Here’s how to decide whether a GSA Schedule is right for you

As a business person pursuing government contracts, you may have heard about the benefits of having a GSA Schedule.  But you may not know what a Schedule contract involves — or whether it’s worth your while to pursue one.  This article presents you with the facts about a GSA Schedule, how to qualify, and the decisions you need to make.

 

Consider the Facts

Here are some facts to help make an informed decision.

First of all, “GSA” stands for the General Services Administration, a federal agency which awards, each year, about $50 billion in blanket contracts (known as “Schedules”) to hundreds of companies.  Eighty percent (80%) of Schedule contractors are small businesses who are successful at winning 36% of those sales.

The process to win a GSA Schedule contract begins with your preparation of a proposal.  This is a demanding task that can take several months to prepare.  Many businesses choose to hire a consultant to prepare their proposal, even though proposal preparation is actually something that just about anyone can do — if you are willing and able to follow detailed proposal preparation instructions.

Qualifying for a Schedule

Not every business qualifies for a GSA Schedule, so before preparing a proposal, you first should determine your eligibility. Here are the major requirements:

  • Your company must have at least two years’ experience in successful sale of the products and/or services you offer.
  • Your company and its corporate officers must have a satisfactory record of integrity and business ethics.
  • You must make sure all your NAICS codes are accurate and reflect the type of services that you plan to offer on your GSA Schedule.
  • Your registration in the System for Award Management (SAM) must be active and up-to-date.
  • You must be willing to obtain a “digital certificate” (at a cost of about $119) so that GSA can authenticate your electronic signature and allow you to upload and access your proposal documents.
  • Your company must have adequate financial resources to perform a federal contract, or you must have the ability to obtain them.
Your Options

If you meet the requirements listed above, then it’s appropriate to chart a course of action.  Here are some things to consider:

  • If you decide to hire a consultant to help you navigate the proposal process, please proceed with caution.  You should be aware of the fact that no consultant can do 100 percent of the work for you.  In fact, it’s desirable that someone from your company actively participates in the GSA Schedule proposal process.  Your company representative will need to compile a lot of information to be included in the proposal and also needs to carve-out enough time to learn the process, develop a relationship with GSA’s contracting officials, and make strategic decisions about how and to which government agencies the eventual contract will be marketed.  A consultant can play a valuable role but, before hiring one, make sure you investigate their experience, ask about their track-record, and have a clear understanding of exactly what they will do for you and at what price.
  • Attending a GSA training session can help you better understand the GSA Schedule process.  The Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC) regularly offers a free webinar entitled “Understanding the GSA Schedule Process.”  Visit GTPAC’s training calendar at http://gtpac.ecenterdirect.com/Conferences.action to register for the next session.  GTPAC also has compiled a group of resources for companies seeking help with the Schedule process.  You can find these resources at: http://gtpac.org/gsa-schedule-resources.

Feel free to discuss your GSA Schedule needs and options with any GTPAC Counselor.  You can find our contact information at: http://gtpac.org/team-directory.

 

Here are the Georgia companies who won federal contracts in 2014

Ever wonder who’s winning federal contracts in Georgia?

Wouldn’t this information be helpful if you are looking for subcontracting prospects?  Or when you’re trying to figure out who your competitors are?  Or when considering who might be a good partner on an upcoming bid proposal?

Federal Contract Award Winners in GeorgiaEach month, the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC) compiles and publishes a list of federal contracts awarded to Georgia businesses.  The list comes complete with point-of-contact information on the awardees, the name of the awarding agency, the dollar value of the contract, and much more.

Download details on the award winners for December 2014 right here: FEDERAL CONTRACT AWARDS IN GEORGIA – DEC. 2014

A month-by-month breakdown of winners of federal contracts throughout 2014 may be found at the links below:

For information on Georgia businesses who won federal contracts in 2013, click here.

Faulty joint venture results in disqualifying affiliation

An 8(a) program protege was deemed affiliated with its mentor–and ineligible for a small business set-aside contract–because the joint venture agreement between the mentor and protege failed to comply with certain mandatory 8(a) joint venture requirements.

In a recent decision, the SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals concluded that an 8(a) mentor-protege joint venture was not entitled to take advantage of the special exception from affiliation because of the flaws in its joint venture agreement.  OHA’s decision is an important reminder to 8(a) mentors and proteges of the critical importance of strictly complying with the 8(a) joint venture regulation.

