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The General Services Administration (GSA) is responsible for making purchases for the United States government. If you have products to sell, you have a good potential buyer in the government through the GSA. Before acquiring the official contract, however, you need to go through the steps to become an approved GSA vendor. Once these steps are completed, you are on your way to working with the GSA as a new customer to your business–and this customer just happens to be one of the biggest in the world.
Attend one of the GSA-approved conferences. The “Pathway to Success” seminar is provided for vendor training and offers potential vendors a variety of useful information to prepare for becoming a GSA vendor.
Research the competition, within the bounds of the GSA vendor rules. Obviously, there are ethical and unethical means of acquiring information about the competing companies. Pay close attention to the legitimate means of researching the details of the competition, and you will better provide for your own proposal.
Review the information that the GSA provides about drafting what the GSA considers a “quality offer.” Since the GSA recommends all of the information that you need, there is no reason not to consult their resources. The GSA has the goal of removing the mystery from submitting an offer, so take the time to read through their information and apply it to your own situation.
Draft an effective proposal. The GSA stresses that a valid proposal is essential, and this proposal is what will catch the eye of the GSA. The goal is to provide an offer that is low enough to outbid competitors but still high enough to be of useful profit for your business.
Get on the GSA schedule. To do this, you will need to consult the Schedules E-Library site, download the appropriate information, and complete the appropriate solicitation. The proposal itself must be submitted within the GSA schedule, so you will have to take the time to research the schedule and time your proposal with it. Fortunately, the GSA provides ample resources and useful help, so if you have any trouble completing the form or providing the necessary information you can contact the GSA directly–noting the contacts provided within the pages of the solicitation–and acquire the information that you need.
The Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) includes an Express Program that was designed to enable the process of potential GSA vendors, so be sure to look into this program and make use of the resources that are provided.
Kristie Lorette started writing professionally in 1996. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in marketing and multinational business from Florida State University and a Master of Business Administration from Nova Southeastern University. Her work has appeared online at Bill Savings, Money Smart Life and Mortgage Loan.