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It's 6:58 pm and the cleaners are here vacuuming and closing down the office.  I'm here working on updating a sustainability presentation in collaboration with Dana and Nancy to improve the quality of training we give to small business.  I'm also working on a video with Walt to make sure small business knows what opportunities are available in our agency and how they can use GSA tools to access those opportunities.  I'm thinking about how to improve our pool of small businesses working with our Federal customers so that our customers and are small businesses experience success. I'm thinking about small business and it matters to me because I used to be a small business and I will be again one day.  So every step for your success is a step for all emerging companies either now or in the future.  

Talk to us - tell us what we are doing right and what we can do better!

It's 7:06 and I'm heading home.  Looking forward to hearing from you.  Night small business.

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Views: 1856





My name is Sean Jones; I am the President of Revolution Payment Systems and have been in the payments space for almost 20 years with a core focus on working with government contractors.

I see a huge gap when it comes to educating the small business owner on the differences of accepting a government card vs. a standard commercial card and why processing them the same can cost the business owner 30% or more.


A basic understanding of how these credit cards differ can give the small business owner a great advantage by reducing fees and helping to attract more government business.

  On the surface, Gov P-Cards look like a typical commercial card, but posses more features, controls and capabilities.


The most differentiating characteristics of P-cards are that their transactions can be processed with the same level of information normally found on an itemized invoice. This is called “Level-3” detail.

Purchase Card transactions have tiered interchange rates and are priced differently compared to standard consumer or commercial transactions.

They have tiered rates to encourage supplier participation & support of P-card programs by reducing the supplier’s transaction costs if Level-3 line item detail is transmitted with the financial settlement.

Processing Level-3 Data on commercial, purchasing and government cards reduces the cost of these transactions to under 2%.  

Transactions over$5,100 Qualify for High Ticket Rates and vary from 1.20%-1.47%

With the challenges many government contractors face today, many have relied on their banks and existing processors to process payments.

       Specialized knowledge, technology and a specific merchant account is required to take advantage and get the full benefit of the Level-3 discounts. I would say 4 out of 5 contractors I come across that has Level 3 are sending the data requirements but have not been setup properly by their processor to receive 100% of the discounted interchange.


Much of this lies within the payments industry. Many payment professionals may not have the experience or knowledge when it comes to setting up a contractor to accept P-cards or know how these differ from standard commercial transactions.

Processors are also not required to set up a contractor in the most economical way.


 If there were a way to put more education out to the small businesses would be of great value.  A basic understanding of rates and the fees that impact there bottom line would help them make more informed discussions.

One thing they can do which is guaranteed to help is insisting on cost plus pricing. This along with Level-3 can help cut fees by 30%

Many contractors don’t realize that Level 3 is in demand from government buyers and that Training programs for Federal cardholders emphasize that buyers should look for Level-3 processing from vendors they purchase from.  Level -3 could also help the small business owner get more government business.

Thank you 

Sean Jones

Revolution Payment Systems


Hi Christy,

We appreciate you having to to stay late, we small business do it every day. We are a Woman Owned Small Business and we are seeing no projects for wosb or edwosb, why is that? and you mentioned a video, we would be interested in that. We appreciate the hard work!





Hi Christy,

We appreciate you having to to stay late, we small business do it every day. We are a Woman Owned Small Business and we are seeing no projects for wosb or edwosb, why is that? and you mentioned a video, we would be interested in that. We appreciate the hard work!





Hello Small Business Community,

We have just launched a 5-part series on "Doing Business with GSA" and are working on a 2012 Business Breakthrough in the near future.  The new series is focused on getting you from contracting to marketing when partnerng with our agency.  Below is a snapshot of Part I which is highly recommended as the first class you take.  The information is pulled right from our site at:  http://www.gsa.gov/portal/content/268845  You can find the rest of the series at this link too.


Part I: Doing Business with GSA Overview

Sponsored by GSA Office of Small Business Utilization.

Our Doing Business with GSA Series is designed to provide  you with an in depth look at partnering with our agency.  Part I of our series will set the foundation for accessing opportunities in our agency.  It is the best training to get you started and is a compliment to the additional training options.  

In this session, Part I Overview, we will:

- Clarify GSA’s role in the Federal arena
- Understand what drives procurement decisions
- Learn what GSA buys
- Learn how to sell to and through GSA
- Understand how to market to our agency
- Provide advocacy resources
- Identify GSA sources of support

We also recommend downloading the "Doing Business with GSA" publication as a pre-requisite to all training.

Space is limited. Please register today!

If you are denied participation in this webinar, the participant capacity has been reached.


