GSA FAQs


GSA Frequently Asked Questions

Who is GSA?

GSA FAQs

Who is GSA?

GSA is a centralized federal procurement and property management agency created by Congress to improve government efficiency and help federal agencies better serve the public. It acquires, on behalf of federal agencies, office space, equipment, telecommunications, information technology, supplies and services. GSA provides services and solutions for the office operations of over 1 million federal workers located in 8,300 government -owned and leased buildings in 1,600 U.S. communities. Covering a vast array of commercial items – from office supplies and copier paper to systems furniture, computers and laboratory equipment as well as services ranging from accounting to graphic design to landscaping – GSA’s Federal Supply Service operates the Multiple Award Schedule Program for all Federal government agencies to use as a streamlined procurement vehicle. The Schedules closely mirror commercial buying practices and provide customers with literally millions of state-of-the-art high-quality commercial services and products at volume discount pricing on a direct delivery basis.

How are the procedures for ordering services under the Multiple Award Schedules Program different from the procedures for ordering products?

GSA FAQs

Although the Ordering Procedures for Services Requiring a Statement of Work differ from the Ordering Procedures for Products and Services That Do Not Require a Statement of Work in FAR 8.404(b), both sets of procedures are designed to simplify the acquisition process.

  • For orders of services and/or products up to the micro-purchase threshold: Place the order with any Schedule contractor.
  • For orders above the micro-purchase threshold but below the maximum order threshold:
    • Services Requiring a Statement of Work: Prepare a request for quotes that includes the statement of work; transmit the request to at least three Schedule contractors; evaluate responses; and make a best value selection.
    • Products and Services That Do Not Require a Statement of Work: Review the GSA Advantage! online shopping service or at least three Schedule contractors’ pricelists; evaluate; and make a best value selection.
  • For orders above the maximum order threshold:
    • Services Requiring a Statement of Work: Follow the same procedures for orders above the micro-purchase threshold, except transmit the request for quotes to additional Schedule contractors; seek price reductions; evaluate responses; and make a best value selection.
    • Products and Services That Do Not Require a Statement of Work: Follow the same procedures for orders above the micro-purchase threshold, except review additional Schedule contractors’ pricelists or use the GSA Advantage! online shopping service; seek price reductions; evaluate; and make a best value selection.

Note: For orders of services exceeding $100,000 using Department of Defense (DoD) funds, the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) has been amended in Section 208.404 to implement Section 803 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2002 (Public Law 107-107). DoD offices and non-DoD activities placing orders on behalf of DoD should refer to DFARS 208.404 and 208.404-70 for additional information regarding ordering procedures and documentation requirements.

What is a GSA Schedule?

GSA FAQs

That is the best question that anyone could possibly ask! First of all, a GSA Schedule is NOT a list or a number. A GSA Schedule is a contract between YOU and the Government period. It is the easiest contracting vehicle to obtain, use and administer for any company that has commercially available products and/or services. YOUR contract is only usable by YOU and anyone YOU authorize to sell from it.

Why do I need a GSA Contract?

GSA FAQs

Have you ever worked a really large deal only to have it cut down below $25,000 because your company did not have a GSA Schedule? How many of those can you afford? How many times have you had a really large deal take 6 months because it had to be posted in the CBD and there were stacks of red tape to go through? Have you ever lost a deal because it had to be competed and another company won the deal you had been working so hard? This does not happen with a GSA Schedule. No $25,000 limit, no competition, no lost deals. Can you really afford not to have a GSA Schedule? By the year 2006 if you do not have a schedule, you will find it almost impossible to be able to do business with the government!

Why can't we use a resellers GSA Schedule?

GSA FAQs

You can use a reseller schedule. However, you will NOT be able to accept your own orders. In addition, they will most likely want you to pay for a portion of that schedule. When you have a modification to your price schedule, how responsive will they be to changing their schedule for you? What if they have similar products on the schedule? What is their incentive for selling yours? In other words… you can pay now or later and forever. Now for the reality! You are competing with hundreds of companies on a reseller’s schedule. You might as well not even be there. The reseller will not sell your product for you (push through) but they will take an order for your product (pull through). Big deal, you can do that. Also, if they get audited, you get audited. You have all the same responsibilities without much benefit.

