Managing a Schedules Contract
Congratulations! Your company has started the Schedules process by responding to a solicitation, and has been awarded a Schedules contract. All of your hard work has paid off and you are about to take a major step toward connecting your business with government customers. However, there is still a lot of work to be done in order to maximize your contract’s potential.
Becoming a Schedule contract holder is not a guarantee of sales. In order to be successful in the federal marketplace, you must market your company’s offerings amidst a competitive pool of existing contractors and continue to manage your contract throughout its lifespan. Schedules contracts are typically issued with a five-year base period of performance, with two five-year options.
This page walks you through your responsibilities as a GSA contractor and offers resources and strategies for maximizing business opportunities.
First Steps as a GSA Contractor
Preparing an offer is not the only time there are administrative tasks to complete. New GSA Schedule contractors must also complete important contract administration tasks when building a customer base. They include:
- Register with the Vendor Support Center. This site provides training, publications, and resources for helping contractors achieve success.
- Begin with the "New Contractor Orientation Webcast" and “The Steps to Success” guide, which can be found under the Vendor Support Center Publications tab.
- Refer to the Training for Vendors page and to Events for Vendors With Government Contracts.
- Create, distribute, and maintain your company pricelist. New contractors are required to upload their current approved pricelist to GSA Advantage!®, GSA’s online shopping and ordering system, within six months of contract award. Two copies of the pricelist should also be forwarded to your GSA Procurement Contracting Officer (PCO) within 30 days of award. The information on GSA Advantage!® should be kept current throughout the life of the contract.
Marketing to the Government
The success of your Schedules contract will require active promotion of your business to potential customers. The way in which you market is up to you. If you are a small business, a good place to look for opportunities is agencies’ web pages entitled, “Forecast of Opportunities.” Each agency’s Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization specialist (SDBU) posts this information early in each fiscal year. Be sure to subscribe to the “Schedules Contractor Success - Marketing Matters!” group on GSA’s Interact, and view the webinar video series.
Your Potential Customer Base
Your customer base includes organizations eligible to Use GSA Sources of Supply and Services (PDF, 648K), such as executive, military, and other federal agencies. Through Cooperative Purchasing and Disaster Recovery Purchasing, state and local governments can also use Schedules.
Government buyers can post a Request for Quote via eBuy, a component of GSA Advantage!®. Schedules contractors can submit quotes to any RFQ corresponding to the Schedule and Special Item Numbers (SINs) listed in their contract. eBuy is an excellent tool for finding new business and is only available to contractors on Schedule or on a Governmentwide Acquisition Contract (GWAC). Watch for orders or BPAs that may be set aside for small businesses.
You can also use FedBizOpps to search for active federal opportunities. Government buyers are required to post any open market procurements over $25,000 at FedBizOpps (excluding such vehicles as Schedules, GWACS, and orders under agency IDIQ contracts). Please note that FedBizOpps is not used for GSA Schedule buys, but it serves to inform interested companies about federal contracting opportunities.
Further Resources. Online resources for market research, including USA.gov and FPDS-NG, can be found at Resources, Training, and Tools. Another helpful tool is Schedule Sales Query which provides historical sales data.
In addition to the myriad of resources available on the web, these are a few smart strategies that will help maximize your business opportunities.
- Optimize your web presence by placing the GSA logo on your website and providing a link to your online pricelist. Be sure to read and follow the GSA Star Mark Logo Policy.
- Include your company web address on your pricelist.
- Train your personnel about your GSA Schedules contract – how it should be used, and how to best promote your business to potential government customers.
- Small Business Goals: If your company is a small, disadvantaged, women-owned, HUBZone, veteran-owned, service-disabled veteran-owned, or economically disadvantaged women-owned business, know that all federal agencies set Small Business Goals, which aim to put a percentage of procurement dollars toward these business categories. Additionally, ordering activity contracting officers may, at their discretion, set aside orders or BPAs for small businesses. Learn more about how to participate through GSA’s Office of Small Business Utilization.
- Contractor Team Arrangements (CTAs): If the scope of your contract cannot meet all of a customer’s requirements, you may work with another Schedule contractor. In a CTA, two or more Schedule contractors work together to meet the needs of a customer.