  Webinar Dates & Times Monday, January 23, 20121:00 PM - 2:00 PM EDTRegister OnlineMonday, March 26, 20121:00 PM - 2:00 PM EDTRegister OnlineMonday, July 23, 20121:00 PM - 2:00 PM EDTRegister OnlineMonday, September 24, 20121:00 PM - 2:00 PM EDTRegister OnlineMonday, November 19, 20121:00 PM - 2:00 PM EDTRegister OnlineMonday, December 10, 20121:00 PM - 2:00 PM EDTRegister Online



Hopefully everyone has learn from 2011 and will have a breakout in 2012,I learn a lot and will be starting the year fresh and ready to staying in the right lane not trying to break any speed limit! I wish all small business will do great and to all SDVOB let go get what we left on the table!


Recently my firm was awarded a three year IDIQ, and from what I have read in doing some research, this award is essentially portable for other Agencies use with some provisions. Could you possibly help me with some information on what the proper way to present access to my IDIQ might be?  Before I picked up the phone and started cold calling people, I thought it might be fair to ask the question. 

VA FSS Service

The VA Federal Supply Schedule (FSS) Program is the premier Government program in place to acquire state-of-the-art healthcare related products and services.  Please contact the VA FSS Help Desk for questions related to Schedules covering medical equipment, supplies, services, and pharmaceuticals.  Additional information is available on the VA FSS Web Portal, including how to get a VA Schedule contract, compliance requirements, managing your contract, VA sales reporting requirements, and more.


-VA FSS Service

(p) 708-786-7737

(e) helpdesk.ammhinfss@va.gov

(w) http://www.fss.va.gov


Here are some notes taken from my training "Partnering Opportunities for Small Business" which you can register for at www.gsa.gov/smallbizhelp under "Training"



•Select Reputable Business Development Database Services
•Review Awarded Contractors on Fedbizoppswww.fbo.gov
•Reach out to GSA MAS contractors through the Schedules eLibraryDatabase – Large businesses have a subcontracting requirements www.gsa.gov/elibraryuse in conjunction with www.gsa.gov/ssq
Then what?
1.Introduce- Use every opportunity to meet new potential partners
2.Exchange Information – Never leave home without your business cards and a pen
3.Go to breakfast/lunch/dinner– Set up a time within the first two weeks
4.Go  to  other things together– meet at events of mutual interest
5.Determine value add –  both sides should benefit from the partnership
6.Propose a collaboration – Once you find an opportunity invite them to the table
7.Develop the terms/promises – If both sides see the potential, determine the rules to the game
8.Sign an agreement/contract – put everything in writing
9.Begin the Journey – work hard and enjoy the success
10.Implement short and long term goals – Determine if there is a real future and if so, make plans of attack
11.Check in often to make sure both sides are experiencing success– re-evaluate the partnership every 6 months to a year to make sure you continue to grow and prosper.
Hope this helps!

Our company has been invited to a GSA roundtable discussion on the 18th of August in Minneapolis, MN. The following is the description of that meeting:

"This round table would be of particular interest to PTAC and clients looking to be approved vendors and other organizations that may already be clients of GSA and take advantage of the purchasing power through the US General Services Administration.

Over the course of the summer, one of GSA’s public engagement goals is to engage local leaders and GSA stakeholders across the country in quality two-way conversations. This gives us an opportunity to achieve several objectives. To listen to our stakeholders and gather ideas on how GSA could work better and achieve more; to build relationships with local leaders across the country; and to provide information to local leaders on GSA and the Administration’s priorities, programs, and accomplishments.These roundtables have several precedents, including the Young Americans roundtables which nearly every region participated in, as well as the White House Business Council Roundtables that are ongoing."

If anyone here has any suggestions/topics either as a current GSA/FSS vendor or a company looking to acquire a GSA contract(outside of the basics), please feel free to post them as a reply to this thread.

Pinny Kahana


I just started working in government contracting for my company, and am also looking for ways to connect with other contractors for bidding and networking purposes.


From the research I have done, it appears that the best way to go about it is through government sponsored matchmaking events and expos. Once you have established a network, it is easier to get parts of bids.


I am hoping to establish relationships with CO's to get a better understanding of solicitations, and how to get my products marketed to all the government agencies. It seems that government sales is similar to sales to the general population in that the relationships are key.


I hope I was able to help you, if any other readers/mods have tips for us, please share!



Kris Anderson

Per Amilfordjr's comment about "changing one's stragety"...I am all for that...again, I am a bit unsure on how to build the relationships with, and partner with other gov. contractors. 

I am very limited in what I am allowed to do as far as daily meetings, meeting with others, and I don't want to upset any high ups regarding going out and meeting other companies. How does one go about partnering; how does one find out about other companies in the area to partner with; where can I go or make a phone call to for such contacts and activities ? 

