Businesses that take the opportunity to get involved in the federal marketplace can realize huge benefits. From networking options to exponential growth, government contracts can mean the difference between a balance sheet that’s healthy, and one that’s on life support. However, it can be tough to get into working with the GSA (General Services Administration) to fulfill those obligations. Working with a GSA approved vendor can help streamline the process and ensure that you remain in compliance with relevant rules and regulations. Here’s what you need to know about working with the GSA, approved vendors, and some of the regulations that can affect you when dealing with government contracts.
Understanding the GSA
Established by President Harry Truman in 1949, the GSA functions as an independent agency within the federal US government. It serves as an expert in procurement for other federal agencies, assisting them with acquiring necessary products and services for building and maintaining government properties. The GSA is also the outlet by which excess government property is sold to the public, including real estate, vehicles, and much more.
In order to make the buying and selling processes more efficient, the GSA uses schedules. These are specific contracting vehicles and are produced for vendors, as well as customers. The schedules, in effect, create contracts between the government and commercial companies, allowing for the provision of volume-discounted pricing on a wide range of services and products. These contracts are covered under the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), which applies to most federal contracts and contractors.
Regulations on Procurement for Federal Contracts
FAR is a set of regulations on the purchasing process of the US federal government. The rules and regulations provided for in FAR are complex and running afoul of them could lead to big problems. FAR, at its simplest, is a set of standards meant to ensure that the federal government is using a consistent procedure for purchases across its many agencies, and that those purchases are carried out in an impartial way.
GSA Schedules may make specific parts of FAR irrelevant, meaning that you would be responsible for a much-simplified ordering process. However, if you don’t know the regulations, you might be at risk. Whether you’re on the buying end of the contracts, or the selling end, FAR has implications for you. It’s important that you understand them thoroughly. Alternatively, work with a GSA approved vendor to make sure you remain in compliance without all the hassle of learning a very complex set of regulations.
Benefits of GSA Schedules
Schedules, which are also sometimes referred to as MAS (Multiple-Award Schedules) or FSS (Federal Supply Schedules), offer a variety of benefits for those procuring or purchasing items to fulfill government contracts. MAS are intended to streamline the process and therefore improve the acquisition of products and services. They provide easy ways to work with complementary industry partners for a more efficient purchasing process. They’re pre-filled, on-demand contracts that can be leveraged by buyers when they need to make a purchase of goods or services, and they comply with FAR Subpart 8.4, meaning orders are awarded very quickly, usually in days, not months. MAS help to minimize your risk by ensuring that everything associated with it is FAR-compliant. MAS are flexible enough to allow further negotiation of prices, terms, and conditions on an order-by-order basis. They also come with assistance from experts in the acquisition process if such assistance is required.
Working with GSA-Approved Vendors
GSA gives customers a variety of options when it comes to making purchases. That means your company can take advantage of all the different ways to buy and pay that are offered through the GSA. Working with a GSA approved vendor like United Commercial Supply (UCS) means you can take advantage of all of these options, while also ensuring that you remain in compliance with FAR and any other relevant regulations.
A GSA approved vendor like UCS has professionals who can help you through every step of the purchasing process, regardless of the amount of the government contract you’re working to fulfill. UCS carries over 125,000 products from brands like Husqvarna, DeWalt, RIDGID, and many others. There are many government agencies at all levels (local, state, and federal) that already work with UCS in procuring the products and services needed for facility maintenance, construction, office management, and much more.
UCS strives to give everyone the great service they need, along with convenient options for getting quotes, completing purchases, and delivering orders. Highly trusted among contractors and offering a wide variety of tools and other products from trusted brands and suppliers, UCS makes it simple to fulfill your government contract either by purchasing directly from them, or through the GSA Advantage! program.
GSA Advantage! improves your purchasing process because it saves your organization resources like money and manpower, as well as offering an array of other benefits like:
- Security – Offers a secure online procurement option where your financial information is highly protected and multiple payment options are available.
- Efficiency – Makes available seamless purchase options and provides tools for viewing, comparing, and ordering materials at discount prices.
- Convenience – Provides fast access for millions of items and services that have been discounted exclusively for use in government contracts; products, services, and other available items can be found by searching specific manufacturers, suppliers, categories, or keywords.
Whatever the size of your contract, or the requirements under which you may be operating, working with a GSA approved vendor makes for a much more streamlined and simplified procurement process. When you work with UCS, you’re also supporting a business owned by a veteran injured in the course of service to the US. Contact UCS today to request a quote or to get more information on working with GSA approved vendors.