When government clients need to purchase supplies and services for their agencies, they consult the GSA Schedules. GSA is an acronym for General Services Administration.
The mission of the GSA is to ensure that the government is transparent and effective as they serve the American people. In order to efficiently manage the manner in which agencies spend money, they maintain GSA Schedules.
GSA Schedules are a collection of pre-negotiated government contracts with businesses. The terms of the contracts and prices of goods and services are determined before any purchase is made. These contracts ensure that the prices are fair and reasonable.
GSA Schedule contracts last for five-year terms. With each contract, there is an option to renew for three additional five-year terms.
Within the GSA Schedules, goods and services are distinguished by numbers. Items are grouped into categories. Some of the categories include furniture, medical equipment, language services, temporary staffing services and transportation.
In order for vendors to be included in the GSA Schedules, they have to complete an application. The application approval process takes 3-6 months to complete. Upon approval, vendors are included in the GSA Schedules. Inclusion in the GSA Schedules does not guarantee that a vendor’s goods and services will be utilized.
GSA Schedules enable agencies to purchase items with ease and assurance. As a result, government clients often prefer to order goods and services using the GSA Schedules.
There are several reasons the purchase process becomes easier through GSA Schedules. They are:
- Agencies are provided with many options because the GSA schedule lists a large pool of contractors.
- The vendors have been vetted and deemed responsible before being placed on the GSA Schedule.
- GSA provides tools to assist agencies with successfully completing orders.
- Agencies can purchase large quantities of goods and services because size limits have not been placed on orders.
- Agencies do not have to deal with the process of bidding and contract proposals.
- Agencies are able to save money and stick to their budgets.
- Goods and services ordered through the GSA Schedule have a shorter lead time than other methods of delivery.
The development of GSA Schedules has positively affected the way agencies buy goods and services. Since it simplifies the procurement process, the GSA Schedule will continue to be a preferred tool of government agents for years to come.