Should I hire a consultant or do it myself?
Q: Why wouldn’t I want to just pay someone to prepare my proposal for me?
A: You might, but there are a few things you can gain by writing it yourself. We have listed some below:
A full understanding of your proposal and the ability to give GSA a full understanding of your offerings
Savings of up to $10,000 or more
You truly do have to gather all the information. If you’re going to gather it, you might as well flow it into GSA’s required formats
An introduction to federal government proposal writing - you need to know how to win RFQs later
True understanding of the solicitation and key clauses
Knowledge about GSA's systems
A relationship with your contracting officer
GSA can be more lenient when they review a proposal submitted without a consultant
Q: Why can't a consultant give GSA a full understanding of our offerings?
A: A good consultant hopefully can to some extent, but you know your business better than anyone else. A consultant could miss some of the finer nuances of your project experience or other technical proposal elements.
Q: Can't I just explain it all to the consultant?
A: You probably can, but why explain it multiple times? Save time and explain it once and thoroughly to GSA. Our sample documents and templates can help you see what you need to tell GSA, so you can do it only one time.
Q: How can you determine how much money I can save?
A. Most expert consultants charge a minimum of $5,000 to complete a proposal. Others charge $15,000 or more. If you pay less than $2,000 for DIY tools, you can keep more cash in your pocket.
Q: Why do I need to understand the solicitation and key clauses?
A: The solicitation contains all the clauses to which you are agreeing as well as all the instructions for your proposal. Regardless of who completes your proposal, you need to know which clauses will impact you the most. The solicitation is more than 150 pages long (including large category attachments). Having someone guide you through it is critical. If you hand over your proposal and don't read the solicitation, you're missing important information.
Q: What are GSA's systems?
A: GSA uses a variety of systems, starting with sam.gov and eoffer.gsa.gov. When you complete your own proposal, you learn which you will need to use.
Q: How would I know what I have to gather if I don't have a consultant?
A: By reading the GSA Proposal Guide, reviewing the solicitation and doing an activity in the 30-day Workbook every day, you will know and understand exactly what you need to do.
Q: What do you mean by an "introduction to federal proposal writing"?
A: Getting a GSA Schedule opens the doors to federal government opportunities. If you're providing services or complex products, you will probably have to submit proposals, and completing your own GSA proposal helps you understand how to do that. It also helps you if you plan to respond to any open market proposals.
Q: Why would it matter if I or my consultant work with the GSA contract officer?
A: You will need to work with your GSA CO throughout the life of your contract. It's important that you develop a relationship with them as they have significant influence over your contract. Getting to know them through the initial contract review process is a good way to set a firm foundation for the next 5, 10, 15, or 20 years.
Q: Why are GSA COs more lenient for those who submit by themselves?
A: GSA COs can sometimes grant more leeway to individual contractors, particularly small businesses. They may be more apt to conduct clarifications if everything is not perfect, as opposed to rejecting your proposal. Of course, it does depend on each individual CO.
Q: Can't I just use a consultant for the life of my contract and skip learning how to work with a GSA MAS?
A: You can! It will just cost you money and experience, and put you at a higher level of risk as your confidential business records are in someone else's hands.
Q: How is doing my own GSA proposal going to help me understand other GSA contract vehicles?
A: Working on your own GSA proposal teaches you:
1 - What to look for in a solicitation.
2 - How to respond to purchasing contract officers.
3 - Basic information about the different GSA systems.
4 - How to approach contract negotiation and award.
5 - What is in the Federal Acquisition Regulations.
6 - How to see what your competitors are doing in the GSA/Federal Marketplace.
Q: Why does DIY GSA do it this way?
A: Before the internet, there was really no choice. You had to hire a consultant to write your proposal. With the tools available now, we can share our knowledge effectively to more businesses and give them the information they need to succeed. We believe in transparency of process. While some companies truly do need someone to do this for them (larger, complex companies with large, complex offerings), we believe many, or most, can complete a winning GSA proposal with some guidance.
We'd like to break the cycle of turnkey consultant dependency. You need to know how to work with the government. There's no reason you shouldn't start learning now.
Q: How will we be able to manage a contract if we don't pay a GSA Consultant to help us after we get the contract?
A: GSA has the Vendor Support Center and GSA Interact. We will also be offering an administration and marketing guide in the near future. We have published one in the past, but as soon as we'd get it updated, GSA would change sites and processes. We think they may settle down on the big changes for a while, so we're hoping to be able to update our guide and get it to our clients before the end of June.
While GSA is working to make things easier for contractors, we've found that they don't understand how things work from the contractor's point of view. We do. We deal with it every day. Our contract and administration guide will show you how.