As indicated I am somewhat limited in what I am allowed to do, and what I am allowed to suggest within my position.  But I do want to learn and creat an idea concept on how to build the relationships, partner, etc. 






Amilfordjr - this is the best insite coming from a clearly seasoned business....There are no magic answers or magic steps.  Beating the pavement has been the way forever.  The more you partner, participate and put yourself out there the better your chances of getting those opportunities.  As far as the pre-designed solicitations - the usual issue is that businesses wait for the solicitation instead of getting involved at the synopsis where there is more time to build a relationship with they buyer.  Change your strategy!  Seek out the synopsis and be involved before the solicitation is even created. 


Anderson - This is a challenging situation - I will reach out to our Washington state contact Kenyon Taylor and see if she can providde some feedback to help you consider other options.  Have you considered subcontracting to those companies you feel have been successful to increase your experience and gain the needs of customers in the more productive areas?


Amilfordjr - this is the best insite coming from a clearly seasoned business....There are no magic answers or magic steps.  Beating the pavement has been the way forever.  The more you partner, participate and put yourself out there the better your chances of getting those opportunities.  As far as the pre-designed solicitations - the usual issue is that businesses wait for the solicitation instead of getting involved at the synopsis where there is more time to build a relationship with they buyer.  Change your strategy!  Seek out the synopsis and be involved before the solicitation is even created.


All - Business Breakthrough site is simply www.gsa.gov/businessbreakthrough several more sessions to come and is planned for 2012 as well.

OCEicoinc - As a matter of fact the opposite is happening.  Because of Executive Order 13514 we are moving to develop a more Sustainable Supply Chain and also implementing new ways to improve innovative solutions that are needed for our buyers to meet their agency goals.  Set-Asides will be a part of that.  GSA is one of the few agencies meeting their small business goals because of smart acquisition.  Stay tuned and learn more.  I suggest taking the sustainability training which has just been updated.  Visit www.gsa.gov/smallbizhelp site and click on "Training" to register for current classes.  They are FREE!!!

Concordeinc - This does sound unique.  I recommend talking to a VA CO for more info.  Try these contacts who work with new ideas on the schedule for VA:

Govt. Contracting Officer:
Phone: (708) 786-5236
E-Mail: michael.olszewski@va.gov

Govt. Contracting Officer:
Phone: (708)786-4993
E-Mail: jason.hardy@va.gov

Govt. Contracting Officer:
Phone: (708) 786-7793
E-Mail: richard.amesquita@va.gov

Maureen and Shaunta - Thanks for checking in and answering questions! SB Customers - our regional representatives are also checking in to support you!






VA FSS Service

Dear christy.jackiewicz and Concordeinc,

For additional information about the VA Schedules Program, including the 621I Professional & Allied Healthcare Staffing Services Schedule, contact the VA FSS Help Desk.  The Help Desk will be able to answer any general questions you may have and direct you toward more guided information.


- VA FSS Service

(p) 708 786 7737

(e) helpdesk.ammhinfss@va.gov



Please give me a call so that I may be able to help you with this question further.

My number is (312) 353-5384.


I'm not sure if this is the appropriate place to ask schedule related questions, so forgive me if so. I am conducting research for my company and we are looking at the 621I medical services schedule. It seems like we operate our business differently than most of the contract holders - it appears that everything is a staffing service and billed hourly.

We would be looking at patients utilizing our network of providers - i.e. using their facilities and billing either hourly/per exam or test; versus staffing a location. Would this be applicable to the 621I schedule? Should I be looking at a different schedule?


  Last year when we started looking into the possibility of acquiring a Class 65 IIA FSS contract, we were encouraged to obtain our small business socio-economic status of a WOSB and HUBZone firm. According to most articles posted by the GSA and FSS services, the socio-econmic goals for this fiscal year were one of the top priorities for small business success. On FedBizOpps, in the last 365 days, there has only been 2 posted set-asides for HubZone firms, and one for WOSB under Class 65 IIA. My question is this, outside of service related contracts, how does GSA/FSS plan to meet it's planned goals for small business with certified socio-economic status, if opportunities for businesses new to federal contracting are not offered?

