Upcoming GSA Multiple Award Schedule Solicitation Will Benefit Many 8(a) Program ParticipantsJul 12, 2023
Last year, the U.S. General Services Administration’s (GSA) Federal Acquisition Service (FAS) announced a planned solicitation refresh (or mass modification) to the Multiple Award Schedule (MAS). The proposed changes in the notice included six overall changes to the solicitation and six changes to specific large categories, Subcategories, or Special Item Numbers (SINs), but what really caught our attention was the confirmation that FAS will implement a Small Business Administration (SBA) Partnership Agreement (PA) that will establish an 8(a) Pool in MAS that will only be available to current 8(a) program participants. The partnership agreement was signed in May 2023 and changes are expected to take effect sometime in July 2023. If you’re an 8(a)-program participant who has been thinking or wanting to get on a GSA schedule, this is the time to do it.
Summary of Anticipated Modifications:
- Establishment of an 8(a) Pool under MAS for current 8(a) Program participants.
- A modification will be issued to all existing 8(a) MAS contractors accepted by SBA.
- New 8(a) contractors seeking a MAS contract award who are currently active 8(a) Program participants will be offered to SBA for acceptance into the MAS 8(a) pool. Once eligibility is determined and accepted by SBA, the contractor will be added to the 8(a) pool upon award of the MAS contract.
- MAS 8(a) Pool contractors will receive an icon in GSA eTools indicating they are eligible for competitive and sole source 8(a) task/delivery order awards.
- MAS 8(a) Pool contractors will be eligible for sole source awards for as long as they remain active in the 8(a) Program and continue to qualify as small for the size standard corresponding to the NAICS code assigned to the sole source order, at the time of award. 8(a) Pool contractors will continue to remain eligible for competitive set aside awards for up to five years from the date of award, or until re-representation in accordance with FAR 19.301-2(b) (whichever is first), even after the contractor has exited the 8(a) program. However, an Ordering Contracting Officer (CO) may request re-certification of size status in connection with a specific 8(a) order; a contractor that has graduated from or otherwise left the 8(a) Program cannot represent its size status as an eligible 8(a) participant.
What Does this Mean for Current and Prospective MAS Contractors?
- An opportunity to get on a GSA schedule. Changes will apply to existing 8(a) MAS contractors, and new 8(a) contractors seeking access to a GSA schedule.
- Access to work set aside for 8(a)s. The 8(a) Pool will give new and existing 8(a)s access to competitive and sole source 8(a) task/delivery order awards.
- A chance to prolong the benefits of your status. 8(a) Pool contractors will continue to remain eligible for competitive set aside awards for up to five years from the date of award, or until re-representation in accordance with FAR 19.301-2(b) (whichever is first), even after the contractor has exited the 8(a) program.
Other Reasons Why You Should Get a GSA MAS Contract
If you’re an 8(a) and you’re thinking this is a great opportunity, here are four more reasons why you should consider adding GSA MAS to your government contracting strategy:
- Reasonable Eligibility Qualifications. There are two eligibility qualifications for Award: Financial Responsibility (i.e., you must provide two years of financial statements) and Past Performance (i.e., you must have two years of measurable past performance). Some exceptions may apply.
- Shorter Sales Cycle. GSA MAS ordering procedures are designed to streamline the procurement process for federal buyers, which can shorten the sales cycle for GSA Contract holders.
- Captive Audience. The GSA MAS contract is the most widely used government contract. Government buyers (federal and even some state or local) use the GSA eLibrary website to search for companies that hold a GSA MAS Contract.
- Straightforward Pricing. GSA schedule contracts require all schedule contractors to publish an "Authorized Federal Supply Schedule Pricelist.” Once you develop your MAS price list you can upload it to GSA Advantage!, post and hyperlink a copy on your website, and distribute your MAS pricelist to potential customers.
Does this Change Apply to You?
It does if you’re an active participant of the 8(a) program and your status will last through the full application and acceptance process onto MAS. This includes the acceptance process GSA has established with the SBA in the partnership agreement.
Unfortunately, if your 8(a) status ends in a couple of months, you might not make it in time. Those who have exited the 8(a) program will not be eligible. The SBA PA requires GSA to maintain a pool of contractors that have gone through the MAS offer and the acceptance process with the SBA. If a contractor has exited the 8(a) program and has not passed the SBA’s offer and acceptance process, they will not be added to the Pool.
How Trident Can Help
Preparing for a GSA schedule can be difficult for small business owners who have to run the daily ins and outs of their business while delivering value on their existing contracts. The to-do list is lengthy and includes registration on SAM.gov and eOffer, templates to download, document reviews, eligibility checks, quality control plans, and pricing. Although we don’t do it all for you, we can walk you through it and keep you moving forward. Here are the specific ways Trident can help:
- Work with you to review your preparation efforts to date, current service offerings, and portfolio of qualifying work.
- Validate the Categories/SINs you can apply for under the GSA MAS.
- Develop a realistic project calendar, so you know if you’ll maintain your 8(a) through award and be able to join the 8(a) Pool.
- Populate templates for general proposal sections (Section I: Administrative/Contract Data and Section II: Technical) and category-specific requirements (as necessary).
- Assist with assembling the solicitation response and reviewing the content/format for compliance.
If you're an 8(a) looking for support or someone considering applying, contact us to see how we can help.
Written by Alexis Romero
Alexis is our Business Intelligence Lead and a capture and proposal expert at Trident. She brings extensive experience in defense contracting, proposal management, business and pipeline development, orals coaching, and UI / UX to our clients. Based in San Diego, she supports clients around the world as part of our globally dispersed team.