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GSA Solicitation

In the federal space there are two types of solicitations or websites firms can go to find RFQs. The first is the full government solicitations found on sam.gov. The second would be the GSA Solicitations or GSA (only) Solicitations found on GSA’s ebuy system. In this page I will be going over the GSA ebuy system and why when it is used correctly it creates a big advantage for GSA contract holders.

GSA Solicitation

How GSA ebuy Works

The mechanism for how a GSA Solicitation or GSA ebuy RFQ is put in place is that a federal buyer logs into the GSA ebuy system and develops the GSA Solicitation. A key element to how they will go about doing this is whether the solicitation will be for a service, product, or both. If they are attempting to procure a service, they will have a description as to the tasks to be performed and other specifications. If They are needing a product or group of products, they will have a list of items needed to fulfill their shopping list. For a combination both processes will be used. Once they have created the GSA Solicitation, GSA ebuy has a unique feature where the federal buyer is able to send out bid requests to the GSA Schedule holders whom they think are the best match for the procurement. They are not always right in their selection but at least it gives them a starting point for bidders for their GSA solicitation. The general rule of thumb that federal ebuy users work form is that if they send out seven requests, this in turn should deliver three completed RFQs. The reason they are targeting this magic three number is that this is the number of responses or bidders needed in order to have a FAR compliant bid.

If you are not one of the original firms selected don’t worry, if you are a GSA schedule holder you are still welcome to bid on the GSA solicitation. For whatever reason you just got overlooked by the contracting officer when they were initiating the RFQ. The win rate between firms that were originally notified by the procurement officer and those that were not is about the same, therefore there is not an advantage in being originally selected other than not having to have performed a search for the opportunity.

GSA Solicitation

How Large is ebuy Opportunity

GSA Solicitations are big business. Approximately $10 billion dollars per year is transacted using the GSA ebuy system. The number of transactions per year is around 100,000 and this means that that average procurement is a near perfect size for small businesses at right around $100,000 each.

Another reason ebuy is great for small business is that it can be difficult to get your first contract or your foot in the door with your targeted federal agency. However, the small transaction size offered on ebuy gives small businesses the use of the GSA Solicitation system as a gateway for their first sale into an agency. From there they can make new contacts and work towards obtaining more, larger sales down the road. Where normally a firm might be competing with a dozen or more sellers on an open bid with ebuy that number is usually around three. The ebuy procurement is also quick and where normally it might take months to cultivate a new opportunity with a target agency the ebuy procurement could be settled in a few short weeks.

ebuy is a great feature of the GSA Schedule System and is one of the many reasons firms that have a GSA Schedule contract average over 1 million dollars per year in sales from their GSA Schedule.