GSA Schedule
Contracts for Engineering
Services
»Should your firm obtain one?
July 5, 2013
Presented by:
Dave Alexander
(9...
www.LincolnStrategies.com
Topics
Many engineering firms have GSA
Schedule contracts.
These contracts have advantages and
d...
www.LincolnStrategies.com
Topics
Many engineering firms have GSA
Schedule contracts.
These contracts have advantages and
d...
www.LincolnStrategies.com
Topics
Many engineering firms have GSA
Schedule contracts.
These contracts have advantages and
d...
www.LincolnStrategies.com
Contents
4
A. GSA Schedule contracts: the basics
B. Many engineering firms have them
C. Key adva...
www.LincolnStrategies.com
A. What are GSA Schedule contracts?
5
www.LincolnStrategies.com
A. What are GSA Schedule contracts?
6
1. Contract type
2. Relationships
3. Ceilings, length, geo...
www.LincolnStrategies.com
A: What are GSA Schedule contracts?
1. Task order contracts
7
IDIQIndefinite Delivery, Indefinit...
www.LincolnStrategies.com
A: What are GSA Schedule contracts?
1. Task order contracts
The Contract specifies…
 Scope of s...
www.LincolnStrategies.com
A: What are GSA Schedule contracts?
1. Task order contracts
The Contract specifies…
 Scope of s...
www.LincolnStrategies.com
A: What are GSA Schedule contracts?
2. Relationships
10
Example of Federal
Agency Client
GSA
Con...
www.LincolnStrategies.com
A: What are GSA Schedule contracts?
2. Relationships
11
Issue Task Order to GSA Contractor
Perfo...
www.LincolnStrategies.com
A: What are GSA Schedule contracts?
2. Relationships
12
Issue Task Order to GSA Contractor
Perfo...
www.LincolnStrategies.com
A: What are GSA Schedule contracts?
2. Relationships
13
Issue Task Order to GSA Contractor
Perfo...
www.LincolnStrategies.com
A: What are GSA Schedule contracts?
3. Ceilings, time limits, geographic limits
Ceilings?
• No l...
www.LincolnStrategies.com
A: What are GSA Schedule contracts?
3. Ceilings, time limits, geographic limits
Ceilings?
• No l...
www.LincolnStrategies.com
A: What are GSA Schedule contracts?
3. Ceilings, time limits, geographic limits
Ceilings?
• No l...
www.LincolnStrategies.com
A: What are GSA Schedule contracts?
4. Who can use GSA Schedule contracts?
17
All Fed. Gov’t.
Ag...
www.LincolnStrategies.com
A: What are GSA Schedule contracts?
4. Who can use GSA Schedule contracts?
18
All Fed. Gov’t.
Ag...
www.LincolnStrategies.com
A: What are GSA Schedule contracts?
4. Who can use GSA Schedule contracts?
19
All Fed. Gov’t.
Ag...
www.LincolnStrategies.com
A: What are GSA Schedule contracts?
5. Scope
What types of services can engineering firms
provid...
www.LincolnStrategies.com
A: What are GSA Schedule contracts?
5. Scope
21
Wide range of
services…
A few examples:
 Planni...
www.LincolnStrategies.com
A: What are GSA Schedule contracts?
5. Scope
22
…but the Brooks Act
imposes limits for
services ...
www.LincolnStrategies.com
A: What are GSA Schedule contracts?
6. “Schedules” and “SINs”
 There are more than 40 different...
www.LincolnStrategies.com
A: What are GSA Schedule contracts?
6. “Schedules” and “SINs”
Example
24
GSA Schedule 871:
“Prof...
www.LincolnStrategies.com
A: What are GSA Schedule contracts?
6. “Schedules” and “SINs”
Example
25
GSA Schedule 871:
“Prof...
www.LincolnStrategies.com
A: What are GSA Schedule contracts?
6. “Schedules” and “SINs”
Example
26
GSA Schedule 871:
“Prof...
www.LincolnStrategies.com
A: What are GSA Schedule contracts?
7. Which GSA Schedules do engineering
firms typically obtain...
www.LincolnStrategies.com
A: What are GSA Schedule contracts?
7. Which GSA Schedules do engineering
firms typically obtain...
www.LincolnStrategies.com
A: What are GSA Schedule contracts?
