GSA Contracting 101: Everything Government Contractors Should Know

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GSA contracting, administered by the General Services Administration (GSA), streamlines the acquisition processes of federal agencies. Through GSA contracts, government contractors can leverage a lucrative market opportunity to sell their products and services to the government and expand their client base.


Learn more about GSA contracting and discover the contracting process, eligibility criteria, and steps for securing a GSA contract.


What is GSA Contracting?


GSA contracting is the process wherein the GSA procures goods and services from private businesses. Fundamentally, it establishes long-term contracts and agreements with commercial vendors through a competitive acquisition process.


The GSA can award contracts to various entities, including:


  • Commercial businesses
  • Educational institutions
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • State and local governments


GSA contracts are structured with specific delivery terms, predetermined pricing arrangements, warranties, and other stipulations to simplify the procurement process. While primarily intended for use within federal agencies, GSA contracts are also utilized within local and state governments in certain instances.


At its core, GSA contracting simplifies the procurement process for the government and contractors. It provides federal agencies with easy access to necessary goods and services while offering contractors a channel to sell to the government.


Types of GSA Government Contracts


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Below are the major categories of GSA government contracts, each structured to meet specific procurement needs and regulations.


GSA Schedule


The GSA Schedule, also referred to as the Federal Supply Schedule (FSS) or Multiple Award Schedule (MAS), is a long-term government contract for the procurement of commercial products and services at fair prices. 


Two primary regulatory documents determine the policies and procedures governing this contract vehicle


  1. Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) governs the acquisition process and ensures consistency and compliance across federal agencies.
  2. The General Services Acquisition Manual (GSAM) is a detailed manual covering GSA acquisition policies and practices.




The OASIS (One Acquisition Solution for Integrated Services) consists of distinct government-wide multiple-award, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contracts.


  1. OASIS Unrestricted is a full and open contract, allowing any qualified contractor to compete for task orders. 
  2. OASIS Small Business is designed exclusively for small businesses. It operates as a 100% Small Business Set-Aside contract, per FAR 19.502
  3. OASIS 8(a) provides opportunities for small businesses in the 8(a) program to participate in government contracting activities.


These contracts have no program ceiling. They aim to offer innovative solutions to address the diverse needs of federal agencies for professional services.


Commercial Platforms


The Commercial Platforms proof of concept enables GSA SmartPay® Purchase Card (GPC) holders to utilize various e-marketplace platforms for purchasing commercial products within the micro-purchase threshold (MPT). 


The awarded e-marketplace platforms include:


  • Amazon Business
  • Fisher Scientific
  •, Inc.


Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative (FSSI)


The Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative uses strategic sourcing to examine the spending habits of government organizations. FSSI maximizes purchasing power, reduces costs, and enhances overall performance.


Current commodity solutions under FSSI cover areas like:


  • Building Maintenance and Operations
  • Maintenance Repair Facilities Supplies
  • Wireless FSSI
  • Office Supplies


GWACs (Governmentwide Acquisition Contracts)


GWACs specifically focus on information technology (IT) solutions and services. They help federal agencies acquire innovative and cost-effective IT solutions, including:


  • Software engineering
  • Systems design
  • Enterprise architecture solutions
  • Information assurance


GWACs offer a variety of contract types, such as fixed-price and cost-reimbursement contracts, to meet federal agencies’ various procurement needs.


Human Capital and Training Services (HCaTS)


The Human Capital and Training Services provides federal agencies access to a range of human capital and training services from pre-qualified vendors. It comprises three IDIQ governmentwide contract vehicles.


  1. HCaTS Unrestricted (HCaTS U)
  2. HCaTS Small Business (HCaTS SB)
  3. HCaTS 8(a)


How Government Contractors Can Secure a GSA Contract


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Photo by Salivanchuk Semen/ Shutterstock


Securing a GSA contract involves several key steps for government contractors. Here’s a simple guide.


1. Understand government contracting. Research about government contracting and familiarize yourself with the different ways to sell to the government.

Additionally, explore potential contract opportunities and conduct market analysis to fulfill the initial stages of the contract acquisition process.


2. Register your business. Evaluate if your company is prepared for a GSA Schedule contract. Then, register your business in the System for Award Management (SAM) database.


3. Ensure your business meets the eligibility requirements, including financial stability and past performance.


4. Build your network and attend government contracting events.


5. Prepare your offer. Gather the necessary documentation and develop a compelling proposal highlighting your business’s capabilities and value.


6. Submit a proposal outlining your products and services, pricing, and terms to the appropriate GSA contracting officer.


7. Comply with all GSA requirements once awarded a contract.


GSA Contract Eligibility Criteria and Requirements


To qualify for a GSA contract, contracting businesses are assessed across several key criteria:


  • Financial stability
  • Past client performance
  • Responsiveness
  • Ethics
  • Commitment to prioritize government as the primary customer


Following these criteria, the business must meet the following requirements:


  • The business must have been operational for at least two years.
  • Contractors must provide financial statements, including a balance sheet and income statement.
  • The business’s products and services must fit under the category of GSA Schedule.
  • The business must demonstrate measurable past performance.


Latest Awards and Achievements in GSA Contracting


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The latest advancements in the GSA Contract spotlight the ongoing efforts to strengthen and modernize government operations.


In March 2024, Rebellion Defense, a leading player in defense software, achieved a milestone by securing a GSA MAS contract in just 41 days. It demonstrates the contractor’s rapid innovation and acquisition expertise.


Moreover, the GSA granted contracts to eight companies for the procurement of next-generation identity-proofing capabilities for The $194.5 million contract was awarded to the following companies:


  • TransUnion
  • LexisNexis Special Services
  • IDEMIA Identity & Security USA
  • Experian Information Solutions
  • Diamond Capture Associates
  • Celerity Government Solutions
  • Carahsoft Technology
  • Aderas


In February 2024, the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) awarded a $62.4 million contract to JE Dunn Construction Company for building improvements at the Charles E. Whittaker U.S. Courthouse in Kansas City, Missouri.


As a part of President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda, this project involves repair, restoration, and installation works of low embodied carbon (LEC) materials to enhance building efficiency and performance.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is GSA certification?


GSA certification is awarded to businesses that have completed the GSA certification process and gained approval from the General Services Administration (GSA) to participate in government contracting opportunities.


How long does it take to get GSA certified?


On average, it may take several months to complete the certification process, from the initial application submission to receiving approval from the GSA.

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Written by Annie Tyler

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