BLOG: Contracting With the General Services Administration (GSA)

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GSA's Office of Small Business Utilization (OSBU)

GSA's Office of Small Business Utilization (OSBU) advocates for small businesses, including disadvantaged, veteran-owned, service-disabled veteran-owned, HUBZone, and women business owners. Its mission is to promote increased access to GSA's nationwide procurement opportunities.

OSBU monitors and implements small business policies and manages a range of programs required by law. GSA’s small business programs nurture entrepreneurial opportunities, open doors to new business horizons, and enhance technological capabilities.

OSBU's outreach activities make it possible for the small business community to meet key contracting experts and be counseled on the procurement process. These activities include:

  • Procurement networking sessions
  • Marketing strategies and techniques workshops
  • Electronic commerce and electronic data interchange training sessions
  • Interagency networking breakfasts
  • Trade missions
  • Roundtables
  • Procurement conferences.

Business activities are supported by program experts at GSA headquarters, by the Small Business Utilization Centers in 11 Regional Offices, and by small business technical advisors in the GSA National Office. GSA Regional Offices are located in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Chicago, Kansas City, Fort Worth, Denver, San Francisco, Auburn (Washington), and Washington, DC.

Mentor-Protégé Program: Starting September 14, 2009, GSA prime contractors are able to assist small businesses through GSA’s Mentor-Protégé Program. Check for updates and information on how GSA implements the program and how the Office of Small Business Utilization works with GSA contracting officers and industry partners.

OSBU is responsible for the scope of small business programs mandated by law. Every federal agency is required by the Small Business Act of 1953, as amended by Public Law 95-507, to establish an office that reports to and advises the head of the agency on the implementation functions and duties under this act.

GSA Helps Small Businesses

GSA works so that small businesses, including disadvantaged, women-owned, HUBZone-certified, veteran- owned, and service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses, have many opportunities to participate in the federal procurement process.

In particular, GSA’s Office of Small Business Utilization (SBU) ( assists small businesses by answering the many questions that are submitted by phone, email, letters, and in person. SBU staff members consult with most companies over the phone; however, SBU also conducts one-on- one counseling sessions to help companies in understanding and participating in the federal procurement process. SBU employees also attend procurement conferences to conduct workshops that provide important information to small business owners on how to do business with GSA. To find an SBU center in a particular region, visit the regional home page.

**Please Note: All links referenced in this document can be reached from the GSA’s Office of Small Business Utilization (SBU) ( unless otherwise noted.


SBU has many resources to help small businesses compete, such as the Doing Business with GSA booklet, geared toward new and prospective contractors. It explains the process, offers practical advice, and lists helpful websites. Businesses looking for regional procurement opportunities can review opportunities by region. Those businesses seeking subcontracting opportunities can review GSA’s subcontracting directory.


SBU conducts hundreds of outreach events a year across the country for small businesses, to open doors to federal contracting opportunities to them. To learn about these events, click here.

Featured Opportunities and Programs

GSA has a strong record of supporting small business contracting throughout the government through the GSA Multiple Award Schedules Program (MAS Program) and information-technology-centered Government-Wide Acquisition Contracts (GWACs).

  • MAS Program (aka GSA Schedules or Federal Supply Schedules): GSA establishes contracts with firms for commercial products and services at fair and reasonable prices that have been negotiated by GSA. Federal agencies turn to MAS contracts to fulfill agency requirements, knowing that they can depend on the quality of the products or services these companies provide. For small businesses, the MAS Program offers an expansive avenue of potential work with the federal government.
  • GWACs: Through the Small Business GWAC Center, GSA offers Alliant Small Business (Alliant SB), a small business set-aside GWAC, designed to provide worldwide information technology solutions to federal agencies, while strengthening federal contracting opportunities for small business concerns. Alliant SB assists agencies in reaching their small business utilization goals, while providing small business concerns opportunities for prime contracts in the information technology arena.