7. Which GSA Schedules do engineering
firms typically obtain...
www.LincolnStrategies.com
A: What are GSA Schedule contracts?
7. Which GSA Schedules do engineering
firms typically obtain...
www.LincolnStrategies.com
A: What are GSA Schedule contracts?
7. Which GSA Schedules do engineering
firms typically obtain...
www.LincolnStrategies.com 32
Scope Items (SINs)—examples:
 Civil, Mech., Elec., Chem.
 Full range of engineering life cy...
www.LincolnStrategies.com 33
Scope Items (SINs)—examples:
 Energy management program
support
 Energy audits
 Energy man...
www.LincolnStrategies.com 34
Scope Items (SINs)—examples:
 Planning, acquisition and
management of logistics systems
 Ex...
www.LincolnStrategies.com 35
Scope Items (SINs)—examples:
 Studies, analyses (e.g., NEPA
related)
 Remediation and recla...
www.LincolnStrategies.com 36
Scope Items (SINs)—examples:
 Wide range of management
consulting services
 Facilitation
 ...
www.LincolnStrategies.com
A: What are GSA Schedule contracts?
8. Different than contracts issued by
GSA’s Public Buildings...
www.LincolnStrategies.com
B. Many engineering firms have GSA
Schedule contracts
38
www.LincolnStrategies.com
A few examples
Examples of firms
that hold GSA
Schedule contracts
Selected GSA Schedules
Profess...
www.LincolnStrategies.com
C. Key Advantages and Disadvantages
of GSA Schedule contracts
40
www.LincolnStrategies.com
1. Key Advantages
41
 You will win a contract.
 There is no limit on the number of contracts t...
www.LincolnStrategies.com
1. Key Advantages
42
 The investment is relatively small.
 The RFPs for GSA contracts are a bi...
www.LincolnStrategies.com
1. Key Advantages
43
 A GSA contract can help firms enter
the federal market for the first time...
www.LincolnStrategies.com
1. Key Advantages
44
 GSA contracts can help firms
diversify in the federal market.
 If your f...
www.LincolnStrategies.com
1. Key Advantages
45
 Your GSA Schedule contract can be
broad or narrow: it’s your choice.
 So...
www.LincolnStrategies.com
1. Key Advantages
46
 Small firms are welcome.
 GSA welcomes the participation of small firms....
www.LincolnStrategies.com
1. Key Advantages
47
 The customer base is huge.
 Any federal government department or agency ...
www.LincolnStrategies.com
1. Key Advantages
48
 GSA contracts are preferred by many
federal buyers.
 Many federal buyers...
www.LincolnStrategies.com
2. Key Disadvantages
49
x Certain types of engineering work is
out of bounds.
 As noted earlier...
www.LincolnStrategies.com
2. Key Disadvantages
50
x Administrative and compliance
burdens.
 GSA Schedule contracts impose...
www.LincolnStrategies.com
2. Key Disadvantages
51
x Unique price monitoring
requirements.
 GSA contracts include the “Pri...
www.LincolnStrategies.com
2. Key Disadvantages
52
x No guarantee of sales.
 Many firms sell millions of dollars of work p...
www.LincolnStrategies.com
D. Should your engineering firm obtain
a GSA Schedule contract?
»Suggestions to help you make a ...
www.LincolnStrategies.com
Do not inadvertently use a weak rationale.
54
We need a GSA contract in
order to do work with th...
www.LincolnStrategies.com
Do not inadvertently use a weak rationale.
55
We need a GSA contract in
order to do work with th...
www.LincolnStrategies.com
Do not inadvertently use a weak rationale.
56
We need a GSA contract in
order to do work with th...
www.LincolnStrategies.com
Does your firm have a strong rationale for
obtaining a GSA Schedule contract?
57
 Which of our ...
www.LincolnStrategies.com
D. Should your engineering firm get a
GSA Schedule contract?
»Suggestions to help you make a dec...
www.LincolnStrategies.com 59
As you assess whether obtaining a GSA
Schedule contract makes sense for your
engineering firm...
www.LincolnStrategies.com
Review Statements of Work.
 Review the SOWs of all GSA Schedule contracts that are of
potential...
www.LincolnStrategies.com
Any matches?
 Are there any Special Item Numbers (SINs) that cover the
types of services that a...
www.LincolnStrategies.com
Get a snapshot of sales in the relevant
areas.
