What is the GSA?
GSA stands for General Services Administration. The GSA is an independent government agency which manages federal property, including operating and maintaining buildings, supplies and transportation acquisition and communications management. It was established in 1949 by President Truman to help manage and support the basic functioning of federal agencies.
Today, the GSA provides workplaces by constructing, managing and preserving government buildings and by leasing and managing commercial real estate. Acquisitions made by the GSA offer private sector professional services, equipment, supplies and IT to government organizations and the military.
How Does the GSA Hire Contractors and Vendors?
In order to do work with the GSA, a business has to go through a series of stringent vetting processes. The purpose of these vetting processes is to prevent financially irresponsible or unethical vendors from gaining access to the volume of purchasing made by the federal government. The first step in doing business is to identify the “schedule” under which your goods or services fall. You then complete a System for Awards Management (SAM) profile and submit a proposal with all necessary supporting documentation. This might sound like a straightforward process, but successfully completing these steps and submitting a proposal that will be accepted by the GSA is challenging. Once a vendor is approved and has a GSA contract, they are now authorized to directly seek business with the federal government through a variety of established channels.
Vendors are tracked and rated while doing work with the government and receive an overall rating at the end of a project or service. This rating is logged and visible to all agencies seeking to hire contractors for any type of work. Therefore, it is advantageous for a vendor to receive a good rating at the completion of a project. Vendors with good ratings are more likely to be hired again.
How big is the GSA?
The GSA employs about 12,000 federal workers and has an annual operating budget of roughly $26.3 billion. The agency oversees $66 billion of procurement annually. Approximately $500 billion of US federal property is managed under the GSA which is spread among leased properties, owned buildings, and a vehicle motor pool.