Summer Slow Down

As we pass Memorial Day, the unofficial start to summer, it’s helpful to remember that your GSA Contracting Officer (CO) will most likely have a vacation coming up, just like you.

If you know that an important RFP release is imminent, which will require modifications to your Schedule, we strongly suggest you begin working on the mod requirements now. Time-sensitive changes can bring showers of stress to your lazy summer days, especially if you find out that your CO has just left for a three-week vacation/training on the day you submit. To ensure smooth sailing, give your CO a heads-up about the upcoming mods in advance; ask the CO when s/he expects to be out and how you can avoid lengthy delays of a modification.

Being pro-active now can save you the pain of a lightning strike in mid-July! If you need help with a modification or have further questions, contact your EZGSA proposal specialist at 301-913-5000 or email us today.

Ch Ch Ch Changes … to the GSA Schedules

GSA is preparing to release a round of Schedule refreshes next month, so prepare for a bunch of mass modifications. And if you are in the midst of completing your GSA Schedule proposal, either submit now or expect to review the entire solicitation again come April.

New policies represented in the GSA Schedules will include small business subcontracting changes, updates to those entities that can access the Schedules for purchases, SCA adjustments, and modifications in the Disaster Purchasing Program. For instance, the Red Cross and other qualified organizations will have access to the Schedules during emergency preparedness and disaster relief. Additionally, the following specifics may be of interest to our clients:

  • Subcontracting plans for ‘other-than-small’ businesses will now be at the CO’s discretion. For all intents and purposes, however, these will still have to be submitted with your proposal.
  • The Pathways to Success training has been removed as a requirement for streamlined offers.
  • Montenegro and New Zealand are now TAA compliant countries.
  • Federal contractors now receive paid sick leave.

If you have any questions about how these changes will affect your Schedule contract, feel free to give us a call at 301-913-5000. We look forward to assisting you with this new round of changes.

Pricing Your Pricing in Your Proposal

Pricing can be the biggest stumbling block for businesses applying for GSA schedule contracts. The notion that the government expects the absolute lowest price in the world, plus the fear of triggering the Price Reduction Clause, lead some to conclude that it’s just not worth the hassle and risk for such low margins.

It is tempting to automatically set your price as low as possible, especially when selling products. Here are three pieces of information that may cause you to reconsider how to structure your GSA Schedule pricing proposal.

Similar Terms, Quantities, and Conditions

The misunderstanding out there is that you need to give GSA the lowest price you’ve given anyone. The truth is that you need to give GSA the lowest price you’ve given to anyone with similar terms, quantities, and conditions.

This is a big difference. Let’s imagine that you give your distributer a 40 percent discount, but only on purchases over $250,000; this distributer takes the risk holding high volumes of your product, promotes and sells your product, represents your brand, and has their cousin Jeff drive down to the warehouse monthly to save on shipping. The government may want that 40 percent discount, but because the terms, conditions, and quantities are not similar, should they actually get it?

If you can establish that the federal government is more similar to a customer that gets a lower discount, you may be able to establish a higher GSA ceiling price.

GSA is going to negotiate during your proposal process

Before your Final Proposal Revisions are signed, your GSA Contracting Officer is going to negotiate. A CO may take the stance that your items are too expensive, no matter how slim the margins. Your company can do better.

COs are required to push that discount rate as high as possible so they can get the best deal for the government, and ergo the taxpayer. S/he will most likely push back on your proffered discount rates. If these rates are already at your limit, you may not be able to successfully negotiate during the proposal process.

Purchasing agencies are required to ask for additional discounts

Your GSA price is a ceiling price, meaning you can’t charge the government a higher rate. But you can always go lower.

“The GSA Schedule CO determines the prices of supplies and fixed-price services, and rates for services offered at hourly rates, to be fair and reasonable prior to contract award. However, ordering activities are always encouraged – and, in some cases, required – to seek additional discounts (i.e., price reductions) prior to award of Schedule orders and Blanket Purchase Agreements (BPAs).”

In order to be competitive, it may behoove you to keep prices high. You may then have room to discount individual orders from agencies.