VA FSS Service

Dear Ocelcolnc,

Small business “set-asides” are not allowed under the Schedules program; however, this does not mean that your socioeconomic status does not matter to ordering facilities.  In fact, ordering facilities may:

  1. Consider socioeconomic status when identifying contractors for consideration or competition for award of an order or Schedule BPA; and
  2. Include socioeconomic status as an evaluation criteria and subsequently sued as a primary evaluation factor in source selection

The VA and GSA Schedule Programs recommend that at a minimum ordering activities consider at least one of each of the following: small business, veteran-owned small business, service-disabled veteran-owned small business, HUBZone small business, women-owned small business, economically disadvantaged women-owned small business, and a small disadvantaged small business (including 8(a)).  Additionally, when an order exceeds the micropurchase threshold ($3,000), and two or more items at the same delivered price will satisfy the requirement, the ordering activity should give preference to the item offered by the small business.  Schedule orders placed with small businesses may be reported as accomplishments toward an ordering activity’s small business goals; therefore it is to their benefit to place orders with various small businesses and socioeconomic categories.

In the VA, top priority purchasing preference is given to service-disabled veteran-owned and veteran-owned small businesses.  The remaining socioeconomic categories are given preference in the following order: Section 8(a), HUBZone small businesses, and any other small business contracting preference, including women-owned small businesses. 

Please contact the VA FSS Help Desk to discuss this issue further or for additional information.


- VA FSS Service

(p) 708-786-7737

(e) helpdesk.ammhinfss@va.gov



They're three day "GSA Overview / How to Get Business Through GSA" workshops and they are awesome.

They're free and open to all companies with a DUNs #. More here: http://www.gsa.gov/portal/content/239329

Seven more are planned between now and December:


Fort Worth, TX (Simultaneous Webcast)August 23 – 25Norris Conference Centers - Fort WorthSan Francisco, CAAugust 30 – September 1Hotel Nikko San FranciscoChicago, ILSeptember 13 – 15TBDAtlanta, GASeptember 27 – 29TBDBoston, MAOctober 18 – 20TBDPhiladelphia, PANovember 1 – 3TBDWashington, DCDecember 6 – 8TBD




I been in some tough situation recently,But I refuse to quit I got involve with The private sector and is building my records right now as i write.No one is going to step right into a GSA award,You got to first get your performance tight and then you got to bid ,bid, and bid until you find your niche remember there are thousands doing what you do!I will keep seeking micro purchase to get a record and grow from that.Being a disabled Vet is no piece cake either,I read a post about seem GSA has contractor already pick?it a hard game you must decided where to fit in?

Kris Anderson

My company is involved with the schedule 48 transportation, office moves and relocations.  I have mentioned the partering with other companies to get our foot in the door, however the company I work for is in WASHINGTON STATE, NOT WASHINGTON D.C. and many of the so called partnering companies are on the East coast and don't have facilities out on the West coast.

Also training is great, but if one does not understand the essentials or if the company refuses to allot the expenses of a person to travel to a training event, you are out of luck...

Even when the managers go to the conventions, it still seems as if the government all ready has their players on the field, and they are the ONLY ones who will get the contract awards..

What can be done ??




RDL and Paullock -

Getting an edge in any procurement is a challenge if you don't have past performance to back you up.  The best way to establish past performance is to partner with other businesess who are working with the government.  Have your attened our partnering training or the mentor protege program?  We recognize the challenge and need to get your foot in the door and we worked with businesess like you to get answers as to how they did the very same thing.  I encourage you to attend the free training and see if it helps give you some tips and suggestions to move forward.


Mikkibarry - Wrong or confusing information is frustrating.  Most of the information you need can be found in the FAR (Federal Acquisition Regulations).  The best approach is to know the the FAR for yourself and then if you have questions on interpretation talk to your CO who manages your contract.  For GSA Schedules FAR Part 8.4 has great information.  Specifically FAR Part 8.405-4 which talks about Price Reductions.

Did you know they were designed to give you an edge when working with our customers and securing orders.  You are not locked into the negotiated price and you can offer  spot price reductions as anytime as long as you notify your CO in writing as to the nature and time frame of the reduction.  It will not apply accros the board on your contract unless you make a permanent change.  You are also not required to honor a request from the buyer for a price reduction.  Your contract terms are your only commitment.  See below:

8.405-4  Price reductions.

Ordering activities may request a price reduction at any time before placing an order, establishing a BPA, or in conjunction with the annual BPA review. However, the ordering activity shall seek a price reduction when the order or BPA exceeds the simplified acquisition threshold. Schedule contractors are not required to pass on to all schedule users a price reduction extended only to an individual ordering activity for a specific order or BPA.

Also, it sounds like the advice given you was right for different reasons - perhaps your question wasn't clear to them.  We do have training for small busineseess trying to become better contractors.  Register for the 3 day course called Business Breakthrough going on throughout the country until December. 