OHA’s decision in Kisan-Pike, A Joint Venture, SBA No. SIZ-5618 (2014) involved an Army Corps of Engineers solicitation for the design and construction of an Army Reserve Center.  The solicitation was issued as a small business set-aside.

Kisan-Pike, A Joint Venture, submitted a proposal.  Kisan-Pike was a joint venture between Kisan Engineering Company, P.C., an 8(a) program participant, and its large business mentor, The Pike Company, Inc.  Kisan and Pike had an active, approved 8(a) mentor-protege agreement at the time that Kisan-Pike submitted its proposal.  Kisan-Pike self certified as a small business based on the special exception from affiliation available to 8(a) mentor-protege joint ventures.

Keep reading this article at: http://smallgovcon.com/sbaohadecisions/8a-mentor-protege-jvs-faulty-jv-agreement-results-in-affiliation

Proposal in government mail room was still ‘late’

Even if a proposal arrives in a government mailroom by the submittal deadline, the proposal is nevertheless “late” if it does not reach the location specified in the solicitation by the designated time.

In a recent bid protest decision, the GAO reaffirmed long-standing precedent that “receipt of a bid or proposal at a mailroom or other receiving area does not constitute receipt at the location specified in the RFP, provided the agency has established reasonable procedures to ensure that mailed bids or proposals are routed from the mailroom to the location designated in a solicitation for receipt.”

In Brian X. Scott, B-410195 (Nov. 7, 2014), the Military Sealift Command issued a request for proposals for a series of voyages to perform reapply deliveries to islands off the coast of California. The RFP stated that proposals were to be delivered to MSC offices at the Washington Navy Yard by 2:00 p.m. on July 30.

The RFP advised offerors that access to the Navy Yard was restricted.  Accordingly,  “Offerors, couriers, and other delivery services may encounter unpredictable and lengthy delays or denied access when attempting to enter that facility. Similarly, mailed and emailed proposals may encounter unpredictable and lengthy routing delays. In all cases, offerors are responsible for the risks associated with the chosen delivery method and for ensuring that the Government receives the complete proposal at the appropriate designated location prior to the due date and time for proposal submission.”

Keep reading this article at: http://smallgovcon.com/gaobidprotests/proposal-in-government-mailroom-was-still-late/

 

Here are the Georgia companies who won federal contracts in November 2014

Ever wonder who’s winning federal contracts in Georgia?

Wouldn’t this information be helpful if you are looking for subcontracting prospects?  Or when you’re trying to figure out who your competitors are?  Or when considering who might be a good partner on an upcoming bid proposal?

Federal Contract Award Winners in GeorgiaEach month, the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC) publishes a list of federal contracts awarded to Georgia businesses.  The list comes complete with point-of-contact information on the awardees, the name of the awarding agency, the dollar value of the contract, and much more.

Download details on the award winners for November 2014 right here: FEDERAL CONTRACT AWARDS IN GEORGIA – NOV. 2014

Winners of federal contracts earlier this year may be found at the links below:

For information on Georgia businesses who won federal contracts in 2013, click here.

Extreme weather doesn’t excuse a late proposal

With winter weather descending on much of the country, it is all the more important for contractors to ensure that their proposals are submitted with time to spare.

In a recent bid protest decision, the Court of Federal Claims held that extreme weather at an offeror’s location did not excuse the offeror’s failure to deliver a timely proposal because there was no interruption of “normal government processes” at the government location designated to receive proposals.

The Court’s decision in Global Military Marketing, Inc. v. The United States, No. 14-622C (Sept. 29, 2014), involved a DeCA solicitation for the supply of fresh pork products. The solicitation instructed that proposals deemed untimely would not be considered and that “[d]elays caused by commercial means such as airlines, express carriers such as Federal Express, United Parcel Service, etc or municipal difficulties such as black-outs, are not excusable.” Offerors were expressly instructed to “[e]nsure enough time is allowed for the proposal to arrive on time.”After a series of amendments, the proposal deadline was extended to April 30, 2014, at 3:00 p.m.

Global tendered its proposal to Federal Express on April 29, 2014. However, “extreme weather” hit Pensacola, Florida involving “intense rain of over 20 inches in 24 hours, widespread and damaging floods destroyed numerous major roads and bridges in the area.”  This extreme weather caused severe “damage to infrastructure and residential and commercial buildings, and temporary closure of the Pensacola International Airport.”

