GSA CONTRACTING FAQ's
This GSA Frequently Asked Questions website is a free service
provided by GSA Small Business Assistance located at
Table of Contents
Common GSA Contract Terms
Section 2. General
3. GSA Contract Qualification Questions
4. Pre-GSA Contract Submittal Questions
5. Pre-GSA Contract Award Questions
6. Post-GSA Contract Award Questions
Important Web Links
Section 1. Common GSA
GSA – General Services Administration (for the purpose of this
website GSA is the contract manager for GSA Contracts or US Federal
GSA Schedule – An umbrella group of similar GSA contracts, for
example Schedule 70 includes all information technology contracts.
GSA Solicitation –a GSA solicitation means the same thing as a GSA
schedule. For each offered GSA schedule, there is a solicitation
GSA Advantage or a GSA Advantage upload-GSA Advantage works like
an online shopping cart. When a company is awarded a GSA contract is
required to upload their products or services to GSA Advantage.
GSA Offer-when a company completes a required GSA solicitation and
submits it to the GSA, This is referred to as a GSA offer.
GSA eOffer-when a company completes a required GSA solicitation
and submits it to the GSA in the GSA' s electronic submittal format.
GSA eMod-when a company completes a modification to their GSA
contract and submits it using the GSA' s electronic submittal format.
Open Ratings Report-a customer service survey required by the GSA
to be included their GSA offer. An Open Ratings Report costs $195 to
complete. An Open Ratings Report also requires 8 to 10 customer contacts
including their: name, company name, e-mail address and phone number.
SAM Registration-stands for System for Award Management and
replaces the CCR and ORCA registrations. The SAM registration is
required prior to the submittal of a GSA offer. The SAM registration
requires a Duns number to register. If you do not have a Duns number,
one can be obtained free of charge by calling phone number 1-866-705-5711.
FAR – Federal Acquisition Regulations
IFF - industrial funding fee (currently .75%). This fee is
added to your GSA contract sales and then paid back to the GSA on a
quarterly basis. (This fee works like a sales tax you collect from
federal government customers and then pay back to the GSA)
FPR Letter – also referred to as a final proposal revision letter.
The FPR is a document containing final terms and conditions used to award a
Section 2. General
Who is the GSA? The GSA or General Services Administration
manages federal contracts referred to as GSA contracts.
What is GSA Contracting? GSA contracting pre-approves
vendors to supply products and services to the US Federal Government.
A large percentage of the federal contract dollars are awarded through GSA
contracts. A portion of federal contract dollars to flow through other
vehicles outside of GSA contracting, but it requires a competitive or sole
source type contracting.
Why use GSA Contracting? Once pre-approved with a GSA
contract, it allows a vendor to sell directly to the federal government
without competitive bidding. A GSA contract is set up so that a
purchasing agent can purchase products or services on the spot.
How much time does it take to get a GSA contract award?
There are two phases to a GSA contract award. The first phase involves
developing the draft and preparing the submittal. The timing of the
first phase varies, but for most small companies, it takes an average of
three to four weeks. The second phase is from submittal to GSA
contract award. This phase also varies, but for most small companies,
this phase takes two to four months.
Can I complete a GSA contract on my own? It is possible for
someone to complete a GSA contract application without expert assistance.
Expect a large learning curve and time-consuming process. The GSA contract
award process is bureaucratic and cumbersome. For most small companies the
task of completing a GSA contract without expert assistance is very
difficult. The question becomes, is it worth your time and effort
to go through this complex process, and possibly not getting the GSA
contract awarded. In the end most companies decide to use an outside
expert for the contract award process.
What Important things do I need to consider when selecting someone to
assist GSA contract preparation and GSA offer submittal to get a GSA
contract award? For most small companies price is an important
factor, but it should not be the only factor. Ask what the price
Is it full service from start to award?
Does it include after award services? If so, what services?
How much experience does the company have?
Does the cost include the open ratings report?
What kind of guarantee of the GSA contract award, does the company offer?
For more information about using the GSA services of the company that
owns this website please contact us at:
GSA Contract Qualification Questions
Do I qualify for a GSA contract award? The GSA awards the
contract to the company not an individual and in order to qualify for a GSA
contract award you must have been in business as a company for more than a
What are the financial requirements of obtaining a GSA award?
The GSA requires one to two years of financial data. The GSA has a few
of red flags when evaluating a companies financial strength. One is
having a high amount of liabilities, compared to sales for the company.
