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Day 1 with my new GSA Contract

Congratulations on receiving a GSA contract! We wish you great success in this endeavor. GSA understands that having a new contract can be daunting, so we have outlined the very first steps you’ll need to take. There are three critical elements to achieve success as a new contractor: 1) ensure contract compliance; 2) educate yourself and your colleagues; 3) market the contract. In addition, we’ll share some general hints and tips you probably won’t find elsewhere, as well as some of the more important links you’ll need. Much of this information is repeated elsewhere throughout the VSC site (and often in more detail than here), so be sure to look through the whole site!

Compliance
This early in your contract life cycle, there are only a few steps related to compliance.

  • Most importantly, you need to post a catalog to GSA Advantage!. See the sections on the VSC site that further describe this process.
  • Familiarize yourself with the 72a quarterly reporting site and register your contract there. You’ll return to this site every quarter to report your sales. The report is required within 30 days following the close of each standard calendar quarter and must be submitted even if you do not have sales yet.
  • Check in with your ACO & PCO to determine if anything further is needed.

Education
You must learn the contracting process in order to be successful; take the time to browse the resources available on the VSC site. Just as important, share these resources with your colleagues so everyone is aware of the contract and its unique requirements. Make sure that you follow the steps listed below in order to educate and involve the appropriate personnel.

  • Educate your Sales Department. They need to know the contract exists, who can order from it, pricing details, ordering terms & conditions, etc. If sales personnel are not aware of these elements, your company may unknowingly violate contractual requirements.
  • Get your Marketing Department involved. GSA does not market your contract for you, so seek the help of your own marketing experts to be sure business starts rolling.
  • Ask Accounting. The accounting department may need to set up a tracking system to segregate GSA orders from all other orders. They will want to know about the quarterly reporting requirements as well as things like prompt payment discounts.
  • Review Your Purchasing / Supplier Diversity. Are you a Large Business with a Small Business Subcontracting Plan? If so, you’ll be required to track subcontracting costs and subcontractor business type/size (requirements vary based on subcontracting plan type). Thus, your purchasing department will want to know what costs need to be tracked and will want to start “funneling” as many subcontracts to Small Businesses as possible. Small Businesses are exempt from this requirement.
  • Educational Resources

Marketing
One of the most common questions new contractors have is how to market their new contract. GSA provides three sites that help with marketing.

  • GSA Advantage! - This is where agencies come to find potential sources. This is your greatest source of free marketing available for free through GSA; therefore, you must keep your information current on this site. Having a catalog listed on GSA Advantage! is also a contractual obligation.
  • GSA Advantage! eBuy - eBuy is an on-line RFQ tool that agencies use to submit RFQs to GSA contractors. It is only available once your catalog is approved and uploaded to GSA Advantage!. You should review eBuy regularly for opportunities.
  • Vendor Support Center (VSC) - The Marketing Section on the VSC Site provides various resources and information regarding market research, exposure and bidding.

Though these sites help with the marketing aspect of your contract, your individual marketing efforts are a key to your marketing success. Think of what goes into marketing your commercial business and use similar methods. What types of customer agencies would be interested in your products or services? Can you only work locally? Are you a Small Business? These are just a few things to consider when creating a marketing plan. Here are a few other resources to consider and review:

Tips

  • Having trouble entering your contract number into systems and sites? Try removing the dashes. None of our sites require or accept the dashes. So why do we include them in the contract number? It’s a long story...
  • Are you looking for a copy of your contract or "welcome package?" We no longer send paper copies of contracts or welcome packages. All the necessary award information can be found in eOffer. The company official that submitted the proposal through eOffer can access those documents online.
  • For those that utilize third-party consultants to help administer their contract, it would benefit you to be aware, keep in touch, stay involved, and familiarize yourself with their activities. You never know when your situation will change, so do not get caught without the knowledge necessary to take over administration from your consultant. Furthermore, some activities are typically not performed by consultants; for example, sales tracking and invoicing. In addition, if a consultant is no longer in your service, it is important you update your contact information with your PCO, ACO, and appropriate websites, otherwise you may miss valuable opportunities and information.
  • When registering at sites, consider using a general company email address (contracts@companyname.com) instead of an individual's address. It can be distributed to numerous people and minimizes the need to involve help desks when changing contract personnel. (This also keeps you in touch when someone goes on vacation!)
  • Create a database or record of systems, procedural steps, log-in information, etc. to ease transition from one person to the next, or in the case of personnel turnover.
  • Market, market, market! Do not sit idle, waiting for orders to come to you! It doesn’t work that way with commercial business, and it doesn’t work that way with government orders either. You must market your contract to be noticed!
  • Keep your GSA Advantage! catalog up-to-date. At the very least, occasionally use SIP to confirm your content is still current. If left idle for two years or more, your catalog will automatically be removed from GSA Advantage! and you will no longer have access to GSA eBuy.
  • Anticipate your own needs, as well as those of customers. You will be disappointed if you wait until the last minute to submit modifications, such as a price adjustment or adding an item to your contract in order to receive an order. Such modifications are not usually a fast process; anticipate the need for them and submit them early.

Helpful Links & Resources:

  • Need to change your company information? - Learn how/where to update your company’s contact information
  • Submitting modifications - Everything related to modifications
  • What is a GSA sale? - Learn how to differentiate a GSA sale from any other sale
  • When is a GSA sale considered reportable? - Learn about the different GSA sales reporting options (invoice, payment, etc)
  • Who is responsible for what? - The difference between your PCO, ACO, and IOA
  • Commonly used acronyms - Various government contracting and GSA acronyms/abbreviations
  • GSA Interact - Connect, communicate, learn, and engage across various GSA topics
  • 72a System - Submit quarterly GSA contract sales reports here and be sure to read the FAQs
  • Vendor Support Center - A website that is dedicated to you, contractors, and provides essential information that you will need to be successful
  • GSA eLibrary - Lists all GSA contracts as well as links to GSA Advantage! offerings and provides additional information for each contract
  • eOffer/eMod - The website used for submitting modifications to an existing contract or a proposal for a new GSA contract
  • ADM 4800.2H - Who Can Order Through GSA Schedules?
  • Cooperative Purchasing - A program allowing State and Local entities to utilize your GSA contract at any time, for any purpose (limited to certain schedules)
  • Disaster Purchasing - A program allowing state and local entities to utilize your GSA Schedule contract for disaster preparation or response or recovery from major disasters.
  • 1122 Program - A program allowing State and Local law enforcement and emergency responders the ability to buy certain items from GSA contracts
  • Public Health Emergencies Program - A program allowing state, local, tribal and territorial governments can now benefit from the speed, savings, and ease of use of the Federal Supply Schedules during a declared public health emergency
  • Contractor Teaming Arrangements - A helpful guide to Contractor Teaming Arrangements and how they differ from subcontracting