Rule You Can Break: The GSA Schedule


If you want to sell to the federal government, you’ve got to first be on the GSA (General Services Administration) schedule…true or false?

Most would say “true”.  Most would be wrong. 

Not that there’s anything wrong with being on the GSA schedule; it’s just not required to make government sales and win government contracts.  This is a good thing.  Getting listed on the GSA contract schedule is time-consuming and expensive.

Now, don’t get us wrong.  To be successful, you’ve got to figure out how to make it as easy as possible for federal customers to buy from you.  Being on the GSA schedule certainly is one approach.  But, there are other buying schedules that work just as well…some of them better, depending on what you’re selling.  (Many state and local governments don’t use the GSA schedule.)

There is another route – partnering with someone who’s already on the GSA schedule (or another appropriate contract).  You won’t get off scott-free.  You’ll likely pay the partner a portion of the sale.  And, you’ll still need to follow the rules of the contract and the FAR (Federal Acquisition Regulation). 

Yes, plan on getting on the right contracts…but, don’t consider getting on GSA or other contracts as your federal contracting strategy.  You won’t make these arrangements, then see orders magically come in.  You’ve still got to make your value propositions to the right people at the right time.  The contracts should be only one element of the strategy.

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4 comments on “Rule You Can Break: The GSA Schedule

  1. I just read your article and found it to be very helpful, especially since I’m involved in the early stages of due diligence needed to get my company onto a GSA schedule, most likely Schedule 66. SIN’s TBD.

    One of my key concerns at this writing is the time line expected to get onto a GSA schedule, ~3-6 months and perhaps more or less. I need to speak to someone regarding the best approach, i.e. solo or via a company such as Galian Solutions?

    Who do you recommend for follow-up?

    Thanks. Peter

    • Judy Bradt says:

      Get help, unless you’re a longtime contracting genius and a proposal pro and know gsa really well. (Do you do your own taxes? Write your own will?). Esp if you are concerned about the time it takes, you want to get this right, and a professional firm with experience in your industry and with the schedule you need, will get you access to this important contract vehicle sooner.

      Always ask for references among clients on the schedule you want to get on.

      • Judy, thanks for your helpful advice. Is there a listing available on-line showing firms that have direct experience in my industry – Laboratory Science Products, GSA Schedule 66?

        Peter

  2. […] 2.  Rule You Can Break:  The GSA Schedule Many believe being on the GSA is the only way to do business with the Federal government.  We provide an alternative view. […]

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