Multiple Award Schedules (Schedule)

Gov to English translation: In the commercial world getting on schedule would be like getting your products or services listed on Amazon

What is a “Schedule”: There are multiple schedules (the VA has one, the GSA has a few, etc) but the BIG one is the GSA schedule, so if someone says they are “on schedule” they mean GSA.

The Schedule is basically the government’s private Amazon. So it contains hundreds of thousands of products and services, from thousands of vendors along with their prices.

So if the government wants to buy laptops, or janitorial services, and they want to make sure they are getting a fair price from a vetted vendor, they can buy through the Schedule

How long do they last: Schedule contracts typically lasts 20 years BUT you have to sell $25K through the schedule in your first two years, and $25K each year after to stay on schedule

Why you want to be on Schedule: Being on Schedule allows you to:
1) Pursue sales opportunities that go through Schedule: The government publishes “RFPs” that only go out to Schedule members
2) Reduce competition/increase your chances of winning: Typically there are only a few companies on each Schedule reducing your pool of competitors
3) You are the easy button: Once you are on Schedule its faster and easier for the government to buy from you, so the typically will choose Schedule holders over buying from the open market
4) End of year money: At the end of the fiscal year the government spends like drunk sailors, and if its easy to give you money (because you are on Schedule…) then they are more likely to send cash your way
5) Government wide: Every government agency buys through the schedule helping you access new customers

Why you should avoid the Schedule: Being on Schedule is a hassle:
1) It’s expensive to get on: Most people spend ~$20K in time or consultant fees to get on Schedule
2) It can go away: If you don’t hit your sales minimums ($25K/Year) you lose your schedule
3) Most people get nothing: 60% of companies with a Schedule have NOT sold anything through it, so they will lose their schedule contract
4) You don’t have to be on Schedule: Schedule based sales represent a small percentage of all government buying, so you don’t have to be on schedule to get going
5) It locks in your pricing: Once you set your pricing with the GSA you have to be very careful about changing your pricing
6) You can get into real trouble: To get on schedule you have to give the government your “best” price, and if your “Best” price changes you have to tell the GSA and renegotiate your schedule pricing
7) It increases your admin and compliance costs: You have to keep track of your GSA sales and report them each year

How to get onto schedule: To get on schedule you have to convince the government that you are giving them your best price, and to do that you have to show:
1) Receipts from other customers
2) If you gave a customer “teaser” pricing or a volume discount the government may push to get those teaser or volume prices
3) An additional discount. Typically you will have to give the government a discount on top of your best pricing
This is a multi-month process and if you get your application wrong it will add months more to the process

How the government buys through schedule: The purchase process is basically the same as on SAM, the government releases an RFP on the GSA portal, interested companies bid the work, the government chooses a winner.
1) Task orders: The “RFPs” under the schedule are called task orders
2) Market research: The government can issues an RFI/Sources Sought prior to the “RFP.”
3) set-asides: The government can set-the “RFP” aside

Is the schedule right for you: We think that the schedule only makes sense if:
1) You have had stable pricing for a few years
2) You have done your customer research and know that your customer likes to buy your kinds of products and services through the Schedule

Why the government uses the Schedule: By pre-vetting a pool of vendors the government is able to quickly and efficiently buy from those vendors

How they differ from GWACs, BPAs, IDIQs, BOAs: If you’re a new vendor there is none, there are differences, but don’t worry about the name, figure out how your customers are buying your products and services, and then get on those contracts, whether they are BPAs, BOAs, GWACs, or GSA schedule.

But the key differences are:
1) Every government agency uses the Schedule so it is very flexible
2) Purchases through the schedule can be larger than purchases through BPAs and BOAs
3) Because of the rigor to get onto Schedule being on Schedule lends some credibility

Related topics:

WRAP Rates/Billing rates


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