Char -

Thanks for helping!  Very good effort to help!  I agree with you on yoru analysis of the differnt GSA CO's she spoke to.  We may need to get some clarity for her and I hope my recommendations help.  In the mean time, the CO's who is administering her contract is the best source for this because they are going to determine if she is in compliance with the requirements and clauses.  So it's best if they tell her what she can and cannot do.


Galaxy -

please read through my recommendations above on "Partnering"


Paulylock -

Great input - thanks for joining the conversation.




Char Norman

I always agree that going direct to the CO is the BEST way to get information.  Just giving my 2 cents tyring to give people helpful advice in these forums!  It's great we can share b2b information and communicate with GSA through social media like this.


Where does one find the information on the Business Breakthrough course you wrote about?  I can't seem to find any information on it.



The GSA Business Breakthrough Workshop series came to Portland Or last week and is scheduled to visit other cities.

Search the GSA website to find out the details. The workshop was well presented. It was worth the time (3days). Solar Ceramic is a women owned sm. emerging business, new to gov. contracts. The workshop was interactive and exactly what we needed.

Shaunta Johnson


Thanks for sharing your experience with GSA's Business Breakthrough Program. The team is committed to helping business owners get a more advanced understanding of GSA, it's business lines, spending trends, procurement methods, marketing strategies, and much more.  Attendee feedback is important to us and we encourage other attendees to share.  Continued success!


Here is a link to the GSA Business Breakthrough.  I attended the Portland Training.  It was very good I highly recommend it.



Thanks for the link!!  I love this website!!


Thank you Paul for your advice. To be honest I don't have a schedule contract number yet. I don't even know how to get one.How to get to GSA contracting section? I can't find it ??


 GSA National Customer Service Center
24/5 service hours - 8:00PM Sun through 8:30PM Fri (CST)
(800)-488-3111 / ncsccustomer.service@gsa.gov  


I opened a security guard company last year and I still can't get any contract.I have DUNS number I registered CCR I signed at CAGE BUT STILL DON'T KNOW what the next step to start or get accounts !! Any advice Please.???


The advice that I can share is not mine. But it has been suggested to me threw GSA Interact. Set your sail too, “GSA Schedule Training for vendor Success“. There are four section’s you can view. Select the Weimar “GSA’s Role in the schedules Program”. You may get many questions answered there . The Person who gives the explanation is great . Her name is Geri Haworth.

May I ask what schedule contract number do you hold ?

DUNS #, Registration In CCR, And a currant Cage Code Seen to be instruments necessary to facilitate your sail threw GSA contracting . Check out Section one. Tell me what you think ? Also you may look into (CTA) Contractor Team Arrangements. Much success. Paul Your Friendly Locksmith.



I would really welcome some advanced training on the applicability of the price reduction clause for services on Schedule 70, especially relating to how similar labor categories must be in order to trigger the clause.  Of course, small businesses would have a much easier time providing services and properly pricing them if we were exempted from the clause entirely, but until then, it would be very useful to clearly understand what is required and how to comply.  I asked 4 different GSA employees at GSA Expo the same question about the clause and got 4 different answers. 

Also, providing networking opportunities for small businesses to combine efforts and offer full solutions to GSA would be of great help to us.  As would providing opportunities to network with large companies who may be prime on specific project.  Thanks!

Char Norman


I once found this simple explantion of the price reduction clause (PRC).  Now I have it taped to my laptop and readily available for copy/paste to fellow Schedule holders. So, please note I did not author this but I applaud the person that did!

Hope this helps you?!  Maybe a forum question could be "After you got your Schedule what 3-4 areas of the contract do you need the most help with?"


GSA Schedule Price Reduction Clause

The GSA Schedule Price Reduction Clause (PRC) makes almost everyone scratch their head. A simplified example may help to clear up some of the confusion. A company sells a single product with a list price of $100. The company discounts according to the market and the lowest price that the product has been sold is $90. ABC has contractually committed to purchase 1,000 products @ $90. The next lowest price paid for the product is $94 for quantity 10. The company's GSA schedule offer would show:
  1. Commercial Price: $100
  2. Most Favored Customer: ABC Company (invoices show a price of $90; lowest price charged to anyone)
  3. Basis of Award Customer (The customer group used as the basis for GSA discounts): All Commercial Customers
  4. Discounts Offered to GSA in proposal:
    • 10% for orders of 1,000 or more products
    • 6% for orders under 1,000
  5. Discounts in GSA Schedule contract (after negotiations):
    • 10.8% for orders of 1,000 or more products
    • 6.4% for orders under 1,000

In this case, the PRC in the contract says that the company must adjust its prices to GSA proportionately if it offers commercial customer discounts of more than 10% for orders of 1,000 or more products or 6% for orders under 1,000. The company in this example offered GSA most favorable customer pricing and after negotiation ended up with GSA receiving slightly better than most favorable customer pricing. The example is clear-cut because most favorable customer pricing was tied to a contractual commitment of 1,000 items. Normally most favorable customer pricing is not this clear-cut and negotiations with GSA become more of a haggle but you can use this as your most basic understanding.