 After you find specific SOW areas of potential ...
www.LincolnStrategies.com
Research your competitors’ GSA
Schedule contracts.
 Knowing how your competitors use their GSA ...
www.LincolnStrategies.com
Review key contractual clauses.
 Before you decide whether to pursue a GSA contract, ask
whethe...
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Assess your ability to sell task orders.
 Many firms obtain GSA Schedule contracts and never ma...
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Confer with others.
 Do you have—or can you develop—contacts in other firms
that have GSA Sched...
www.LincolnStrategies.com
Questions, comments?
67
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firms...
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GSA Schedule Contracts for Engineering Firms -- How to Decide Whether to Obtain One

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GSA Schedule contracts can be quite useful for some engineering firms, and less useful --- even counterproductive --- for others.
There are several GSA Schedules that many engineering firms have obtained --- the Professional Engineering Services Schedule; the Facilities Maintenance & Management Schedule; the Environmental Schedule; Logistics Worldwide; and several others.
If you are trying to decide whether to obtain a GSA Schedule contract for your engineering firm, you might find this slideshow to be helpful. It describes the types of engineering services that can be performed under GSA Schedule contracts; presents some pros and cons to consider; and describes some research you can perform right now to help make a decision.

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GSA Schedule Contracts for Engineering Firms -- How to Decide Whether to Obtain One

  1. 1. GSA Schedule Contracts for Engineering Services »Should your firm obtain one? July 5, 2013 Presented by: Dave Alexander (978) 369-1140 ~ da@LincolnStrategies.com www.LincolnStrategies.com © 2013 Lincoln Strategies, LLC
  2. 2. www.LincolnStrategies.com Topics Many engineering firms have GSA Schedule contracts. These contracts have advantages and disadvantages for engineering firms. Would a GSA Schedule contract make sense for your engineering firm? 1
  3. 3. www.LincolnStrategies.com Topics Many engineering firms have GSA Schedule contracts. These contracts have advantages and disadvantages for engineering firms. Would a GSA Schedule contract make sense for your engineering firm? 2
  4. 4. www.LincolnStrategies.com Topics Many engineering firms have GSA Schedule contracts. These contracts have advantages and disadvantages for engineering firms. Would a GSA Schedule contract make sense for your engineering firm? 3
  5. 5. www.LincolnStrategies.com Contents 4 A. GSA Schedule contracts: the basics B. Many engineering firms have them C. Key advantages and disadvantages D. Should your engineering firm get one? Suggestions to help you make a decision
  6. 6. www.LincolnStrategies.com A. What are GSA Schedule contracts? 5
  7. 7. www.LincolnStrategies.com A. What are GSA Schedule contracts? 6 1. Contract type 2. Relationships 3. Ceilings, length, geography 4. Users 5. Scope: what types of engineering services? 6. Schedules and SINs 7. Comparisons to contracts issued by GSA’s Public Buildings Service
  8. 8. www.LincolnStrategies.com A: What are GSA Schedule contracts? 1. Task order contracts 7 IDIQIndefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity
  9. 9. www.LincolnStrategies.com A: What are GSA Schedule contracts? 1. Task order contracts The Contract specifies…  Scope of services.  Labor categories.  Authorized T&M rates by labor category.  Authorized ODCs and rates/prices.  Period (5-20 years).  Price escalation.  Terms and conditions. 8
  10. 10. www.LincolnStrategies.com A: What are GSA Schedule contracts? 1. Task order contracts The Contract specifies…  Scope of services.  Labor categories.  Authorized T&M rates by labor category.  Authorized ODCs and rates/prices.  Period (5-20 years).  Price escalation.  Terms and conditions. Each Task Order specifies…  Services, deliverables, timelines.  T&M rates or fixed price.  Terms and conditions—but cannot supersede terms and conditions in GSA Schedule Contract. 9
  11. 11. www.LincolnStrategies.com A: What are GSA Schedule contracts? 2. Relationships 10 Example of Federal Agency Client GSA Contractor
  12. 12. www.LincolnStrategies.com A: What are GSA Schedule contracts? 2. Relationships 11 Issue Task Order to GSA Contractor Perform services; send invoices Pay invoices (remit to Contractor) Example of Federal Agency Client GSA Contractor
  13. 13. www.LincolnStrategies.com A: What are GSA Schedule contracts? 2. Relationships 12 Issue Task Order to GSA Contractor Perform services; send invoices Pay invoices (remit to Contractor) Example of Federal Agency Client GSA Contractor
  14. 14. www.LincolnStrategies.com A: What are GSA Schedule contracts? 2. Relationships 13 Issue Task Order to GSA Contractor Perform services; send invoices Pay invoices (remit to Contractor) Example of Federal Agency Client GSA Contractor Delegations? Approval of choice of GSA Contractor? Interagency $ transfers?
