For many companies, a GSA Schedule is a great opportunity that can provide a substantial stream of revenue. However, before your company jumps into this program, it is important to make sure you and your business are ready. Some of the ways to help prepare for this contract include:

Know the requirements for your Schedule. The GSA Schedule program is actually broken down into approximately 30 different Schedules based loosely upon industries.  The requirements to obtain a GSA Schedule will vary from Schedule to Schedule, so your company will first need to identify which GSA Schedule best represents the products or services you offer; then you can review the requirements for that GSA Schedule.  For example, a product company would need to show a commercial price list and commercial sales practices, whereas a service company would need to show examples of past performance and rates.

Get a Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) D-U-N-S Number. This nine-digit ID is a prerequisite for doing business with the government and is required to register on the CCR.

Get on the Central Contractor Registration (CCR). Any company that wants to do business with the government has to be registered on CCR. Your company will be given a CAGE code within 72 hours, which will give you the ability to register on ORCA.

Submit your Online Representations and Certifications Application (ORCA).  By registering on ORCA, your company can respond to opportunities without having to submit a hard copy of your Reps and Certs.

Establish a solid marketing plan.  Just as you would for any new target market, consider who you will be selling to. What are they buying currently, how are they getting these products or services, and who is now supplying them? Determine who will be most interested in what you have to offer, and create a sales and marketing strategy for generating business.

Start today. While a GSA Schedule Contract is a virtual necessity if your company plans on seriously targeting the government market, it is not required for all government opportunities. Once your company has secured a DUNS and CAGE code, and has registered on CCR & ORCA, you can begin to pursue government business.  When your company is awarded a GSA Schedule Contract, the government client base and work history you’ve established will provide momentum to your GSA sales efforts.

While this list is by no means inclusive of all the details involved in preparing for a GSA Schedule, it may help to place your company on the right track. Getting your foot in the door will involve some work, but once you do, you may find a world of opportunity.