Great explanation on the PRC!  There is still a couple areas that makes me scratch my head...

The categories of customer submitted in our offer were "Commercial Customers" and "Military Personnel" 0% and 10% commercial discount respectively.  We seldomly give a miltary discount to our armed forces customers for a specific period of time, most being 10%, and was disclosed in our Commercial Sales Practices Format.  "Military Personnel" was identified as our Most Favored Customer, but not used as the basis of award due to the frequency.

Back to the PRC.  The clause states the following:

"Before award of a contract, the Contracting Officer and the Offeror will agree upon (1) the customer (or category of customers) which will be the basis of award, and (2) the Government's price or discount relationship to the identified customer (or category of customers). This relationship shall be maintained throughout the contract period. Any change in the Contractor's commercial pricing or discount arrangement applicable to the identified customer (or category of customers) which disturbs this relationship shall constitute a price reduction."


"During the contract period, the Contractor shall report to the Contracting Officer all price reductions to the customer (or category of customers) that was the basis of award."

In our case, the "identified customer" was "Commercial Customers" and used as the basis of award.  According to the clause, I have to maintain the relationship of the commercial discount and the negotiated GSA discount for this category of customer throughout the remainder of the contract.

I want to give a higher discount to my "Military Personnel" category for applicable products.  Since this was not identified as the basis of award, can I discount them without triggering the PRC?  I don't think I'm disturbing the relationship between the basis of award and GSA because it's another category of customer, but I want to make sure.

As a followup, do I have to notify GSA about this increased discount this other class of customer?  Will GSA want to re-renegotiate discounts?  If they do, can we decline with respect to the PRC?  The second quote says otherwise, but I just want to make sure I'm reading this clause correctly.  Any help is appreciated!


Thanks very much for that, it's a nice summary of the clause for products.  With services, you get a little more complicated however.  For example, how close does your labor category have to be to trigger the clause?  Let's say I have a project manager requisition from a commercial company, and they're looking for someone with a PMP, 5 years experience, telecom experience and a BS degree.  One of my labor categories for GSA has a project manager with a PMP, 6 years experience, telecom experience and a BS degree.  What happens if I'm a subcontractor and the prime insists my proposal pricing for a similar labor category to what I have on GSA is way below my GSA price?  One GSA person told me that was now a commercial transaction regardless of the end user and that triggers the clause.  Another told me that if the end user is government, it's not commercial.  A third told me that if the labor category wasn't identical it didn't matter.  

As a small business, I don't know where to turn with these issues.  Enforcement is becoming much more of an issue, as the fraudulent claims act is being brought in for many of these claims, opening the small business up to astronomical legal fees that could bankrupt them.  On the other hand, there is the opportunity that will be lost if you pass on it because you're confused about the price reduction clause.

Small businesses could really use more training in staying out of those slippery situations.

Char Norman

I think all the CO's that you asked that gave different answers are all right in different ways.

First is to find out the key element for services (or product) and that is who is the ultimate customer? If it's a commercial contractor then they don't get GSA prices and you don't have to report those sales as GSA sales.  I'm guessing you knew that part.

When it comes to commercial labor categories, I wouldn't be trying to find something "close to" your GSA labor categories because that is where the slippery slope begins (thus the 3rd answer you got -- labor category not identical). 

Expanding on your statement "on prime insisting your proposal pricing for a similar labor category to what you have on GSA is way below your GSA price?"----

If you are proposing to a prime, you don't owe them GSA pricing because they are a commercial customer.  Unless you have in writing from the end user, who is a government agency, that the prime is buying on behalf of that agency (and there is a form for that) -- and then in which case you would propose to them your GSA pricing.

The basis of award is the most important item to watch in your contract which is probably based on your commercial price.  But any way you go about it your GSA price should be equal to or lower than your commercial price.  Are you saying you are offering commercial customers (primes) lower prices than your GSA prices for identical labor categories?  In that case you are creating the trigger of a new lower commercial price.

How complicated is your basis of award?  For example, ours is 17% off commercial price.

For example: Our commercial price for an Electrician 1 is $130.00 per hour, Our GSA price is 17% off that.

If we starting doing commercial projects with a rate for an Electrician 1 of  $100.00 per hour, that would now create a new commercial price of $100.00 and our GSA PRC would need to be 17% off the $100.00 and have now established a new GSA rate.

