EIS Schedules (tele)Coming to America

GSA Asks for Industry Help Transitioning to EIS Contracts

GSA is moving small agencies and Native American tribes that hold telecommunications Networx and WITS 3 contracts to Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions(EIS) contracts. Officials expect a May 2020 completion date for the transition.

GSA asked industry for input on how to transition these 36 entities to the new plans.

If groups do not have the resources to transition, they can ask GSA to do most of the heavy lifting. However, groups that use this service must reimburse GSA through contract fees.

For more information, read the RFI.

Disaster Response for Contractors

As a contractor to the US government, what should be our response to disasters? How can we help? We see pictures of the devastation, and it seems very far away. There is a hurricane approaching the coast of Florida. Baton Rouge needs rebuilding. Fires in California have been burning for weeks.

Helping as a contractor is simple: continue offering your products and services; specifically, reach out to state and local governments in regions that need assistance.

The federal government extends GSA pricing to state and local governments during times of emergency recovery. GSA Schedules offer the lowest rates and the least hassle for many  government entities in crisis. By buying through GSA, communities are able to recover sooner and with less expense. When there are serious emergencies, you don’t have to do something extraordinary. Simply being available and offering your business expertise may be the best thing you can do.  

There are certain indicators that we plan on: agency forecasts and contract cycles. But we should also be aware that every year there tragedies happen. Expected, yet unpredictable. These events can  motivate you to help rebuild the lives of others. Offering your products and services through the GSA to areas in need is a great way for you to help immediately.

Dealing with Financials—what are Contracting Officers looking for, exactly?

I’ve heard said that more than 80% of companies who apply for a GSA Schedule contract on their own get rejected on their first attempt.. When applying for their own GSA contract, many applicants do not have a full grasp of their Contracting Officer’s expectations. While not arbitrary, Contracting Officers’ expectations can be individualized and specific. If the applicant doesn’t know what a Contracting Officer wants, it can be very difficult to win them over.  Following the letter of the solicitation of not enough. You have to make a clear case that you are qualified and equipped to deliver whatever will be asked of you.

One place where these expectations may be less than clear is with company financials. There some are clear requirements, like having $250,000 annual revenue or 2 years of financial history*. If you don’t meet these standards, it might not yet be time for you to go after a GSA schedule contract. But even if you do, the point isn’t to go down a checklist that says you’ve met the minimum standards. Depending on your particular solicitation, you will be asked to provide financials from the past one to three years. The minimum guideline was put in place because without a history, the Contracting Officer (CO) may be unable to determine the state of your business. It is essential to give GSA all necessary information so that your CO will feel confident in your company.

Confidence comes with a clear overall picture of the applicant’s financial stability. This implies that the company could well be around for the next 5-20 years to fulfill an awarded GSA Schedule contract. It also shows the CO that the company has the ability to handle the exactitude of government accounting practices, including demonstration of a healthy profit, compared to your income. GSA doesn’t need a fully expanded financial statement, but the Contracting Officer would like to see some specifics of your Profit and Loss (P&L) statement, such as the various lines of income and major expense categories like employee costs, professional and legal fees, rent, etc.

Financials that would concern a CO show a negative P&L and unclear balance statements. Overloaded expense in some minor categories, such as phone, cars, or travel, may also raise a red flag.

If you are currently putting together a contract proposal, be sure that the picture you are creating is complete and accurate; not just in a way that says you met the minimum requirements, but in a way that says your business is responsible and ready to expand into the federal market.

For more information, contact Ivan Wohner at iwohner@ezgsa.com or 301-913-5000.

*There are examples of these requirements being waived by GSA in very specific instances.