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First things first, know your schedule contract and its terms. Read it thoroughly. Understand your costs and rates and understand the GSA task ordering process. Understand the benefits to the customer of using a schedule contractor and incorporate these benefits into your marketing language.
Although buyers may receive small business credit, when orders are placed against a GSA Schedule contract, they are considered to be placed using full and open competition. Buyers need not seek further competition, synopsize the requirement, make a separate determination of fair and reasonable pricing, or consider small business programs. By placing an order against a GSA Schedule contract, the buyer has concluded that the order represents the best value and results in the lowest overall cost to meet the government's needs
FedBizOpps.gov is the U.S. Government's one-stop virtual marketplace. Through this single point-of-entry, commercial vendors and government buyers are invited to post, search, monitor, and retrieve opportunities solicited by the entire Federal contracting community.
This site is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and allows vendors to register to receive e-mail notification of opportunities in their areas of interest.
Happily, e-commerce is not the highly-specialized, expensive beast it was ten years ago. With the ubiquity of online shopping these days, just about anyone can easily set up an online storefront and begin selling almost immediately. Online shopping has become a multi-hundred-billion-dollar industry and, with that comes innovation and offerings that provide smaller businesses access to it.
Should I build my own online storefront or use a service?
That depends on a number of things like customer perception, overall cost, ease of use, scalability (will it still be suitable if your business grows) and if there are any limitations to doing one or the other specific to your business.
Nowadays, brick-and-mortar merchants use electronic card readers to enter credit card transactions. These gadgets have a slot to swipe a card, and a numeric keypad to enter the numbers manually in case the swipe doesn't work. They may be stand-alone gadgets connected directly to the credit card network via a phone line, or they may be connected to a computer and work in conjunction with a software package.
Some are even wireless. If you're doing business over the Web, you don't need one of these (regardless of what the people who sell them tell you). What you need is a payment-processing software package. Forget about phoning in orders or using one of those old-fashioned manual card imprinters. The few banks that still allow such transactions are sure to charge a premium rate.
Most banks charge a percentage of each transaction, called a discount rate, and a fixed per-transaction fee. There is often a fixed monthly fee, a monthly minimum order, and a one-time setup fee as well. A payment-processing system, whether hardware- or software-based, is an additional expense, as we shall see.
Fees for merchant accounts are like interest rates on loans - they vary depending on the perceived level of risk to the bank. Users of credit cards may refuse to pay certain charges for a variety of reasons, ranging from returned products to honest errors to fraudulent charges. Banks want to encourage the view of credit cards as a safe and convenient way to buy, so they are generally pretty lenient about allowing buyers to make chargebacks, as they are called.