To learn more check out the GSA Multiple Award Schedules (MAS) Desk Reference, Version 6, Flipbook.

GSA Schedules

Under the GSA Schedules (also referred to as Multiple Award Schedules and Federal Supply Schedules) Program, GSA establishes long-term government-wide contracts with commercial firms to provide access to over 11 million commercial supplies (products) and services that can be ordered directly from GSA Schedule contractors or through the GSA Advantage!® online shopping and ordering system. The GSA Schedules Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) provide a variety of information regarding the GSA Schedules Program and the use of GSA Schedule contracts.

GSA Schedules offer customers direct delivery of millions of state-of-the-art, high-quality commercial supplies and services at volume discount pricing. The Schedules & Other Supplies & Services page lists commercial supplies and services available under GSA Schedules and other GSA contracts. All customers, even those in remote locations, can order the latest technology and quality supplies and services, conveniently and at most favored customer prices. GSA Schedules also offer the potential benefits of shorter lead-times, lower administrative costs, and reduced inventories.

To learn more about the GSA Schedules, click here.

Getting on Schedule

Vendors interested in becoming GSA Schedule contractors should review the Getting on Schedule page, in order to understand the process involved in obtaining a GSA Schedule contract.

Vendors should also consider submitting offers under the Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) Express Program, a specialized program established under the GSA Schedules Program. The goal of the MAS Express Program is to simplify, streamline, and ultimately accelerate the process for vendors to obtain Schedule contracts. In order to participate in the MAS Express Program, vendors must meet specific criteria for certain products/services and must successfully complete Pathway to Success, an education seminar designed to assist prospective Schedule contractors in making an informed business decision as to whether obtaining a GSA Schedule contract is in their best interests.

Trade Agreements Act

The Trade Agreements Act (19 U.S.C. 2501, et seq.) is the enabling statute that implements numerous multilateral and bilateral international trade agreements and other trade initiatives. Since the estimated dollar value of each Schedule exceeds the established Trade Agreements Act (TAA) threshold, the TAA is applicable to all Schedules. In accordance with the TAA, only U.S.-made or designated country end products shall be offered and sold under Schedule contracts.

Schedule Features

GSA Schedules offer a variety of features, including:

  • Blanket purchase agreements
  • Contractor team arrangements
  • Price reductions
  • New technology
  • Continuous open seasons
  • Evergreen contracts
  • Worldwide coverage
  • Purchase card acceptance
  • Environmental programs/identification
  • Section 508 information on electronic and information technology

Ordering From Schedules

Orders placed against GSA Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) contracts, using the procedures in Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) 8.4, are considered to be issued using full and open competition (see FAR 6.102(d)(3)). Ordering activities shall not seek competition outside of GSA Schedules or synopsize the requirement. In addition, ordering activities are not required to make a separate determination of fair and reasonable pricing, except for the price evaluation required by FAR 8.405-2(d) when ordering services requiring a statement of work. By placing an order against a GSA Schedule contract using the procedures in this section, the ordering activity has concluded that the order represents the best value and results in the lowest overall cost alternative to meet the government’s needs.

Although GSA has already negotiated fair and reasonable pricing, ordering activities may seek additional discounts before placing an order.

While the mandatory small business preference programs in FAR Part 19 do not apply to orders placed against GSA Schedule contracts, such orders may be credited toward an ordering activity’s small business goals. Ordering activities may consider socioeconomic status when identifying contractors for consideration of an order (see FAR 8.405-5).

Further information regarding Schedule ordering procedures is available under Basic Schedule Ordering Guidelines.

State and Local Governments

State and local government entities are now eligible to purchase from GSA Schedule contracts under the following programs:

  • Cooperative purchasing
  • Disaster recovery purchasing

State and local governments are advised to review the conditions under which each program may be utilized.

Security Requirements

In accordance with Homeland Security Presidential Directive-12 ("HSPD-12"), contractors are required to undergo an FBI fingerprint check and a personnel security investigation at the level of the National Agency Check with written Inquiries (NACI).