What Does GSA Stand For?

GSA stands for the General Services Administration which is a government agency that was established in 1949. The agency has evolved over the years and today is tasked with managing government buildings and real estate, providing product and service procurement support, and developing policies and regulations. GSA is most widely known for its development of GSA Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) Contracts, also referred to as Federal Supply Schedule Contracts or the GSA Schedules Program. The GSA Schedules Program was created to streamline government purchasing of commercial products and services and to leverage the buying power of the federal government in the process.

What is a GSA Schedule Contract?

GSA Schedule Contracts, also known as GSA Schedules or Federal Supply Schedules, are indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity (IDIQ), long-term (5-20 year) contracts under the General Services Administration’s Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) Program. GSA Schedule Contracts were developed to assist federal employees in purchasing products and services; they contain prenegotiated terms such as pricing, warranties, delivery times, return policies and discounts.

Does My Company Need a GSA Schedule Contract to Sell to the Government?

There is no law that requires a contractor to hold a GSA Schedule in order to conduct business with the federal government. However, agencies have the choice to use the GSA Schedules Program in order to save money and time with contracting. As a result, companies that conduct significant business with the federal government ultimately find it necessary and preferred to obtain a Schedule Contract.

Why Should My Company Get a GSA Schedule?

Acquisitions through GSA Schedules are issued using full and open competition. Prices have already been deemed fair and reasonable, and Contracts are in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations, reducing evaluation cycles. Purchases can be made directly from a contractor’s GSA Schedule Contract, eliminating time-consuming responses to complex RFP’s and lengthy negotiations. On average, this process shortens the lifecycle of purchases from an average of 270 days to 21 days.

  • Blanket Purchase Agreements (BPAs) between agencies and contractors under the GSA Schedule are established to meet recurring product/service needs. BPA’s reduce administrative costs by eliminating repetitive ordering procedures.
  • Contractor Team Arrangements (CTAs) are agreements between two or more GSA Schedule Contract holders to work together in order to provide a complete solution to an agency’s need.
  • GSA Advantage!, is an online shopping mall for federal government agencies to view, compare, and directly purchase products and services available through GSA Schedule Contracts.

Is My Company Eligible to Get a GSA Schedule Contract?

The qualifications needed to obtain a GSA Schedule Contract vary slightly from Schedule to Schedule. However, for the most part a company must meet the following criteria:

  • Financial Stability
  • At Least 2 Years in Business
  • Past Performance
  • Products Commercially Available
    • Products Compliant with the Trade Agreements Act. End product must be manufactured or substantially altered within the U.S. or a “designated country” as defined by the Trade Agreements Act.

How Can My Company Get a GSA Schedule Contract?

How Do I…..

  1. Get on the GSA List?
  2. Get GSA Certified?
  3. Get a GSA Number?
  4. Get GSA Approved?
  5. Get GSA Pricing?

The GSA Schedules Program can be confusing because it is referred to in a number of ways. Getting on the GSA list, getting GSA Certified, or obtaining a GSA number are all terms that are used in reference to getting a GSA Schedule Contract. Knowing that it is a government contract and not simply a certification, a number, or a placement on a list, can be helpful to understanding the process. Companies that wish to get a GSA Schedule Contract must submit a lengthy proposal for consideration by GSA.

How Long Does it Take to Get a GSA Schedule Contract?

The time it takes to get a GSA Schedule Contract is broken up into two parts:

  1. preparing your proposal and

GSA’s review of your proposal and negotiation of your contract award. If you choose to prepare a proposal yourself, it could take anywhere from a few months to over a year. Once your proposal has been submitted to GSA, the review time will vary depending on which GSA Schedule you are pursuing. Review times range from approximately three to four months for the IT Schedule to over a year for the Furniture and Security Schedules.


Who Is Eligible to Buy off the GSA Schedules Program?

A GSA Schedule Contract can be used to solicit hundreds of federal customers, including:

  • Federal and Executive Agencies
  • Department of Defense (DOD)
  • Government of the District of Columbia
  • Government Contractors Authorized to Spend Federal Dollars
  • Certain Institutions and International Organizations

Click here for a complete list of Eligible GSA Schedule Users.

What Can I Sell Through a GSA Schedule?

GSA awards Schedule Contracts to responsible companies that offer these products commercially. That means if you sell it commercially, it’s almost guaranteed that it will be purchased by the federal government. The GSA schedules currently carry almost 11 million products for sale. There are, however a few products and services that are restricted from the Schedules Program. Currently firearms and ammunition, as well as construction and architectural services are not allowed on the GSA Schedule. While it is unlikely that firearms and ammunition will ever be permitted on the GSA Schedule, there has been recent talk of adding construction services to the program. In the meantime, there are some aspects of construction and architectural services that may fall under the scope of Schedule 871, Professional Engineering Services.