Why not let a dealer add my products to their Schedule?

You can use a reseller schedule. However, you will NOT be able to accept your own orders. In addition, they will most likely want you to pay for a portion of that schedule. When you have a modification to your price schedule, how responsive will they be to changing their schedule for you? What if they have similar products on the schedule? What is their incentive for selling yours? In other words… you can pay now or later and forever. Now for the reality! You are competing with hundreds of companies on The reseller’s schedule. You might as well not even be there. The reseller will not sell your product for you (push through) but they will take an order for your product (pull through). Big deal, you can do that. Also, if they get audited, you get audited. You have all the same responsibilities without much benefit.

Can I be audited if I do not have my own Schedule?

GSA FAQs

Yes you can. The Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) states that any contract that has a sub-contractor (you) as part of the contract is subject to the same restrictions and rules that the prime contractor is subject to. It is like cosigning a loan. They default, you pay.

What are the largest difficulties in marketing to the US Government?

GSA FAQs

Selling open market and not understanding what you are doing. We can help you in both areas through the GSA schedule process and training on how to sell to government.

What is the size of the market?

GSA FAQs

The market is HUGE! At last count it had surpassed $40 Billion and climbing.

What does it cost and why?

GSA FAQs

The Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) 52.203.5 expressly prohibits any company from receiving compensation based upon GSA acting favorably towards a prospective vendor. Therefore, it is illegal for MarketUS to accept a commission against your potential GSA sales. An officer of your company may have to sign a Standard Form 119 certifying that you are not/will not pay a contingent fee resulting from this contract. Sorry!

Why not get added on a bigger contract?

GSA FAQs

We believe bigger contracts are going to be a thing of the past in the near future due to the quickly changing procurement world. In addition, they do not allow you the flexibility of changing prices or adding or deleting products as easily as GSA does.. Can you afford to have your products stay at the same price level for 5 years?

Why pay you when I can get on a reseller's Schedule for free?

GSA FAQs

You can use a reseller schedule. However, you will NOT be able to accept your own orders. In addition, they will most likely want you to pay for a portion of that schedule. When you have a modification to your price schedule, how responsive will they be to changing their schedule for you? What if they have similar products on the schedule? What is their incentive for selling yours? In other words… you can pay now or later and forever. Now for the reality! You are competing with hundreds of companies on The reseller’s schedule. You might as well not even be there. The reseller will not sell your product for you (push through) but they will take an order for your product (pull through). Big deal, you can do that. Also, if they get audited, you get audited. You have all the same responsibilities without much benefit.

Is it true that GSA Schedules are going away?

GSA FAQs

GSA schedule activity is bigger than ever. They are not going away. They just recently moved and merged back under Federal Supply Service (FSS) so now they have unlimited resources. Effective April 1, 1996, GSA began charging a 1% Industrial Funding Fee (IFF) to allow them to continue to grow. That fee dropped to 0.75% as of January 1, 2004. As of June 1996 GSA had added IT Services to the contract which opened up a whole new world in procurement. In addition, we are seeing that large IDIQ contracts will be a thing of the past shortly and GSA will be the only procurement vehicle within the next 5 years.

Why can't we do a schedule by ourselves?

GSA FAQs

You CAN do your own schedule and don’t believe anyone who says you cannot. You have to be ready to devote a lot of time have a lot of patience and be available at all times when a contracting officer finally decides to work on your proposal and wants information and clarifications NOW. Also what if you fill something out incorrectly and your proposal is thrown out? According to GSA, 79% of all proposals submitted by a company directly are rejected.  It is our job to clarify and make sure these things do not happen. Recently, one of our clients, an ex-buyer for the armed forces, did the GSA schedule for his company. Not a real complicated one and this person knows more about the process than any company executive we have ever met. He spent 5 months, and then called us. Can you afford this kind of time? Can you afford to hire someone when we are so reasonable? Consider our unconditional guarantee for full service clients, If you are turned down for ANY reason, we will resubmit your proposal at no charge.

