GSA/VA Schedule FAQs
What is a GSA / VA Schedule?
What is the VA’s Schedule Program?
Who can buy off of GSA / VA Schedules?
What is the Federal Government buying off of GSA / VA Schedules?
What are the requirements to obtain a GSA/VA Schedule?
What are the most common errors you see?
Why should I choose Centre as my GSA / VA Schedule consulting company?
Where do I go for more information?
WHAT IS A GSA/VA SCHEDULE?
A GSA / VA Schedule is a pre-negotiated contract with the General Services Administration or Department of Veterans Affairs (GSA / VA). GSA Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) contracts, also referred to as GSA Schedules and Federal Supply Schedule contracts, are indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contracts that are available for use by federal agencies worldwide. A potential contractor negotiates terms and conditions such as pricing, discounts, licensing, delivery, and types of products or services being offered with GSA. Since all the significant terms are pre-negotiated with the vendor, it makes it very easy for the government to order goods or services from that company. How much easier? Orders placed under Schedule contracts are issued on average in 15 days, compared to 268 days for other types of federal contracts.
WHAT IS THE VA’S SCHEDULE PROGRAM?
The VA National Acquisition Center (NAC) Federal Supply Schedule Service is responsible for establishing, soliciting, awarding, and administering the VA’s Federal Supply Schedule Program, which currently consists of 8 active schedules. Annual sales against these contracts exceed $2 billion. These schedules encompass such products as pharmaceuticals; medical equipment and supplies; dental supplies; x-ray equipment and supplies (including medical and dental x-ray film); patient mobility devices (including wheelchairs, scooters, walkers, etc.); antiseptic skin cleansers, detergents and soaps; in vitro diagnostics, reagents, test kits and sets; and clinical analyzers, laboratory cost-per-test. There are a total of over 1,200 contracts in place for the various commodity groups. All Federal Supply Schedule contracts are multiple award, indefinite delivery-indefinite quantity type, and are national in scope. These contracts are available for use by all Government agencies including but not limited to: VA medical centers, Department of Defense, Bureau of Prisons, Indian Health Services, Public Health Services, some State Veterans Homes, etc.
Delegated to VA by the General Services Administration over 30 years ago, VA’s current schedules are:
- 621 I Professional Medical Healthcare Services
- 65 I B Pharmaceuticals and Drugs
- 65 II A Medical Equipment and Supplies
- 65 II C Dental Equipment and Supplies
- 65 II F Patient Mobility Devices (including Wheelchairs, Scooters, Walkers)
- 65 VA X-Ray Equipment Supplies (including Medical and Dental X-Ray Film)
- 65 VII In Vitro Diagnostics, Reagents, Test Kits and Test Sets
- 66 III Clinical Analyzers, Laboratory, Cost-Per-Test
All federal agencies, certain charitable institutions, the District of Columbia, and in some cases state and local governments. In the last fiscal year these entities bought billions of dollars off of GSA and VA Schedules. That is money your company could be getting.
A better question would be, what is the government not buying off of the GSA / VA Schedules. The GSA / VA Schedules program covers virtually everything from shoes to services. Some of the bigger purchases by government buyers are in the IT systems and software areas, but management consultants and other professional services are in the billions of dollars of sales. It is highly unlikely that your company sells something that the federal government does not buy. For example, temporary services, furniture, security services, office equipment, management consulting, energy audit services, and much more. No matter what size your company is, or what you are selling, the federal market offers tremendous opportunities to grow your business
WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS TO OBTAIN A GSA/VA SCHEDULE?
Your company needs to be registered in the Central Contractor Registration (CCR) and have completed its Online Representations and Certifications (ORCA). If you are providing services, many schedules require that your company be in business for at least two years. If you are not already in the federal market, you should have a plan for entry. We can help you with that through competitive analysis, strategic positioning, and marketing messages.
We see consultants tell companies that they have to give GSA their lowest prices. That is wrong. You don’t have to agree to give GSA your lowest price; you just have to disclose your most favored customer price. Because you will often be called upon to grant additional discounts when competing MAS orders, it is not in your best interest to extend most favored customer pricing at the MAS contract level. Did your consultant tell you that you will probably have to give further discounts in competitive bids against other companies?
Also, too many companies negotiate contracts that cause major compliance headaches and problems because they unwittingly tie their Schedule pricing to broad or undesirable “basis of award” or “tracking customer” categories. We like to say that almost anyone can eventually get a company on schedule, but the important question is whether the resulting contract is one that will be profitable and manageable for the next 20 years. Many consultants who ignore this harsh reality are only concerned with getting a contract awarded. Centre’s legal consultants anticipate the problems and negotiate a contract that you can use profitably and succeed with.
First and foremost, Centre will be there if you have audit questions later on. Your independent consultant may not. Indeed we are frequently called upon to fix contracts that others have originally negotiated. Second, we have 20 years of legal and consulting experience. We know the rules. We testify before Congressional panels. We speak at the conferences. We develop and teach our own highly acclaimed courses. No one has more expertise in GSA and VA Schedules than Centre. We have successfully negotiated many GSA and VA Schedules. We know the people, their organizations, their priorities, and their sensibilities. They have a job to do on behalf of the taxpayer, and we treat them professionally and respectfully while at the same time ensuring that they do not take advantage of their position to establish undesirable contract terms and conditions. Let us give you the advice you can really rely upon every time.
Call one of our legal GSA consultants at 703-288-2800 or attend Centre’s wholly owned Federal Contracting Institute courses. Our two day Boot Camp for GSA and VA Contracting is the nationally acclaimed standard in the industry. For those new to the government space, attend our popular one day course Federal Sales: “Capturing & Winning Business!”. Register today!