  15. 15. www.LincolnStrategies.com A: What are GSA Schedule contracts? 3. Ceilings, time limits, geographic limits Ceilings? • No limit on size or number of GSA Task Orders. • No aggregate limits. 14
  16. 16. www.LincolnStrategies.com A: What are GSA Schedule contracts? 3. Ceilings, time limits, geographic limits Ceilings? • No limit on size or number of GSA Task Orders. • No aggregate limits. Time limits? • 5 year Base Period. • 3 successive 5-year Option Periods. 15
  17. 17. www.LincolnStrategies.com A: What are GSA Schedule contracts? 3. Ceilings, time limits, geographic limits Ceilings? • No limit on size or number of GSA Task Orders. • No aggregate limits. Time limits? • 5 year Base Period. • 3 successive 5-year Option Periods. Geographic limits? • Option of contractor. • Domestic, overseas, or both. 16
  18. 18. www.LincolnStrategies.com A: What are GSA Schedule contracts? 4. Who can use GSA Schedule contracts? 17 All Fed. Gov’t. Agencies Civilian, military. All branches: Executive, Legislative, Judicial. Mixed ownership corporations (e.g., Millennium Corp.).
  19. 19. www.LincolnStrategies.com A: What are GSA Schedule contracts? 4. Who can use GSA Schedule contracts? 18 All Fed. Gov’t. Agencies Civilian, military. All branches: Executive, Legislative, Judicial. Mixed ownership corporations (e.g., Millennium Corp.). States, Municipalities Two GSA Schedules (IT and Law Enforcement) are always available to states, municipalities. All other GSA Schedules are available under limited circumstances (e.g., disaster recovery; certain public health missions).
  20. 20. www.LincolnStrategies.com A: What are GSA Schedule contracts? 4. Who can use GSA Schedule contracts? 19 All Fed. Gov’t. Agencies Civilian, military. All branches: Executive, Legislative, Judicial. Mixed ownership corporations (e.g., Millennium Corp.). States, Municipalities Two GSA Schedules (IT and Law Enforcement) are always available to states, municipalities. All other GSA Schedules are available under certain circumstances (e.g., disaster recovery; certain public health missions). Other Entities, under limited conditions, e.g.: International orgs. and others eligible under Section 607 of the Foreign Assistance Act. District of Columbia. Other federal contractors, under cost-reimbursable contracts, and when specifically authorized.
  21. 21. www.LincolnStrategies.com A: What are GSA Schedule contracts? 5. Scope What types of services can engineering firms provide under GSA Schedule contracts? 20
  22. 22. www.LincolnStrategies.com A: What are GSA Schedule contracts? 5. Scope 21 Wide range of services… A few examples:  Planning, requirements analyses  Design, prototyping  Test and evaluation  Integrated logistics support  Construction management  Energy efficiency consulting  Energy audits  Building commissioning  “Smart Building” consulting  Facilities maintenance & management consulting  Environmental studies, remediation  Training
  23. 23. www.LincolnStrategies.com A: What are GSA Schedule contracts? 5. Scope 22 …but the Brooks Act imposes limits for services associated with real property. Brooks Act:  Services covered by the Brooks Act cannot be performed under GSA Schedule contracts.  In brief summary, Brooks Act applies to engineering and architectural services associated with real property that, as defined by State law, if applicable, can only be performed by licensed engineers and architects.  Also covers certain incidental services (e.g., surveying associated with the site of a building).