I am selling open market, why should I pay you to get me a Schedule?

GSA FAQs

If you are doing fine selling open market, that will end as soon as the agency gets audited. Any agency who circumvents the procurement process stands to get written up for voplating the Competition in Contracting Act of 1984. The government awards contracts for the purpose of making buying easier from known vendors that have passed review and negotiating standards with the government. With a GSA contract you could double or triple what you are doing now! Also, is it because you have no competition? What happens when a competitor gets a schedule and the government starts getting everything from them because it is so much easier and cheaper for them to buy from a schedule holder? By the year 2006 if you do not have a schedule, you will find it almost impossible to be able to do business with the government!

How do your fees compare to your competition?

GSA FAQs

You will find that we are more reasonable. Many of our clients have tried other companies and have found that they were not satisfied. While other companies can do a great job at filling out paperwork, they offer no other help. For example, they have never directly sold to the Federal Government. We do everything possible to help you achieve success.

How long does the process take?

We can prepare a proposal in less than two weeks. Once we submit to GSA, we can gently prod it along but we can not guarantee a specific time. GSA wants the terms, conditions and pricing in your proposal to be guaranteed for 180 days. We have been very fortunate in that we are averaging 45-60 days for award.

Can't I fill out a SF129 and get the same results?

You can but that does almost no good. This just means you MAY get open market bid information from some of the agencies. By the time you do receive the information, the bids have already been wired for another vendor. Worse yet, it has probably already become an order with a vendor who has a, you guessed it, GSA Schedule.

What is a GWAC?

Everyone has heard of the Reinvention of Government program – in some quarters it is already here. Federal contracting is already changing. The older minority and disadvantaged programs such as 8(a) are declining while the newer Government Wide Acquisition Contracts (GWACs) are growing in popularity everyday. Many of the best contracting opportunities available today are closed except to a select few. These opportunities are open only to the holders of select GWACs and their affiliates. These contracts include such well known vehicles as CIO-SP, BITS, ITOP, and even GSA’s Answer.

If I've been a subcontractor, when I get my Schedule will I be able to get the same rates the prime has been getting?

Absolutely not. The Government takes the position that if you can charge the prime those rates, then you can charge the government the same rate.

Why are GSA Schedules different?

GSA Schedules are not owned by any one agency and are not directed to solve the particular problems of a single agency and then, almost as an afterthought, opened for use by all agencies. GSA, in its role as a solutions provider, issues schedules and contracts for use by all agencies. The uniform Industrial Funding Fee (IFF) — paid by the vendor — applies to all sales under the schedules. (Yes, even when GSA orders under a schedule contract the IFF must be paid.) No other contract vehicle has the universal acceptance and respect that the GSA Schedules have. No federal marketing program is complete without a GSA Schedule.

Who can purchase from a GSA Schedule?

All Federal and DoD offices, the District of Columbia, some state and local agencies, and some approved commercial enterprises are eligible to purchase from GSA Schedules. If you hold an IT contract, State, Local, Municipal and Universities may also purchase directly from your GSA Contract.

What are the differences between GSA Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) contracts, Governmentwide acquisition contracts (GWACs), and Multi-agency contracts (MACs)?

BPA FAQs

GSA Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) contracts are indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contracts available to all federal agencies worldwide. GSA awards and administers MAS contracts pursuant to section 201 of the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949, as amended. Under the MAS Program, GSA enters into governmentwide contracts with commercial firms to provide over 4 million commercial services and products. Agencies place orders directly with MAS contractors. Interagency agreements are not required to use MAS contracts. The Economy Act does not apply to orders placed against MAS contracts. Governmentwide Acquisition Contracts (GWACS) are task order or delivery order contracts for information technology established by one agency for governmentwide use. Each GWAC is operated by an executive agent designated by the Office of Management and Budget pursuant to section 5112(e) of the Clinger-Cohen Act. The Economy Act does not apply to orders under GWACs. Multi-agency contracts (MACs) are task order or delivery order contracts established by one agency for use by government agencies to obtain a variety of supplies and services. The Economy Act (Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Subpart 17.5) applies to orders placed under MACs, with the exception of MACs for information technology that are established pursuant to the Clinger-Cohen Act.