Commercial customer definition we use is -- any customer where the Government is not paying the bill.  If a commercial customer (prime) wants prices using labor categories close to our GSA pricing then we use the commercial price -- not the GSA price.  Otherwise, quote the prime a labor category "similar" to the skill set of the GSA labor category but not exact and you're not in violation.  (in my example, I'd quote an Electrician labor category other than 1)



RDL enterprises

Twice in the last month I have submitted a bid through the GSA Schedule e-buy.  Both times they were awarded to folks who have experience working with the government.  In each case we were in the top 3.  Maybe if everything in the top two or three bids is similar and any of the them can complete the scope of performance, a preference should be made to a first time bidder so that we can then demonstrate for future bids that we have experience.  Saying we came in 2nd doesn't count.  We know we are competing, but just need a little edge.


I agree with RDL enterprises . That would be helping small business. It is important for small business to be given a chance to establish history and experience with GSA.



Paulylock - Schedule 84 - if you contract was awarded it would post on www.gsa.gov/elibrary.  You  can type your company name.  The contact for that office to check status is:

 For general questions, contact:
Brenda McCall
Phone: 817-850-8112
E-mail: brenda.mccall@gsa.gov84

TOTAL SOLUTIONS FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT, SECURITY, FACILITIES MANAGEMENT, FIRE, RESCUE, CLOTHING, MARINE CRAFT AND EMERGENCY/DISASTER RESPONSE - The Local Preparedness Acquisition Act, signed June 26, 2008, authorizes state and local governments to purchase from GSA alarm and signal systems, facility management systems, firefighting and rescue equipment, law enforcement and security equipment, marine craft and related equipment, special purpose clothing, and related services.


Amber - thanks for your great tips and Kudos to those people who have helped you along the way.  All - For access to the PTAC in your area, visit a-ptac.us.org.  Find the PTAC in your area and reach out for more support.

Woman Owned Business - Medical wipes - have you tried the Veterans Administration?  They collaborate with GSA for our schedules program. 

I found the following - Hope this helps

65 II A MEDICAL EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES CategoryDescriptionA-83Carts, Medical Supplies, Patient Application

For general questions, contact:
VA FSS Help Desk
Phone: 708-786-7737
E-mail: helpdesk.ammhinfss@va.gov


Thanks for commenting Janco

Read my mind Paulylock - I go through one at a time - so it was encouraging after cut/paste to see your comment

TLCrull - Just had a meeting with my boss last week about how to improve the process.  Will start another discussion board for Schedule improvements to see your suggestions.

Char  and All - We actually used ot have a buyer mailing list that was categorized by schedule - however we got so many complaints about expired addressess/contact info that it was discontinued.  With new technology - this might be worth revisiting?

Check out the schedules groups and add your comments there as well.  I will also start a new discussion board to capture your thoughts on this specific topic.


thanks everyone - keep the discussions going.





Tricklestar Shipping

Hi Christy,

We are a manufacturer of products that conserve energy and very keen to have our list of products on the Schedule. I have been assigned to this task! FYI, we are operating in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. We are doing our business within US and Canada and Europe. We have a US entity.  I have been doing some reading bit here and there and up to now do not know where or how to get started. I found so many things and procedures but just do not know where is the starting point. Could you advise me, please. Thank you.


 GSA National Customer Service Center
24/5 service hours - 8:00PM Sun through 8:30PM Fri (CST)
(800)-488-3111 / ncsccustomer.service@gsa.gov 


Email or call the above , They can send you a two page PDF of all information you will need to submit a complete application. This if you do it your self.

Reply for Tricklestar Shipping. 










Char Norman


I totally feel you trying to send samples, and for your product that seems like a great idea. 

Because no famous list of all people in the Government who buy your product exists, might I suggest you try going to your local Veterans Administration Hospital?  They could be a great start and they are great advocates of small businesses!

There are also Consolidated Mail Pharmacies in the US that you could send samples to.  Don't send too many though, as some agencies will screen or even throw away unaddressed packages.

We (small businesses) have to work on building relationships and finding the customers by good old fashioned sales techniques:  calls, knocking on doors and asking for the right people!

I think OSBU's could help get the word out more for their areas -- being advocates is great -- but each time I've talked to one they want to help me get a Schedule or tell me exactly what I said above "go find the right customer."  Maybe they could host outreach events partnering industry with true end users? 

Just some thoughts!  Oh, and I have not seen any Women Owned Small Business set asides as of yet. 

Glad to see there is a forum for us to all speak, share and interact!



