What is the GSA?

GSA stands for General Services Administration (GSA). The independent agency, established in 1949 to support procurement work for other federal agencies, supplies products, services, and facilities to U.S. government offices.

The GSA contracts with thousands of commercial businesses to procure commercial goods and services such as management, financial, engineering, environmental, accounting, technology, and transportation services. In addition to commercial services, commercial supplies range from computer hardware to office supplies. They also help federal agencies acquire office space. Visit the “GSA eLibrary” for a comprehensive list of services.

What is a GSA Schedule?

The GSA created a simplified process for government agencies to buy goods and services through GSA schedules. GSA maintains GSA schedules, which are pre-negotiated contracts for commercial supplies and services. Vendors submit proposals, the federal government accepts and awards the vendor a prime contract. Each GSA schedule includes specific Special Item Numbers (SINs), which categorize similar supplies and services together.

Pro Tip: GSA numbers, GSA contracts, Federal Supply Schedules (FSS) (via Veteran Affairs (VA)), GSA list, GSA Multiple Award Schedules (MAS) program are all terms used to refer to GSA schedules.

GSA schedule contracts are valid for five years, with three additional five-year extension options. These pre-approved contracts are Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contracts so the specific quantity of supplies and timeframe for delivery are not established in the original contract, but are determined at the individual order level. The products and services are ordered directly from vendor contractors.

What are the benefits to small businesses?

A GSA schedule increases and connects businesses with a wide range of government opportunities. The GSA has also tried to make it easy for businesses, no matter the size, comply with procurement rules.

This is part of the government’s goals to strengthen partnerships with the small business community, creating a symbiotic relationship that supports the success of everyone in involved.

In terms of benefits to the government, GSA schedules provide government agencies cost savings, increased flexibility and choice in selecting products and services, as well as reducing the amount of time it takes to replenish inventories and find quality products and services.

How do GSA schedules interact with other Federal regulations and agencies?

While the GSA is an independent agency, it does adhere to government procurement policies and programs, including:

  • Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) – The GSA schedules program is specified in FAR subpart 8.4 and FAR Part 38 of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), which codifies policy for federal acquisition of supplies and services. GSA, NASA, and the Department of Defense share authority to issue or revise the FAR.
  • General Services Administration Acquisition Manual (GSAM) – The GSAM covers GSA acquisition policies and practices, contract clauses, solicitation provisions, and forms that control the relationship between GSA and current or prospective contractors.
  • Federal Acquisition Services (FAS) works with GSA to deliver solutions for products and services across the government.