Fitting GSA Schedules to Companies

"Which GSA Schedule fits my company?" That's usually the first question vendors ask, and it's the million-dollar question. The products and services covered by each of the 53 or so Schedules are listed at Follow the "GSA Schedules" links and review the product/service categories to determine which Schedule would be appropriate for your company. Sometimes it is clear and sometimes it isn't. It will be clear for office supplies or office furniture, but not so clear for training and professional services.

In some cases the lists of products and services covered under the 53 GSA Schedules are ambiguous. Although GSA didn't set out to purposely frustrate companies, the resulting scopes of work for the 53 Schedules are confusing. For example:

Some products and services that might logically be categorized under a particular Schedule fall under a seemingly unrelated Schedule. For instance, if a company wanted to sell rifle scopes to improve a shooter's accuracy, it might need to get on a law enforcement Schedule to sell weapon accessories, and an IT Schedule to sell the software that runs the scope. In other words, assignment of products and services to particular Schedules can be artificial and arbitrary.

GSA couldn't list every type of product and service, so some products and services have to be "read into" the listings. The MOBIS Schedule- Mission Oriented Business Integration Services- is essentially a management consulting contract but a wide range of services are provided under its umbrella.

A particular product or service may be covered by more than one Schedule. Some companies need more than one Schedule to cover their offerings. A company providing software for loan services and mortgage tracking, might need to have two separate Schedules. A large federal contractor may have many schedules, ranging from training, advertising, and human resources to professional engineering services.

Schedule contracts are not available for architectural and engineering services, for construction (unless it is related to installing a product), or for research and development.

GSA created a Consolidated Schedule (00CORP) for companies needing more than one Schedule to cover their offerings. It's a step toward a single GSA Schedule for all products and services, but it falls short in its coverage.

To make matters worse, several years ago procurement policy violations related to GSA Schedules came to light during the Abu Ghraib prison scandal in Iraq. An Army investigation identified employees of a federal contractor as interrogators implicated in the torture and abuse of prisoners. The interrogators were hired under an information technology GSA schedule.

The scandal caused GSA to become extremely sensitive to the "fit" of a company's products and services to a particular Schedule. This has increased the rate of proposal rejections based on scope of work issues (the "fit" of a product or service to a particular Schedule). Small businesses spend considerable amounts of money developing GSA Schedule proposals and a proposal rejection can be a major financial blow.

Answering the question "Which GSA Schedule fits my company?" requires experience and tenacity. The quagmire of GSA Schedule scope of work and red tape issues has spawned an entire industry of GSA Schedule consultants, present company included. Selecting the right Schedule for your company is crucial. If GSA rejects your proposal and you have to start over... let's just say that rewriting a 150 page proposal is not fun.

Once you have identified the right Schedule, read and make sure you understand the solicitation. The terms and conditions the solicitation contains are the rules for contract performance and administration that you will have to follow if you receive a GSA Schedule contract.

Richard White
888-661-4094, Ext. 5809 (office)
301-908-0546 (cell)

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