should ensure that all items offered are compliant with the Trade Agreements Act. The Trade Agreements Act (19 U.S.C. 2501, et seq.) is the enabling statute that implements numerous multilateral and bilateral international trade agreements and other trade initiatives. Since the estimated dollar value of each Schedule exceeds the established Trade Agreements Act (TAA) threshold, the TAA is applicable to all Schedules. In accordance with the TAA, only U.S.-made or designated country end products shall be offered and sold under Schedule contracts.
Other Training Opportunities
GSA also provides eOffer Training, including training in the use of digital certificates, to assist vendors submitting Schedule offers electronically.
The Center for IT Schedule Programs offers training seminars for GSA Schedule 70 on "How to Prepare a Quality IT Offer." Vendors may obtain information regarding these seminars by accessing the IT Schedule 70 website.
GSA's Office of Small Business Utilization offers workshops on GSA Schedules Contract Training. Additional details regarding these sessions are available on the Office of Small Business Utilization website.
While GSA provides its government customers with training in "Using GSA Schedules," as well as information as to the benefits of the Schedules Program, GSA does not promote the use of any company's specific Schedule contract. Vendors should be aware that obtaining a GSA Schedule contract ("Getting on Schedule") is not a guarantee of sales. Vendors awarded GSA Schedule contracts will need to market their supplies and services to government customers.
The Vendor Support Center (VSC) provides a variety of information to assist Schedule contractors in understanding and meeting their Schedule contract requirements and marketing their Schedule contracts to government customers:
The shortcut to this page is www.gsa.gov/gettingonschedule.
Last Reviewed 8/14/2008