Responding to a Solicitation
You are ready to prepare an offer in response to a GSA Schedules solicitation. This page will walk you through what to expect when submitting an offer. For instructions on finding the appropriate solicitation for your business and preparing for the Schedules submission process, go to the Vendor Toolbox.
All responses to Schedules solicitations must be submitted electronically at eOffer / eMod. This system provides a secure, interactive environment that simplifies the entire solicitation process for contractors and prospective contractors from offer submission to contract modification.
eOffer/eMod uses the latest digital authentication technology to allow for electronic signatures and to ensure data integrity. At this site, you will also find training guides, Frequently Asked Questions, and information related to digital certificates.
Completing the Solicitation
Once you have found the appropriate solicitation, be sure to read all documents thoroughly, so you understand all of the requirements. Failure to submit all required documentation may result in your offer being returned. This will greatly increase the processing time. You may contact the person listed on Standard Form 1449, (page one, block seven) of each solicitation, with any questions.
Some basic guidelines a successful vendor always follow:
- Read the solicitation thoroughly and follow the instructions.
- Provide the requested information in the appropriate format.
- Submit your completed Standard Form 1449 with your electronic signature when responding. Only the person legally authorized to enter into contracts for your company should sign the form.
- Submit a dated copy of your commercial pricelist(s), with the appropriate Special Item Number (SIN) next to each offered item. Also include the Commercial Sales Practice Format (CSP-1), to provide details about your pricing history.
- Pay close attention to the pricing included in your submission, and be ready to negotiate your best offer for the government. All products or services offered in your pricelist should be within the scope of the solicitation as well as the specific SIN(s) being utilized. Take the time to understand all the requirements detailed in the solicitation. Once on contract, your company will be responsible for adhering to all relevant portions of the Federal Acquisition Regulation.
Offer Review Process
GSA’s offer review process usually takes between 30 and 120 days. A complete and accurate offer will help speed the process – a majority of offers are returned to the vendor for correction or clarification. The review is handled by a GSA Procurement Contracting Officer (PCO), who evaluates the offer based on the following criteria:
- Responsibility – You should be in a healthy financial state, i.e., financial resources to perform are available, accounting system and controls are in place and a good record of positive past performance is evidenced.
- Responsiveness – Follow all instructions and include the necessary documentation.
- Scope – Ensure your offered products or services match the Schedule / SIN descriptions.
- Subcontracting plan – Large businesses are required to have a plan in place for subcontracting a percentage of their work to various types of small businesses to help agencies achieve their socioeconomic goals. Contact the Small Business Administration (SBA) Commercial Marketing Representative (CMR) with questions about the subcontracting program and for help locating resources.
- Pricing Analysis and Review of Terms - Prices should be fair and reasonable, with appropriate data supporting and explaining the pricing structure.
Negotiation and Contract Award
Once the PCO completes a review of the offer, if necessary, a meeting will be scheduled to discuss terms and negotiate pricing. If additional information is needed prior to awarding a contract, the PCO will send a deficiency letter that explains what is needed. The goal of negotiations is to create a discount ratio in regards to your Most Favored Customer (MFC). Your MFC is the customer or class of customers who obtain your best pricing and discounts. After negotiations, you must prepare a final version of your offer, including discounts or concessions agreed upon at the meeting.
If an offer fails to meet the evaluation criteria or offer fair and reasonable pricing, it may be rejected. If an offer is rejected, you may request a meeting with the PCO for an explanation. You may alter and re-submit the offer based on feedback received in this meeting.
If the offer is accepted, you will receive a Schedules contract and will be eligible to start doing business with the government through the Schedules program.
A new Schedules contract brings great opportunities for federal sales. However, these do not come without important contract compliance responsibilities and a concerted effort to market your business. Newly awarded Schedules contractors are encouraged to read about Managing a Schedules Contract.