- Blanket Purchase Agreements (BPAs): Setting up a BPA based on your Schedule contract (for terms and conditions) is a way to obtain regular business from a customer with repetitive needs for the product(s) or service(s) you offer. Because a BPA brings in continuous sales, it is appropriate to offer additional price discounts to your customer as part of the agreement.
Maintaining Your Contract
In order for your Schedule contract to be maintained by GSA, your company must accrue at least $25,000 of GSA reportable sales during the first 24 months of your contract, and maintain an additional $25,000 in sales each year thereafter.
There are a few additional responsibilities for properly maintaining your Schedules contract. Contracts may be cancelled, or options not exercised, if you do not meet contract requirements. Some of these include:
- Report sales and remit the Industrial Funding Fee (IFF) to GSA. Sales reports and the IFF (currently 0.75 percent of total sales) are both due 30 days after the end of each quarter. Visit the 72A Quarterly Reporting System for more information.
- Participate in Contractor Assistance Visits (CAVs). These are site visits by GSA’s Industrial Operations Analysts (IOA) that occur at least twice during a five-year contract period. CAVs are not audits and are intended to assist and educate contractors to get the most from their contract. The Administrative Contracting Officer (ACO) will issue a Report Card with feedback on your compliance with the contract.
- Keep registrations and certifications up to date. These include Central Contractor Registration (CCR) and other certifications made when your company responded to a Schedules solicitation. Remember that most certifications will require an annual update. If you are a small business, be sure to update your size status and applicable NAICS codes annually.
Further details can be found in the “Steps to Success” guide found in the Publications section of the Vendor Support Center.
How to Modify Your Contract
During the life of your contract, it may be necessary to request modifications to its terms and conditions. Modifications may include adding or deleting a product or service SIN, reducing/increasing your price, or making administrative changes. Modifications are to be requested online via eMod, a module of the eOffer site you used to submit your solicitation response.
Contract Policies and Obligations
The following is a brief overview of many of the significant policies and obligations pertaining to your contract. For any advice or clarifications, contact your GSA Procurement Contracting Officer (PCO), or visit the Vendor Support Center.
- Maximum Orders. Schedules contractors are obligated to accept any order from an executive agency that is below the Maximum Order threshold. Outside of the executive branch, a contractor is encouraged though not required to accept an order under this threshold. For orders over the Maximum Order threshold, agencies will generally expect a price break due to the large volume of the sale. The Maximum Order threshold is determined on a schedule by schedule or sometimes on a SIN by SIN basis.
- Orders and Blanket Purchase Agreements that Exceed the Simplified Acquisition Threshold (SAT) For orders exceeding that SAT and for Blanket Purchase Agreements established under Schedule contracts for which the total of all orders is expected to exceed the SAT, federal agencies are required to request additional price reductions from the Schedule prices. Ordering activities must compete requirements over the SAT among three Schedule contract holders, unless appropriate procedures are followed for limiting the sources.
- What Qualifies as a Schedules Sale? If the product or service falls within the description of the SINs on your contract and the customer is an eligible ordering activity, the sale is a Schedules sale although in some cases, the ordering activity may indicate exceptions to this. You must have a tracking system and methodology in place that allows you the ability to differentiate between Schedules and non-Schedules sales – correct sales reporting is a contract requirement.
- Price Reductions. The prices negotiated on your Schedule contract will be based on a customer or class of customer with which you currently conduct business. This customer will be known as your Basis of Award. You must maintain your approved Basis of Award discount relationship that has been established in your contract, as a minimum. This means that, with a few exceptions, if you lower your prices to that customer (or class of customer), you are obligated to make the same reduction for your Schedules contract. It does not mean that if you offer additional price breaks for orders under your Schedule contract that identical breaks must be provided to all ordering activities under all circumstances.
- Trade Agreements Act (TAA). The federal government maintains a list of countries with which it has trade agreements. If a country does not have a trade agreement with the United States, then you may not provide these products or services on your GSA Schedules contract. The TAA states that all products purchased by the government must be manufactured or “substantially transformed” in the United States or in one of these listed countries. The TAA pertains to all Schedules contract sales.
- Government Purchase Card. Schedules contractors must accept the government purchase card for all sales up to $3000.