What Is a GSA Contract?

by Laura Reynolds ; Updated September 26, 2017
Modern jetfighter

GSA contracts are agreements by the federal government to purchase goods and services from private companies. GSA Schedule contract program expenditures contribute billions of dollars to the economy every year. Once a small business applies successfully to sell to a government department or agency, including the armed forces, it may sell to any part of the government via the GSA Schedule contract vehicles.

What Contracts Cover

The General Services Administration manages a large share of the acquisitions made by the entire federal government. Office furniture, construction, information technologies, military equipment, scientific equipment and vehicles are some of the items purchased through GSA contracts. GSA contracts also cover professional services in translation, finance, engineering, human resources, environmental and other sciences, marketing and facilities maintenance.State and local governments may also use companies on the GSA Schedule to realize savings that a contract on such a large scale often provides.

Getting on the GSA Schedule

The GSA publishes a list of bids on a schedule published each year. Companies apply for approval, either directly through the GSA or through another agency such as the Small Business Administration. The SBA can establish a subcontractor network for small businesses to participate in larger contracts, such as construction of a new building. Each supplier must meet specific criteria that have to do with its product or service and human resource policies. Companies, once admitted to the schedule, are bound by their original bids and by strict quality and service policies.

About the Author

An avid perennial gardener and old house owner, Laura Reynolds has had careers in teaching and juvenile justice. A retired municipal judgem Reynolds holds a degree in communications from Northern Illinois University. Her six children and stepchildren served as subjects of editorials during her tenure as a local newspaper editor.

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