  24. 24. www.LincolnStrategies.com A: What are GSA Schedule contracts? 6. “Schedules” and “SINs”  There are more than 40 different GSA “Schedules.”  Each Schedule contains a related grouping of goods and services. 23
  25. 25. www.LincolnStrategies.com A: What are GSA Schedule contracts? 6. “Schedules” and “SINs” Example 24 GSA Schedule 871: “Professional Engineering Services” This Schedule covers a wide range of civil, mechanical, electrical, and chemical engineering services.
  26. 26. www.LincolnStrategies.com A: What are GSA Schedule contracts? 6. “Schedules” and “SINs” Example 25 GSA Schedule 871: “Professional Engineering Services” This Schedule covers a wide range of civil, mechanical, electrical, and chemical engineering services. This Schedule’s Scope of Work is broken out into many “Special Item Numbers” (SINs).
  27. 27. www.LincolnStrategies.com A: What are GSA Schedule contracts? 6. “Schedules” and “SINs” Example 26 GSA Schedule 871: “Professional Engineering Services” This Schedule covers a wide range of civil, mechanical, electrical, and chemical engineering services. SIN 871-1: Strategic Planning for Technology Programs/Activities SIN 871-2: Concept Dev.; Requirements Analysis SIN 871-3: System Design, Engineering & Integration SIN 871-4: Test & Evaluation SIN 871-5: Integrated Logistics Support SIN 871-6: Acquisition and Life Cycle Management SIN 871-7: Construction Management (CM)
  28. 28. www.LincolnStrategies.com A: What are GSA Schedule contracts? 7. Which GSA Schedules do engineering firms typically obtain? 27 871: Professional Engineering Services
  29. 29. www.LincolnStrategies.com A: What are GSA Schedule contracts? 7. Which GSA Schedules do engineering firms typically obtain? 28 871: Professional Engineering Services 03FAC: Facilities Maint. & Mgmt. (includes energy consulting)
  30. 30. www.LincolnStrategies.com A: What are GSA Schedule contracts? 7. Which GSA Schedules do engineering firms typically obtain? 29 871: Professional Engineering Services 03FAC: Facilities Maint. & Mngmt. (includes energy) 874-V: Logistics Worldwide (LOGWORLD)
  31. 31. www.LincolnStrategies.com A: What are GSA Schedule contracts? 7. Which GSA Schedules do engineering firms typically obtain? 30 871: Professional Engineering Services 03FAC: Facilities Maint. & Mngmt. (includes energy) 874-V: Logistics Worldwide (LOGWORLD) 899: Environmental Services.
  32. 32. www.LincolnStrategies.com A: What are GSA Schedule contracts? 7. Which GSA Schedules do engineering firms typically obtain? 31 871: Professional Engineering Services 03FAC: Facilities Maint. & Mngmt. (includes energy) 874-V: Logistics Worldwide (LOGWORLD) 899: Environmental Svcs. (Mission Oriented Business Integrated Services) 874: MOBIS
  33. 33. www.LincolnStrategies.com 32 Scope Items (SINs)—examples:  Civil, Mech., Elec., Chem.  Full range of engineering life cycle  Construction management  Building commissioning  Does not include services subject to the Brooks Act GSA Schedule 871: Professional Engineering Services
  34. 34. www.LincolnStrategies.com 33 Scope Items (SINs)—examples:  Energy management program support  Energy audits  Energy management & resource efficiency planning  Water conservation  Building commissioning  Facilities maintenance consulting services  “Smart Buildings” systems integration  Facilities management consulting services GSA Schedule 03FAC: Facilities Maintenance & Management Services
  35. 35. www.LincolnStrategies.com 34 Scope Items (SINs)—examples:  Planning, acquisition and management of logistics systems  Expert advice, assistance, guidance, management related to logistics support  Operational support services  Training GSA Schedule 874-V: Logistics Worldwide (LOGWORLD)
  36. 36. www.LincolnStrategies.com 35 Scope Items (SINs)—examples:  Studies, analyses (e.g., NEPA related)  Remediation and reclamation  Materials and waste recycling and disposal services  Environmental training  GIS services  Advisory services (e.g., hotlines)  Some exclusions (e.g., asbestos; radioactive)GSA Schedule 899: Environmental Services
  37. 37. www.LincolnStrategies.com 36 Scope Items (SINs)—examples:  Wide range of management consulting services  Facilitation  Training  Program & project management  Often used for planning  In some sense, the “oldest” and best known of the GSA Schedule contracts GSA Schedule 874: Mission Oriented Business Integrated Services
  38. 38. www.LincolnStrategies.com A: What are GSA Schedule contracts? 8. Different than contracts issued by GSA’s Public Buildings Service 37 GSA’s Public Buildings Service (PBS Contracts) GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service (GSA Schedule Contracts) Scope • A/E, construction, other services related to buildings. • Many services subject to Brooks Act.  Hundreds of types of services; not limited to real property.  Does not include A/E services subject to Brooks Act (e.g., facility design). Selection Process • Some: SF 330; Qualifications-Based Selection. • Others: Traditional RFPs; variations (e.g., 2- Phase). • Deadlines for responses. • All: RFPs; “Fair & Reasonable” pricing; technical acceptability. • Firms do not compete against each other. • No deadlines (“Evergreen”). # of Awards Varies; both single and multiple awards. Multiple awards (no limit). Contract Term Varies; typically 1-5 years. 5-20 years. Set-Asides Sometimes. Exceedingly rare. Task Order or Definitive Both. Task Order only. Ceilings Almost always. Never.
