What is the best way to maximize the potential to obtain these government customers?
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
Your marketing approach should reflect your knowledge of the benefits that schedules offer to buyers. Using schedules significantly reduces acquisition time. A recent study found that it takes a customer an average of 49 days to establish a Blanket Purchase Arrangement (BPA) under a GSA Schedule, 15 days to issue an order under a Schedule contract or 13 days to issue an order under a Schedule contract where a BPA has already been established. This compares to an average of 268 days to put a contract in place by the Federal Government. Other benefits include reductions of acquisition costs, easy payment options, fulfillment of small business goals, wide selection of commercial services and products and no order limitations. Also, buyers may use the Government-wide commercial purchase card when ordering from schedules since schedule holders are required to accept the purchase card under the micro-purchase threshold and are encouraged to accept it for all orders.
GSA contractors have a definite advantage as many government agencies will look to these contractors for help with:
- Consulting Services
- Environmental Services
- Financial Services
- Information Technology
- Language services
- And many more