Expand Your Customer Base with State and Local Customers
GSA Schedule contractors are familiar with the large list of agencies that can purchase from their Schedule and know the benefits of having a GSA Contract — streamlined federal acquisition; but did you know that contractors can also provide this streamlined acquisition option to State and Local customers under certain contract programs and Special Item Numbers (SINS)?
The GSA Cooperative Purchasing program opens the Federal Supply Schedule program to these entities and allows them to enjoy a myriad of discounted products and services in support of their missions. In a time where it feels like anything can happen, we are seeing the importance and impact that state and local government can have for their communities. In Government Fiscal Year 2021, GSA contractors have reported $771,028,101 in sales to state & local entities via the Cooperative Purchasing program.
Who Are the Cooperative Purchasing Customers?
GSA follows 40 U.S.C. § 502 (c) for its definition of state or local government as follows:
“The term, ‘State or local government’ includes any State, local, regional, or tribal government, or any instrumentality thereof (including any local educational agency or institution of higher education).” Educational Institutions include:
- Local elementary, middle, and high schools operated by public school boards;
- Public colleges, community colleges, technical colleges; and
- Public universities that provide at least a two-year program that offers a degree or offers credit toward such a degree.
The term does not include contractors or grantees of state or local governments.”
If the customer fits the above description, then they are eligible to acquire products and services from GSA Federal Supply Schedules via the Cooperative Purchasing Program. GSA also helps with eligibility determinations if the customer is unsure of its eligibility (explained below).
The Eligible SINs
The Special Item Numbers, or SINs, awarded on your contract are GSA’s way of defining the scope of the product or service that has been awarded. Read the SIN description on eLibrary and look for “NOTE: Subject to Cooperative Purchasing” to find out if the awarded products/services may be eligible for the Cooperative Purchasing program. The program is generally limited to IT and Security SINs.
The Cooperative Purchasing Identification Sticker
Contractors who are actively participating in the Cooperative Purchasing program will have an icon next to the awarded SINs on contract in GSA eLibrary. This provides the contractor and the customer with a visual indicating the awarded products/services’ eligibility for state and local procurement.
Is a Modification Required?
Important to note that if a contract has a Cooperative Purchasing-eligible SIN, this does not mean that the contractor can offer its products and services to state and local customers. If the Cooperative Purchasing sticker is not visible in GSA eLibrary, then the contractor must submit a modification to ensure participation in the program.
The modification must be submitted in GSA eMod under the Cooperative Purchasing modification type. Contractors should follow guidance received from your Contracting Officer about this type of modification, however the modification itself is generally a one-pager that simply requests participation in the Cooperative Purchasing program.
Coley completes hundreds of modifications annually and can assist your company.
Include your Coop Purchasing Sales with you GSA Sales Reporting
Contractors are still required to report sales for this customer type on a monthly or quarterly basis, however the reporting must be distinguished for the customer type. Sales are separated using a special identifier assigned to the awarded SIN. State and local customer sales must be reported under a SIN identified with “STLOC” at the end of the SIN number.
Contractors should login to the GSA FAS Sales Reporting Portal (SRP) to ensure that they have the “STLOC” SIN type, the reporting period (monthly/quarterly), and the rate of the Industrial Funding Fee (IFF).
How to Help your Customers Determine Eligibility
Contractors may run into state and local customers who are unsure if they are eligible to acquire products and services from a Federal Supply Schedule via the Cooperative Purchasing Program.
Contractors can instruct these potential customers by having them contact GSA and request an Eligibility Determination. Once approved, the organization will be added to a list of entities that have already been determined by GSA.
GSA Electronic Tools and Services Available for State and Local Customers
State and Local Agencies can shop for awarded products from approved contractors in GSAAdvantage, however they will need to create an account by clicking the “Register” link found at the top right of the home page.
Eligible customers may also solicit opportunities in GSA eBuy; GSA’s electronic bid system designed for customers to reach the GSA Schedule contractor base directly. The registration as a “Buyer” may be found at the top right of the eBuy home page.
State and Local customers should contact the GSAAdvantage team if there are any issues regarding the customer’s domain name.
Potential state and local Customers are listening! GSA kicked off the year with training regarding the Cooperative Purchasing program. With approximately 150 participants, 51% of attendees were from State, Local, and Tribal Government. Contractors and customers may register for upcoming training courses provided by GSA.
Please reach out to Coley GCS if you have any additional questions regarding Coop Purchasing to grow your GSA Sales with your State and local customers. We have helped many companies update their contract to make sure they can take advantage of this opportunity. Schedule a no-cost initial call at a time that is convenient for you or call us directly at 210-402-6766 or reach us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Julio is a Senior Consultant with Coley GCS, LLC, a Government Contracts Consulting, Coaching and Training company. Julio has over 10 years’ experience helping companies succeed with their GSA schedules.