Keep reading this article at: http://smallgovcon.com/u-s-court-of-federal-claims/extreme-weather-didnt-excuse-late-proposal/

Army seeks sources for advertising contract, to hold industry day

Army contracting officials are seeking responses to a sources sought synopsis for evaluation of capabilities by advertising and marketing agencies to provide a full range of advertising services for the Army.  In addition, an industry day forum is planned for Dec. 3, 2014, in San Antonio, TX.

Officials from the Mission and Installation Contracting Command posted a sources sought synopsis for Solicitation W9124J-15-R-0001 on Nov. 4 on the Federal Business Opportunities website seeking responses from interested large and small business representatives through Dec. 19.  This may be viewed at: https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&tab=core&id=e1981aa070b37a75c069f6fbe3ac07f2&_cview=0

In conjunction with the sources sought period, contracting officials are holding an industry day forum for the Army advertising and marketing program Dec. 3 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Fort Sam Houston Golf Course located at 1050 Harry Wurzbach Road in San Antonio. The forum serves as a market research tool for assessing capabilities and provides an opportunity for interested industry representatives to network, according to LaTischa Castro, a contracting officer with the MICC-Fort Sam Houston contracting office.  Registration instructions for the industry day appear at: http://usarmy.vo.llnwd.net/e2/c/images/2014/11/13/372014/original.jpg

The industry day forum will allow industry partners a chance to meet with MICC contracting professionals during one-on-one sessions as well as learn about the Army Marketing and Research Group mission. AMRG is a field operating agency of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Manpower and Reserve Affairs in Alexandria, Virginia.

MICC officials plan to award a contract to a full-service advertising agency by March 2016. Those services include planning, designing, creating, producing, placing and executing marketing, special events and advertising campaigns.

All inquiries regarding the market research for this contract should be directed to the MICC via email at usarmy.jbsa.acc-micc.mbx.micc-fsh-amp@mail.mil or by calling (210) 466-2147.

Add these federal IT influencers to your call list

Technology leaders Steve VanRoekel and Todd Park have left the White House, but an important structure they helped devise and set in place remains.

usds logoThe U.S. Digital Service headed by Mikey Dickerson, leader of the well-documented HealthCare.gov turnaround, is the latest attempt to tackle perennial problems of over-budget, late, and under-functioning government IT projects. A sister effort, the Defense Department’s Better Buying Power 3.0, shares those aims, but with an acquisition process oriented approach.

VanRoekel’s Digital Government Strategy called for a group like Digital Service a couple of years ago, but HealthCare.gov has given USDS the strategic purpose of helping other government agencies get up to speed on how to develop and deploy digital services the way Silicon Valley does. Its advent should be no surprise; besides, the idea is not even original to the United States.

My advice to vendors regarding the U.S. Digital Services office is to understand it and make sure its couple dozen members understand the domains where your technology offers the best value.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.bizjournals.com/washington/blog/fedbiz_daily/2014/10/add-these-federal-it-influencers-to-your-call-list.html?page=all

Here are the Georgia companies who won federal contracts in October 2014

Ever wonder who’s winning federal contracts in Georgia?

Wouldn’t this information be helpful if you are looking for subcontracting prospects?  Or when you’re trying to figure out who your competitors are?  Or when considering who might be a good partner on an upcoming bid proposal?

Federal Contract Award Winners in GeorgiaEach month, the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC) publishes a list of federal contracts awarded to Georgia businesses.  The list comes complete with point-of-contact information on the awardees, the name of the awarding agency, the dollar value of the contract, and much more.

Download details on the award winners for October 2014 right here: FEDERAL CONTRACT AWARDS IN GEORGIA – OCT. 2014

Winners of federal contracts earlier this year may be found at the links below:

For information on Georgia businesses who won federal contracts in 2013, click here.

A cautionary tale: Claims must be submitted to the CO first

As a contractor on a federal project, how often do you interact with the agency’s contracting officer?

Given the state of today’s understaffed acquisition workforce, the answer is probably not very often, if at all. Instead, you more often find yourself dealing with a varied cast of characters during contract performance – including CORs, COTRs, and resident engineers. While these government representatives can act with the authority of the CO under many circumstances, there are certain times when only the CO will do.

One example of a communication that must go directly to the CO is a written claim for time or money under the Contract Disputes Act.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.mondaq.com/article.asp?articleid=343048