  39. 39. www.LincolnStrategies.com B. Many engineering firms have GSA Schedule contracts 38
  40. 40. www.LincolnStrategies.com A few examples Examples of firms that hold GSA Schedule contracts Selected GSA Schedules Professional Engineering Services Facilities Maintenance & Management Logistics Worldwide (LOGWORLD) Environmental Services Mission Oriented Business Integrated Services AECOM ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ Arup ■ Carter & Burgess ■ ■ ■ ■ CDM ■ ■ ■ CH2M Hill ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ EMCOR ■ Fluor ■ Jacobs Engineering ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ Stantec ■ TRC Companies ■ Tetra Tech ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ URS ■ ■ ■ ■ Woolpert ■ ■ ■ ■ 39
  41. 41. www.LincolnStrategies.com C. Key Advantages and Disadvantages of GSA Schedule contracts 40
  42. 42. www.LincolnStrategies.com 1. Key Advantages 41  You will win a contract.  There is no limit on the number of contracts that GSA can issue.  Chances are exceedingly high that you will obtain a GSA Schedule contract if you submit a responsive proposal with fair and reasonable pricing.
  43. 43. www.LincolnStrategies.com 1. Key Advantages 42  The investment is relatively small.  The RFPs for GSA contracts are a bit complex, but each step is reasonably easy to take.  There are strict page limits. GSA is not looking for a novel.  Pricing is generally based on fixed hourly rates. The instructions can be hard to understand, but the required analyses are straightforward.
  44. 44. www.LincolnStrategies.com 1. Key Advantages 43  A GSA contract can help firms enter the federal market for the first time.  Obtaining a GSA contract can be an excellent way to enter the federal government market for the first time.  With a few exceptions, GSA RFPs do not require offerors to have any previous government experience.  Specialized accounting systems and approved indirect rates are not required. (Cost-plus contracting is not used.)
  45. 45. www.LincolnStrategies.com 1. Key Advantages 44  GSA contracts can help firms diversify in the federal market.  If your firm is already active in the federal market and you are looking to diversify within it, a GSA Schedule contract can be a useful tool.  Consider a case in which an engineering firm has expertise in Engineering Areas A and B. The firm has a lot of federal government clients for “A;” but all of the firm’s experience in “B” is with private sector clients.  It can be hard for your firm to win a federal contract in Area “B” because of your lack of federal “past performance” for that area.  Your firm can obtain a GSA Schedule contract for Area B even if none of your prior experience in Area B is with federal government clients.
  46. 46. www.LincolnStrategies.com 1. Key Advantages 45  Your GSA Schedule contract can be broad or narrow: it’s your choice.  Some firms find it strategically advantageous to offer only a narrow set of services under their GSA contracts.  Other firms’ GSA contracts include many specialty areas and even hold multiple GSA contracts. For example, AECOM currently holds 8 GSA Schedule contracts.  Firms also can obtain a GSA “Consolidated” Schedule contract: a single contract that includes scope of work areas from two or more GSA Schedules. For example, Michael Baker Jr., Inc., holds such a contract, and it covers Scope of Work items from 5 separate GSA Schedules.