Other financial red flags include a company bankruptcy within the last five
years or a lien against the
Pre-GSA Contract Submittal Questions
Generally, what are the requirements of a GSA submittal? The
submittal can be broken into four parts. The first requires that you
complete the SAM
registration. The second part is basic company information, including
contact information mailing address, phone numbers, e-mail, and Web address.
The third part includes contacts for the open ratings report. The
fourth part includes pricing information for products or services offered.
And if Services (hourly rate, rate per service) options are being offered
the GSA requires: labor or service category descriptions; a corporate
experience overview; and example projects showing experience in the area you
are requesting approval.
Are there any GSA requirements specific to a product submittal to
consider? If you are offering products, you have to have experience
selling those products. Also, if you are not a manufacturer of the product,
you must obtain a letter of supply from the manufacturer. A
manufacturer must be TAA (trade agreement act) compliant, meaning you can't supply
products manufactured in countries like China that the United States does
not have a trade agreement with.
Are there any GSA requirements specific to a services (hourly rate)
submittal to consider? If you are selling services or labor rates, you
have to have experience offering those specific labor rates. GSA will
last for verification through invoices or other similar methods.
GSA Contract Questions Before Award
How long does it take before the GSA contracting officer starts
reviewing our submittal? For most GSA submittals, it takes one to
two months for the contract officer to begin review.
Can I expect questions from the GSA contract officer after the
submittal and before the award? It is normal for the GSA contract
officer to have some questions during the review process. Most of the
questions will be asked in written form via a fax or an e-mail. A normal
range is 5 to 10 questions in the first round, with additional some
follow-up questions verbally or in writing.
What is meant by the term negotiations with the GSA contract officer?
A final negotiation call is a term GSA uses to ask for a best and final
offer. In most cases, the GSA will last for additional discounts
during this final conversation. They will also go through terms and
conditions in the final offer.
What is the process in completing a Final Proposal Revision (FPR)
letter? A FPR letter is given in draft form, by the GSA contract
officer and contains the final terms and conditions of a GSA contract award.
The FPR letter is then finalized on company letterhead and signed by a
company representative. Once the FPR is finalized and sent back to the
GSA contract officer the GSA contract is awarded.
When do I receive my GSA Contract number? After the GSA contract
officer has signed off on the FPR through the eOffer system the contractor will notified by email, fax or mailed
copy of the award. Note: When the proposer signs the eOffer the GSA
contract # is immediately assigned on the upper left-hand corner of the Form
How long is my GSA contract number good for? The GSA
contract is awarded for a five year period and can be renewed for 3
additional 5-year periods.
GSA Contract Questions After Award
When do am I required to upload information to GSA Advantage?
You have six months to upload your GSA award information to the GSA
Is uploading GSA contract information something I can do myself?
If you only offered services or a few products the GSA Advantage upload is
straight forward. If you have many hundreds or thousands of products
it becomes very complex and difficult and you may want to hire someone to
What is the IFF and how is paid? GSA vendors are required to
track all GSA sales under their GSA contract. Vendors are required to
charge the IFF rate of 0.75% for all sales under their GSA contract.
Your company makes a GSA sale of $100,000 to the US Air Force.
The total invoice to the US Air Force for this sale would be $100,000 + the
IFF of 0.75% ($750) or $100,750. If this was the only sale for your
company during the quarter, you would pay the $750 back to the GSA through
your Form 72A report. If your sales are $0 for a quarter you are still
required to report that sales were $0, but no IFF payment would be required.
If I need to modify my GSA contract is that something I can do myself?
For most modifications you can work directly with your GSA contract officer
to complete a modification without consulting assistance. You can
either submit your GSA modification to your contract officer in writing or
if available through a GSA eModification.
Am I required to have a minimum amount of sales under my GSA contract?
Vendors are required to have a minimum of $25,000 in sales under their GSA
contract during the first two years of the GSA contract, and $25,000/year
of GSA sales for each year after that.
Do government purchasing agents find me for GSA Sales or do I have to
market my GSA Contract products and/or services to government purchasing
agents? A GSA contract is only the vehicle to easily execute federal
government sales. A vendor must market products or services to federal
government buyers, just like is done in the commercial arena. GSA will
assign an area compliance and marketing representative that will give tips
on how to best market your products/services, including uploading your
product/services information to the federal governments online shopping cart
Section 7. Important
GSA Contract Award Assistance:
General Service Administration or GSA:
GSA Vendor Assistance Center:
GSA Vendor Training:
GSA Schedule E-Library:
GSA eOffer Site:
Small Business Administration or SBA:
Federal Acquisition Regulations or FAR:
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