GSA Advantage Program

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 price lists 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—

  • Various features of the GSA Schedules Program;
  • How to submit an offer;
  • The evaluation and contract award process;
  • How to successfully market supplies and services; and
  • Sources of information related to Schedule contract administration.

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), locating the "Business Opportunities" tab, and selecting "MAS Express Program."

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.

Getting Started

Identify the GSA Schedule solicitation that covers the vendor's supplies or services. This step may be accomplished by any of the following methods:

  • Review the GSA Schedule Solicitations to determine the applicable GSA Schedule and corresponding solicitation number under which the supplies or services may be offered. Click on the appropriate Solicitation Number to be linked directly to the solicitation files in FedBizOpps. Download the solicitation and follow the instructions in the document.
    Note:The GSA Schedule Solicitations page also identifies those Schedules that accept the electronic submission of offers using eOffer.
  • Search GSA eLibrary (formerly Schedules e-Library) by keyword to identify supplies or services covered by GSA Schedules. Click on the box, "Vendors:  Click here to view the current solicitation on FedBizOpps." Download the solicitation and follow the instructions in the document.
  • Review the Schedule List in GSA eLibrary to determine the applicable GSA Schedule under which the supplies or services may be offered. Click on any Schedule number under the "Source" column to view descriptions of the generic categories of supplies or services under each Schedule. Click on the box, "Vendors:  Click here to view the current solicitation on FedBizOpps." Download the solicitation and follow the instructions in the document.
  • Visit FedBizOpps to search for and obtain a copy of the GSA Schedule solicitation. Download the solicitation and follow the instructions in the document.

Other helpful hints to assist vendors in obtaining a GSA Schedule contract:

  • Obtain a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) Number. The DUNS Number is a unique nine character identification number provided by Dun and Bradstreet. The DUNS website contains information for vendors to obtain DUNS Numbers by telephone or via the Internet.
  • Register in the Central Contractor Registration (CCR) database and make sure that the CCR registration is up-to-date. In order to register in the CCR, vendors must have a DUNS Number. The CCR collects, validates, stores, and disseminates data in support of agency acquisition missions. Vendors must be registered in the CCR prior to the award of a Schedule contract.
  • Complete the Online Representations and Certifications Application (ORCA). ORCA was developed as an Integrated Acquisition Environment (IAE) E-Government initiative designed to reduce the administrative burden on vendors to submit the same paper-based representations and certifications repeatedly for various solicitations. Prospective Schedule contractors are now required to complete electronic annual representations and certifications via the ORCA website and to update the representations and certifications as necessary, but at least annually, to ensure they are kept current, accurate, and complete.
  • Read the entire Schedule solicitation thoroughly and respond to all requirements.
  • Make sure that all items offered are within the scope of the Schedule solicitation.
  • Obtain an Open Ratings Inc. Past Performance Evaluation. Under an Open Ratings Past Performance Evaluation, Open Ratings, a Dun and Bradstreet Company, conducts an independent audit of customer references and calculates a rating based upon a statistical analysis of various performance data and survey responses. While some Schedule solicitations do contain the form to request an Open Ratings Past Performance Evaluation, vendors may submit an online request directly to Open Ratings.
  • Make sure the company is financially sound.
  • Be ready to negotiate the company's best offer.

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 ordesignated 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.

Additional Information

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:

  • New Contractor Orientation Webcast. Under the Vendor Training tab on the VSC, access this webcast to understand key contract requirements and how GSA will evaluate contractor performance.
  • The Steps to Success—How to Be a Successful Contractor. Access this publication to gain an overview of Schedule contract requirements and information as to how to successfully market a Schedule contract to government customers.

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