GSA Schedule: How to Put in a Solid Offer the First Time
We know that a GSA Schedule is a “license to hunt”, but what we don’t know is the mystery of getting beyond the rejection box. We have downloaded the solicitation, completed all the sections, gathered all of the supporting documents and ready to upload into eOffer. But then we think: How do I know my offer is going to be accepted the first time unlike hundreds of others?
Well, after numerous of successful submissions, I am going to share with you how to ace the preparation process the first time (from experience of course)
Do you want to know the high-risk areas? Okay, let’s go through them:
Section I – Administrative Data
Double check to make sure you have all the required administrative information and play close attention to these areas which seem to be very sensitive points for a GSA reviewer:
1. SAM: Make sure your SAM reflects the predominant North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) assigned for that particular Schedule AND that all information is up to date.
2. Financials: You have included your MOST recent income statement and balance sheets (within the last 2 years), make sure to address any income losses, if necessary.
3. Authorized Agent Letter: Your letter should be on your letterhead and signed by an authority within your organization
Section II – Technical Proposal
4. Open Ratings: Make sure your Open Ratings past performance report is complete and you provide a copy of the ordering form.
5. Relevant Project Experience: This area is consistently a sensitive area for GSA. Please, double and triple check that you have appropriate keyword-sensitive descriptions and corresponding copies of the SOW.
Section III – Cost Proposal
6. Discounting Practices: Don’t forget to disclose all pricing discounts and concessions up front. That pesky Commercial Sales Practices (CSP-1) format stumps contractors every time so make sure you completely disclose not only your discounts but your sales practices as well.
7. Pricing Sheet: The biggest issues we see are that contractors don’t include all of the invoices for labor or products they are offering. Each offering needs to be substantiated; however, there is flexibility with products depending on the Schedule.
8. Pricing Narrative: You should get in the habit of including a pricing narrative will all of your pricing. It helps to explain your rationale and pricing methodology. Your narrative should include the anticipated annual escalation, Most Favored Customer and how you generate sales for your organization. I find this is the area where you can clearly layout how your company does business.
Once you have double-checked your proposal, have someone other than yourself do a compliance review. This is where an experienced GSA Consultant can really come in handy. They can give you valuable suggestions to make necessary corrections or help fill in the gaps. Their expertise is in navigating review questions and anticipating government feedback to keep your review process moving forward. An investment in just a comprehensive review will pay itself 100x’s.
Although the process has become more difficult, I suggest following the tips I have outlined to make the process a little easier. At the end of the day, the purpose is to get your submission through review the first time, spending less time going back and forth and more time winning task orders.