Who is eligible to use GSA Multiple Award Schedule contracts?

GSA Order ADM 4800.2E, Eligibility to Use GSA Sources of Supply and Services, provides detailed information regarding those agencies, activities, and organizations that have been determined to be eligible to use GSA Multiple Award Schedule contracts.

How do I know I am getting the best price?

GSA’s goal is to be the best value supplier of choice. Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) contracts offer “most favored customer” pricing/discounts. Quantity discounts may also be available. With the elimination of maximum order limitations, and the implementation of maximum order thresholds, contractors may now accept “any size” orders. In accordance with Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) 8.404(b)(3), the maximum order threshold represents the point where it is advantageous for customers to seek price reductions. In fact, for orders exceeding this threshold, after a customer reviews additional Schedule contractors’ pricelists or GSA Advantage!, the FAR, as well as the Ordering Procedures for Services (Requiring a Statement of Work), instructs the customer to generally seek price reductions from Schedule contractor(s) appearing to provide the best value (considering price and other factors). Agencies are encouraged and empowered to seek price reductions, not only for orders over the maximum order threshold, but also when circumstances warrant, for orders below this amount in order to ensure that when using MAS contracts, they receive the best value at the lowest overall cost.

Sometimes I need delivery right away. Can I get it when I use Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) contracts?

MAS contracts have the same delivery times as the Schedule contractors’ commercial delivery times. MAS contracts may also contain expedited delivery terms, or customers may request expedited delivery to meet their requirements.

Can I use my governmentwide commercial purchase card for payment?

Acceptance of the governmentwide commercial purchase card is a strongly encouraged payment method. Schedule contractors are required to accept the purchase card for payments equal to or less than the micro-purchase threshold. Schedule contractors are also encouraged to accept the card for dollar amounts above this threshold.

When I place an order under a Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) contract does it meet Competition in Contracting Act (CICA) requirements?

In accordance with Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) 6.102(d)(3), use of the Multiple Award Schedules Program is considered a competitive procedure under CICA when the MAS ordering procedures are followed; i.e., the ordering procedures in FAR 8.404 and the Ordering Procedures for Services (Requiring a Statement of Work).

What is a Contractor Team Arrangement (CTA) under the Multiple Award Schedules (MAS) Program?

Contractor Teaming FAQs

A detailed explanation is under the CTA FAQ section below.  A CTA under the MAS Program is an arrangement in which two or more Schedule contractors join together to provide a total solution to meet a customer’s needs. Orders placed under a CTA are subject to the terms and conditions of each team member’s Schedule contract.

Is it really easier to purchase from Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) contracts than it is to procure on the open market?

Purchasing from MAS contracts offers the following advantages over procuring on the open market:

  • GSA has determined prices under MAS contracts to be fair and reasonable.
  • Synopses are not required for MAS purchases.
  • MAS contracts have been awarded in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.
  • Administrative time is reduced.
  • MAS contracts offer a wide selection of state-of-the-art commercial services and products.

Can the Multiple Award Schedules meet all of my needs? Even large or complex requirements? What if the Schedule contractor doesn't have everything under contract? How can I be certain that the services or products I need, including new technology, are alw

Contractor Teaming FAQs

With over 4 million commercial services and products available, Multiple Award Schedules (MAS) can meet the vast majority of a customer’s needs. For those large or complex requirements, MAS contractors can join with other Schedule contract holders and submit a total solution to meet a customer’s needs under a Contractor Team Arrangement (CTA). MAS contractors may request that their contracts be modified at any time during the contract period to add new services and products to meet a customer’s requirements. The modification process also ensures that the latest technology is always available to the customer. Schedule contract periods are as long as five years with three five-year option periods to provide for continued sources of services and products. Most MAS solicitations now have continuous open seasons, which enable companies to submit offers at any time and further ensure that customers have, not only a variety of services and products to meet their requirements, but also the latest technology available in the commercial marketplace.