  47. 47. www.LincolnStrategies.com 1. Key Advantages 46  Small firms are welcome.  GSA welcomes the participation of small firms.  The key is to ensure that the proposal demonstrates that the firm can perform a reasonably broad range of services within each Special Item Number (SIN) included in the proposal.
  48. 48. www.LincolnStrategies.com 1. Key Advantages 47  The customer base is huge.  Any federal government department or agency will be able to order services under your GSA contract.  Under some circumstances, State and municipal government can order services directly from firms with GSA contracts—for example for help in recovering from natural disasters: The State of New Jersey will use GSA Schedule contractors to support its response to Superstorm Sandy.
  49. 49. www.LincolnStrategies.com 1. Key Advantages 48  GSA contracts are preferred by many federal buyers.  Many federal buyers prefer to use GSA Schedule contracts, because doing so reduces paperwork burdens compared to most other options.  When using a GSA Schedule contract to “get” to a firm, a potential federal client can obtain several benefits, including: ─ Rapid project startup. ─ No size limits on projects. ─ No middlemen—a federal agency does not have to transfer funding to GSA in order to use a GSA Schedule contract. ─ Full credit towards its socioeconomic contracting goals if the agency issues a task order to a qualifying firm (e.g., a veteran owned small business firm).
  50. 50. www.LincolnStrategies.com 2. Key Disadvantages 49 x Certain types of engineering work is out of bounds.  As noted earlier in this briefing package, architectural and engineering design services associated with real property cannot be performed, because that work is covered by the Brooks Act.  For example, under a GSA Schedule contract a firm can help federal agencies plan how to retrofit buildings for greater energy efficiency, perform construction management tasks during the construction phase, or provide commissioning services for the new systems—but cannot create stamped drawings during the design phase.
  51. 51. www.LincolnStrategies.com 2. Key Disadvantages 50 x Administrative and compliance burdens.  GSA Schedule contracts impose the typical administrative and compliance burdens associated with virtually all federal contracts (e.g., Equal Opportunity reporting requirements).  GSA Schedule contracts also impose unique administration requirements, e.g.: ─ Collection, tracking, and reporting of Industrial Funding Fee. ─ Administration of Economic Price Adjustment clause.
  52. 52. www.LincolnStrategies.com 2. Key Disadvantages 51 x Unique price monitoring requirements.  GSA contracts include the “Price Reductions Clause.”  Under this provision, if a firm offers additional discounts to certain commercial customers, the firm might have to reduce its prices under its GSA contract by a proportionate amount for the time in which the commercial discounts are in place. (Hint: Properly structured, the pricing section of a GSA proposal can help limit the overall impact of the Price Reductions Clause.)
  53. 53. www.LincolnStrategies.com 2. Key Disadvantages 52 x No guarantee of sales.  Many firms sell millions of dollars of work per year under their GSA contracts, but others make few or no sales.  A firm’s success will depend on how much time and effort are devoted to marketing and direct sales.  Note: There is a minimum guarantee in each GSA Schedule contract ($2,500), which generally is paid only if the government cancels the contract due to the contractor’s continued lack of sales.
  54. 54. www.LincolnStrategies.com D. Should your engineering firm obtain a GSA Schedule contract? »Suggestions to help you make a decision. 53
  55. 55. www.LincolnStrategies.com Do not inadvertently use a weak rationale. 54 We need a GSA contract in order to do work with the federal government, right? Incorrect premise. There are many other ways in which an engineering firm can perform work for the federal government, either as a prime contractor or a subcontractor.
  56. 56. www.LincolnStrategies.com Do not inadvertently use a weak rationale. 55 We need a GSA contract in order to do work with the federal government, right? Incorrect premise. There are many other ways in which an engineering firm can perform work for the federal government, either as a prime contractor or a subcontractor. Our competitors have GSA contracts. If it makes sense for them, it probably will make sense for us. “Me too” fallacy. What your competitors do might suggest courses of action that you should consider in light of your firm’s own circumstances. But merely imitating your competitors’ moves is not a good strategy.
