The General Services Administration -- an independent federal office mandated to support the operations of U.S. government agencies -- serves as a go-between for such agencies wanting to purchase goods and services from outside, commercial sources.
The GSA's operations focus on four areas, with it acting as landlord, property manager and office supplier, as well as an acquisitions specialist soliciting pricing from prospective suppliers.
A GSA contract indicates a firm's status as an approved supplier and its agreement to establish government-wide prices and terms. A GSA schedule available to all agencies then includes the firm's items and services.
Other federal agencies can purchase items included in an approved firm’s GSA contract at previously determined prices, without the need to secure additional bids.
The prices in a GSA contract generally reflect volume discount pricing that's typically at a level equal to the prices the firm offers its best customers.
- government center, boston, Massachusetts image by nextrecord from Fotolia.com