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Is a GSA Schedule Contract a Cookie Cutter Approach to Federal Marketing?

Most people I talk with would like a cookie cutter path to getting into federal contracting. Unfortunately, firms vary by industry, capabilities, and geographic location. As a result, there is not a set “cookie cutter” path for any firm in the federal space, but the closest thing we have for many firms is a GSA Schedule Contract.    


GSA Schedule Cookie Cutter Advantages for Small Businesses:

  1. Federal buyers can purchase directly from GSA Schedules without additional price justification.
  2. Federal buyers use GSA Schedules for market research.
  3. GSA Schedules limit competition from hundreds of thousands of firms to twelve thousand.


GSA Schedule Holders (Small Business) – 12,000

Non-GSA Schedule Holders (Small Business – 330,000


GSA Schedule holders are pre-vetted, saving federal buyers the time it takes to call references.

GSA Schedules can contain better solutions than the contracting officer imagined through GSA Hallways which shares solutions amongst federal buyers. 


These advantages translate into an approximate fourfold increase in sales for GSA Schedule Holders in the federal contracting space compared to their counterparts.


Small Bus. Type – Federal Sales - # of Firms – Avg. Sales – Market Share

GSA Schedule Holders - $15 Billion – 12,000 - $1 Million – 40.4%

Non-GSA Schedule Holders - $90 Billion – 330,000 - $272,000 – 20.3%



How a GSA Schedule is non-cookie cutter:

  1. GSA Schedule Holders can offer unique products or services. An example could be a new tool or piece of computer hardware that only your firm makes.
  2. GSA Schedules are often the first step to obtaining positions on large Government Wide-Acquisitions Contracts (GWAC), or Agency Specific Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity Contracts (IDIQ).
  3. GSA eBuy allows for federal buyers to put RFPs out to see if GSA Schedule Holders are interested in bidding.
  4. GSA Schedule holders can add new and additional products to their schedule through the GSA Modification process.


Therefore, there are some cookie cutter and non-cookie cutter elements to GSA Schedules. This provides a standardized framework that makes the system usable to federal buyers while also allowing flexibility which gives a firm some level of differentiation in the process.


If you need assistance vetting GSA Schedule for your firm, I always recommending contacting an industry expert such as Advance GSA. They do not charge for an initial consultation.


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