  57. 57. www.LincolnStrategies.com Do not inadvertently use a weak rationale. 56 We need a GSA contract in order to do work with the federal government, right? Incorrect premise. There are many other ways in which an engineering firm can perform work for the federal government, either as a prime contractor or a subcontractor. Our competitors have GSA contracts. If it makes sense for them, it probably will make sense for us. “Me too” fallacy. What your competitors do might suggest courses of action that you should consider in light of your firm’s own circumstances. But merely imitating your competitors’ moves is not a good strategy. Let’s get a GSA contract and add it to our quiver. Even if we ultimately do not use it, what’s the harm? Let me count the ways. Re-read the section of this briefing that summarize administration and compliance. Do not take on a GSA Schedule contract if you are not prepared to incur significant burdens.
  58. 58. www.LincolnStrategies.com Does your firm have a strong rationale for obtaining a GSA Schedule contract? 57  Which of our strategic or tactical goals might GSA Schedule Contracts help us achieve?  What are the pros and cons of GSA Schedule contracts for our firm?  On balance, is it likely that the net advantages of GSA Schedule contracts would be large enough to warrant obtaining one for our firm?
  59. 59. www.LincolnStrategies.com D. Should your engineering firm get a GSA Schedule contract? »Suggestions to help you make a decision. 58
  60. 60. www.LincolnStrategies.com 59 As you assess whether obtaining a GSA Schedule contract makes sense for your engineering firm, here is some additional research you can do to help inform your decision-making.
  61. 61. www.LincolnStrategies.com Review Statements of Work.  Review the SOWs of all GSA Schedule contracts that are of potential interest to your firm. Cast a wide net.  You can find them at the “Schedules e-Library” portion of the GSA web site: www.gsaelibrary.gsa.gov  As an alternative, contact the author of this briefing package for a list. da@LincolnStrategies.com 60
  62. 62. www.LincolnStrategies.com Any matches?  Are there any Special Item Numbers (SINs) that cover the types of services that are relevant to your firm’s federal marketing goals? 61
  63. 63. www.LincolnStrategies.com Get a snapshot of sales in the relevant areas.  After you find specific SOW areas of potential interest to your firm, see whether sales in these areas are robust.  The easiest way to examine overall sales in each GSA scope area is to go to the “Schedules Sales Query” (SSQ) portion of GSA’s website: http://ssq.gsa.gov. 62
  64. 64. www.LincolnStrategies.com Research your competitors’ GSA Schedule contracts.  Knowing how your competitors use their GSA contracts can be useful in: – Assessing whether such a contract might be a good fit for your firm. – Sizing up the competition.  For any firm with a GSA contract, the SSQ can tell you how much they’ve sold of each type of service under their GSA contracts.  The USASpending.gov website offers information on individual sales under a firm’s GSA contract (e.g., identifies the customer agency). But there are gaps in the data. 63
  65. 65. www.LincolnStrategies.com Review key contractual clauses.  Before you decide whether to pursue a GSA contract, ask whether your firm could live with the various clauses that will appear in the contract, such as the Price Reductions Clause.  You can find these clauses in GSA RFPs, and documents to which they refer (some clauses are incorporated by reference). 64
  66. 66. www.LincolnStrategies.com Assess your ability to sell task orders.  Many firms obtain GSA Schedule contracts and never make any sales under them.  Does your firm have the ability to sell task orders to federal government agencies? – Relationships, or the ability to develop and nurture them. – Knowledge of how to make task order sales, or the willingness to invest in gaining this knowledge. – Willingness to invest resources in marketing the contract and making direct sales. 65
  67. 67. www.LincolnStrategies.com Confer with others.  Do you have—or can you develop—contacts in other firms that have GSA Schedule contracts?  Confer with consultants, others, with knowledge of GSA Schedule contracts.  Ask contacts in the federal government, e.g.: – Current federal clients under other contract vehicles. Would they use a GSA Schedule contract if you had one? Why or why not? – Prospective federal clients. If a GSA Schedule contract were available, would this significantly improve your odds of selling work to these prospective clients? 66
  68. 68. www.LincolnStrategies.com Questions, comments? 67 Lincoln Strategies provides insightful, practical services to help firms create and sustain competitive advantages in the federal government market. Our clients include high value-added professional services firms and manufacturers. We have helped dozens of engineering firms obtain GSA Schedule contracts, and have done the same for many other types of firms. We also provide market research, strategic planning services, consulting, and proposal support focused on the federal market. For further information or if you have questions, please contact the firm’s Principal, Dave Alexander. Telephone: (978) 369-1140 E-mail: da@LincolnStrategies.com Web: www.LincolnStrategies.com

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