The VA Federal Supply Schedule (FSS) Program establishes long-term government-wide contracts that allow VA facilities and other government agencies to acquire a vast array of medical equipment, supplies, services, and pharmaceuticals directly from commercial suppliers. Other government agencies include, but are not limited to:
- All federal agencies and activities in the executive, legislative and judicial branches.
- Government contractors authorized in writing by a federal agency pursuant to 48 CFR 51.1.
- Mixed ownership government corporations (as defined in the Government Corporation Control Act of 1945, as amended). There are 18 of these quasi-government organizations, including the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and Amtrak. These organizations typically have fewer regulatory guidelines for purchasing than the federal government, and are authorized by statute to use the Schedules Program.
- The government of the District of Columbia.
- Other activities and organizations authorized by statute or regulation to use GSA as a source of supply.
The VA FSS Program offers countless opportunities for both small and large businesses; however, becoming a Schedule contractor may require a considerable investment of both time and capital resources. It is of critical importance that before submitting a proposal your firm asks itself: Is a VA Schedule contract right for me?
Is a VA FSS Contract Right for You?
Think it Through
It is important that your firm consider whether you have the ability to effectively pursue a Schedule contract and the resources to both compete for business and manage your contract after award. Offers are accepted continuously, allowing your firm to decide when to pursue the solicitation process.
It is important that your firm consider whether you have the ability to effectively pursue a Schedule contract and the resources to both compete for business and manage your contract after award.
Some important questions to consider before preparing a solicitation response include:
- Do the products and/or services we offer fit under a VA Schedule solicitation? The VA Schedules Program page provides a complete list of the VA Schedule programs and the corresponding Special Item Numbers (SINs).
- Can we compete with current Schedule contractors? It is recommended that you conduct market research to identify and assess your competition prior to submitting a proposal. Review current contractor pricing, terms, and conditions available on NAC Contract Catalog Search Tool, GSA eLibrary or GSA Advantage!.
Your review of the competition should include: competitor’s pricing, delivery times, warranty terms, services, and any other elements that make their offering distinct when compared to your own.
By searching FedBizOpps, Federal Procurement Data System, and Schedules Sales Query in addition to the pricing tools your firm is able to answer:
- Does the VA buy my products/services?
- Which federal agencies have purchased my products/services?
- Where are those agencies located?
- What was the price of those sales?
- What are the buying trends and forecasted sales for my products/services?
- Do we have the time and resources to dedicate towards submitting a Solicitation package and administrating & marketing the contract after award? It is important that your firm have the time and resources needed to submit a Solicitation package and manage/market your contract after award. Visit the Managing Your FSS Contract and Marketing to the Federal Government pages for more information about these post award requirements.
- Are my products made in the United States or other designated country? The Trade Agreements Act is applicable to all VA Schedules. Under the terms of this act only US-made or designated country end products shall be awarded to responsible vendors. It is your responsibility to verify that all of your offered products comply with the requirements of this act.
Note: When an item consists of components from various countries and the components are assembled in an additional country, the test to determine country of origin is “substantial transformation” (see FAR 25.001(c)(2)). OOfferors requiring a determination on substantial transformation should contact the US Customs and Border Protection Office of Regulations and Rulings.
- Can we offer our best value to the Government? Schedule buyers award task/delivery orders to FSS contractors based upon a “best value” determination. Best Value is the “expected outcome of an acquisition that, in the Government’s estimation, provides the greatest overall benefit in response to the requirement.”
Factors that are considered when making a best value determination include (but are not limited to):
||Special features of the supply/service required for effective performance
|Past performance record
||Quality of the proposed solutions and cost differentials
||Return goods policy
||Expertise of the offeror
Do You Qualify for a VA FSS Contract?
To qualify for a VA FSS contract you should:
- Be able to demonstrate that your firm is responsible. We seek to award VA FSS contracts to firms that have been in business for at least two (2) years prior to submitting a proposal.
- Have $150,000 in Commercial sales or $25,000 in Government sales annually.
In accordance with I-FSS-639 Contract Award Sales Criteria, the VA expects that all FSS contractors to exceed $25,000 in sales within the first two years after contract award and $25,000 each succeeding year in order to retain your VA FSS contract.
You should consider the difficulty you may have in meeting this performance requirement if your company is newly established or has low sales of the services/supplies you want to offer to the Government. If you decide to submit an offer under the VA FSS program, it is suggested that you draft a business plan covering how you intend to meet this performance requirement.
- Complete the GSA “Pathway to Success” education seminar. Submit a copy of the certificate of completion with your proposal.
- Meet all the requirements of the solicitation and be able to fulfill all contract obligations outlined in the solicitation.
Offerors are required to submit their commercial pricing and to disclose information regarding their commercial pricing/discounting practices.
After your company has determined that it is eligible for a Schedule contract and decided to submit a solicitation proposal, you are ready for the next steps in the process:
Find the Right Solicitation. Review the information in the VA Schedule Programs page to find the correct Schedule solicitation for your products/services. This page provides an overview of the nine (9) Schedule programs managed by the VA FSS Program and links to each individual Schedule program page.
Get Registered and Certified. See the Compliance Requirements page for a complete listing of these requirements.
- DUNS — The nine-digit Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) is a widely accepted, unique identifier for companies around the world. A DUNS number is a prerequisite to any other registrations.
- CCR — Register in the Central Contractor Registration (CCR) database manages data in support of agency acquisition missions. Vendors must be registered in CCR prior to the award of the Schedule contract. Registration must updated annually.
- ORCA — The Online Representations and Certifications Application (ORCA) provides a consolidated certification process that can be applied to all Schedule solicitation programs and federal contracts. Vendors that complete electronic annual representations and certifications via the ORCA website must update as necessary, but at least annually, to ensure they are kept current, accurate, and complete.
- Submit all required documents including Manufacturer Letter of Commitment and proof of insurance as required.
Being a VA Schedule contractor does not guarantee sales. Additionally, awarded contractors are expected to market their company and Schedule contract to the federal marketplace, while competing with other Schedule contractors for requirements issued by ordering activities. To ensure your firm is prepared, experts recommend you develop a business plan that includes an estimate of the expected return on investment; marketing plan; and staff allocation in support of this new venture.
Now that you’ve made an informed business decision about your firm’s ability to participate in the VA FSS Program, visit the Getting on Schedule page for information on preparing a quality solicitation response and an overview of the proposal review & award processes.
Questions? Contact the VA FSS Help Desk to discuss your firm’s eligibility!