Can items NOT on a Multiple Award Schedule contract be included on a Schedule order?

BPA FAQs

Yes. The Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) has been amended to incorporate policies that address the handling of open market items. Note: Open market items are also known as incidental items, noncontract items, non-Schedule items, and items not on a Federal Supply Schedule contract. In accordance with FAR 8.401(d), for administrative convenience, an ordering office contracting officer may add items not on the Federal Supply Schedule (Multiple Award Schedule) contract, i.e., open market items to a Federal Supply Schedule blanket purchase agreement (BPA) or an individual task or delivery order only if, all applicable acquisition regulations pertaining to the purchase of the items not on the Federal Supply Schedule contract have been followed (e.g., publicizing (Part 5), competition requirements (Part 6), acquisition of commercial items (Part 12), contracting methods (Parts 13, 14, and 15), and small business programs (Part 19); The ordering office contracting officer has determined the price for the items not on the Federal Supply Schedule contract is fair and reasonable; The items are clearly labeled on the order as items not on the Federal Supply Schedule contract; and All clauses applicable to items not on the Federal Supply Schedule contract are included in the order.

What is a Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA) under a Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) contract? Are there any dollar limitations when establishing BPAs?

BPA FAQs

A detailed explanation is under the BPA FAQ section below.  An MAS BPA is a simplified method of filling recurring needs for services and products, while leveraging a customer’s buying power by taking advantage of quantity discounts, saving administrative time, and reducing paperwork. A BPA is an “account” established by a customer with a Schedule contractor. MAS BPAs are authorized by FAR 13.303-2(c)(3). With an MAS BPA customers can order as little as they want, as much as they want, and as often as they want. Customers are not restricted by any dollar limitations when placing orders under an MAS BPA. A BPA can be set up for field offices across the nation to use, thus allowing them to participate in a customer’s BPA and place orders directly with Schedule contractors. In doing so, the entire agency reaps the benefits of additional discounts negotiated into the BPA. A BPA cannot exceed the contractor’s Schedule contract period. Customers should always perform an annual review of each BPA to determine whether the BPA is still a “best value.” Contractor Team Arrangements, which are permitted with MAS contractors in accordance with FAR 9.6, may be incorporated into a BPA.

Are all products offered under GSA Schedule contracts compliant with the Trade Agreements Act?

Yes.

As an ordering agency Contracting Officer, can I terminate an order or must I go through the GSA Contracting Officer?

In accordance with FAR 8.405, an ordering agency Contracting Officer may terminate an order for cause or for the convenience of the government. Such terminations shall comply with FAR 12.403. The GSA Contracting Officer shall be notified in all cases where an order has been terminated for cause or fraud is suspected.

Can my contract be cancelled for lack of sales?

Yes it can. Please see the follwing excerpt from the actual solicitation. C.41 CONTRACT SALES CRITERIA (I-FSS-639) (MAR 2002) (a) A contract will not be awarded unless anticipated sales are expected to exceed at least $25,000 within the first 24 months following contract award, and are expected to exceed $25,000 in sales each 12-month period thereafter. (b) The government may cancel the contract in accordance with clause 552.238-73, Cancellation, unless reported sales are at the levels specified in paragraph (a) above.

Can state and local government buy from my GSA contract?

A recent change in the law amended the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act to allow for Cooperative Purchasing. Currently, Cooperative Purchasing allows state and local governments to purchase from Schedule 70, Information Technology and Corporate schedule contracts. The information includes automated data, processing equipment, software, supplies support, and equipment. Since its implementation in May 2003, state and local governments have purchased over 8 million in products and services, the majority being services, under the cooperative purchasing agreement. See the Cooperative Purchasing FAQs for more detailed information.

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