Veterans Affairs (VA) Schedule Contracts are one such type of contract available through the General Services Administration (GSA) Schedule for companies to conduct business with the United States federal government. VA Schedule Contracts are often referred to as GSA Schedule Applications because they are part of the Federal Supply Schedule (FSS) program.
The VA Schedule relates specifically to the procurement of healthcare services, drugs, or medical equipment. The procurement of these products through a GSA Schedule Contract is managed by the VA National Acquisition Center (NAC), and the items purchased are distributed to VA healthcare facilities across the country who care for veterans.
If your business provides services such as lab testing, healthcare staffing, patient mobility devices, dental equipment, or other equipment, supplies, or testing, the VA Schedule may be an advantageous way for your company to grow its business through federal government customers.
To get a GSA Schedule Contract through VA contracting, your company must submit a proposal for the VA to consider. Responding to a VA solicitation with a GSA proposal is a detailed process. The effort and time is a small price to pay for access to customers like the VA who are looking for companies with GSA-validated products and services.
Here are a few questions to ponder as your company prepares its GSA proposal.
Is The Solicitation Applicable?
The VA Schedule contains various solicitations, each one requesting specific services and products. Prior to writing a proposal response, it’s important for your business to determine which solicitation(s) may be applicable to bid on.
You’ll want to review the solicitation’s statement of work (SOW) to decide if you can supply products or perform services being requested by the VA. Your proposal response will ultimately include a detailed description of what and how you can meet the solicitation’s requirements to VA customers.
By reviewing the solicitations to determine which of the requested products and/or services best fit your company, you’ll be better positioned to prepare a competitive GSA proposal detailing your company’s unique expertise.
What Is Your Pricing Strategy?
The specificity of the GSA Schedule Contract solicitation and the lengthy proposal process ensures that approved sellers are those who provide high quality products. This is appealing to customers, but it’s not the only draw. Customers know that GSA-approved sellers are also vetted for cost effectiveness. If a company is part of the GSA Schedule, pricing (along with the delivery terms of a company’s product offerings) are pre-negotiated.
This pre-negotiation of pricing occurs during the GSA proposal process. As part of writing your company’s proposal response, you will provide the VA a detailed fee schedule. This is where your company offers a price to potential government customers on all of the products and/or services requested in the solicitation’s SOW.
As you and your team prepare a proposal response, consider what pricing strategy your company will take—it’s more than likely the fee schedule you submit as part of your proposal will be negotiated down the road during the GSA review process. Such price offer and successive negotiations with the VA will be like other business deals: you’ll want to negotiate a price point GSA finds reasonable and that’s also profitable for your company.
Who Will Prepare Your Proposal Response?
For all the reasons listed previously, writing a GSA solicitation response is a detailed and time-consuming process. Your company will need to be prepared with a dedicated resource who is experienced in writing government proposals, as government proposal writing differs from that required of civil proposals.
Your company may even consider implementing a federal contracts team who is versed in federal solicitation responses and negotiations. Ideally, a team could divide the tasks required to submit a proposal in order to efficiently and effectively meet the requirements and deadline of the bid.
Additionally, should your company wish to have an expert guide you through the process for obtaining a GSA Schedule Contract, there are GSA Schedule consultants who can, for a fee, help your company navigate the solicitation process and prepare a competitive bid.
As you look to grow your business through the GSA Schedule, considering the above questions as you write a proposal will aid your company in the submission, review, and award process.Read More