I think sending sample is a good idea and we would like to do so, but do not have the list to do it, we should share info :)



I can relate to your position as a small business. We are a small business also. ( Minority Owned) Security / locksmith . schedule 84, The sugestion from Char Norman sounds good. I will try to suport your product, As a locksmith we deal with point of entry. when it is not a key,biometrics, or near field technology, Guess what ? Its a simple door knobb. In the trade for 26 years .  I have made a practice of wiping door handles and door knobb before starting work. Veterans Administration Hospital sounds like a good Idea ! I know they have a lot of locks and door handles there. I wish you much success ! Thanks.



I agree with paulylock in regards to the GSA schedule. From what my predecessor has told me, there used to be a system in place where she could check in with the GSA schedule submission and make changes if there were any obvious errors. To wait up to 120 days is too long!

It would be helpful to have some type of training to help submit on the GSA schedule. I have checked into this and have been told that the only types of training available are very basic or for companies that are trying to get their initial GSA schedule. In our company, we have a GSA schedule but it is the first time I am working on submitting on that schedule. It can be very frustrating.

That being said, having the GSA schedule in place has been very successful for us and is definately worth the effort involved - just wish the pain while going through the effort could be lessened.



Woman Owned Business

I have had difficulty identifying the end user of our product Technowipe® Lint-Free Wipes that cleans critical medical equipment and surfaces in Pharmacy, Endoscopy, SPD and Radiology Departments.  Would like to send the end users a sample for their review.  There doesn't seem to be a list of department mail codes or Supervisor names anywhere.  The end user after reviewing would then contact the purchasing people to place order.  Is there any such list available? Contract #V797P-4279b

We have also registered for the Woman Owned Small Business Program, but they are requesting that I send them via the internet my birth certificate.  I think this is a dangerous policy considering web sites can be hacked.  Instead, I am applying for a passport, which can be used as a subsitute. So far, I have not seen any set asides for SIN 65 #A-2(a).

Thank you. 



VA FSS Service

Dear Woman Owned Business,

Unfortunately, there is not a comprehensive list of all VA department mail codes or supervisor names; however, you can find relevant contact information for the hospitals under each VISN through the VHA interactive location map.  The VA FSS “Marketing to the Federal Government” page offers great advice, including how to:

  1. Build your Federal customer base
  2. Develop an effective sales strategy
  3. Leverage various purchasing programs

Additionally, download the “Basics to Marketing Your VA Federal Supply Schedule (FSS) Contract Guide,” as it provides detailed information about marketing your VA Schedule contract.  For additional information contact your assigned contract specialist!

Visit the Women-Owned Small Business Program Federal Contract Program web page for great information about the program, eligibility requirements, and how to apply.  Note that, except for SIN A-13(a) and A-13(c) for gloves under the 65IIA Medical Equipment & Supplies Schedule, there are no set-aside SINs under the VA Schedules program.


-VA FSS Service

(p) 708-786-7737

(e) helpdesk.ammhinfss@va.gov


I agree with contacting the VA Hospitals in theory. However, the names or departments your samples are intended for are not always freely given out, which is understandable considering the amount of phone calls, emails, and literature that some department employees are inundated with on a daily basis. My suggesting is if you are not able to talk to a product specialist, purchasing agent, or other individual within your targeted department, try sending your samples using the correct "mail code" within the VA system.

Here is that list, hope it is helpful




Thank you for taking the time to respond. I was speaking of applying for GSA Schedule Holder (84). Not a solicitation / synopsis. Is there a way for us to check receipt of our application with GSA? For confirmation. Federal Verification Co., INC. informs us that we may have to wait as long as 120 days to begin the final 2 steps of negotiations and clarifications. But we patiently continue to wait for a Welcome Letter.  

Is there more information you can give on this matter please? 

Amber Velasco

I would just like to say that it took all of a year to get to clarifications and another half a year to get to negotiations....that was paying a company to assist us...since we have been awarded our number we have not heard from the assisting company again accept to ask if we wanted assistance in gaining a federal ID number.....????

What I would like to point out is that the PTAC in Houston has been an invaluable ally

for me and although I am still trying to understand a lot of the rules and regulations (you can put the GSA logo on your business cards BUT it has to be in the bottom right hand corner) I learn a little more everyday. Hang in there and even now as you wait to hear back, if you have the means I strongly suggest reading and training as if you already have it. Specifically preparing to up load your price list to sip and MARKETING....I am learning that a lot like commercial business this is going to be an important if not the MOST important thing to master for doing business with the government. That being said, the training courses offered by Christy and others is extremely helpful and your Small Business advocate for your area will play a very helpful role. Thanks to everyone and if anyone has any ideas as to who I might still market to who might have a need for  a staffing firm, it would be most appreciated.

Thanks everyone and have a great day! 


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