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  • 22 Jun 2018

    Panel Built Guide to GSA Purchasing

    The General Services Administration, or GSA, was formed in 1949 at the recommendation of the Hoover Commission to act as an “Office of General Services” for the federal government.  Since its first job (renovating the White House in 1949), the GSA has acted as an overseer of procurement for government buildings and facilities, ensuring all business done through the agency is conducted fairly at a predetermined price.  


    GSA as a whole functions through a series of “Schedules.” A schedule in the GSA sense is a pre-negotiated contract that is agreed upon between a company and the government that includes delivery conditions, warranties, etc.  When looking to purchase a product through GSA, a government agency can scan a variety of GSA schedules in a particular product category to compare companies.  Aside from the company’s product pricing, the GSA contract provides additional info on the company including their status as a small business concern and whether the business is female and/or minority-owned.   These business types qualify for special GSA opportunities that are especially set-aside for certain small businesses. GSA is a preferred way of business for government employees and agencies. Although companies are not forced to go through GSA to do business with the government, many choose to do so for two primary reasons: price and convenience.  With GSA all the pricing and company information is explicitly and conveniently displayed and can be purchased instantly, in comparison to regular deals that require back and forth conversations including quoting and negotiations.

    Like we mentioned above, the entire purpose of the GSA is to make the process of purchasing extremely easy for the average government procurement manager.  Using the GSA Advantage website, they can type in a wide variety of search terms, look at products and pricing from a variety of different distributors and manufacturers, and easily decide which would work best for their needs.  In most cases, they would know exactly what they are getting, what quantity it will be in, and even have a relatively good idea on when they can expect to receive it.

    Modular-Office-With-RestroomHowever, this is not the case for all purchases through GSA. Take for example a modular office. Panel Built, Inc. has all of our pricing listed out for our GSA schedule, just like all other schedule holders. And like a lot of other products you will see on GSA Advantage, modular offices are technically considered a piece of equipment and is even tax deductible as one.  However, most other products do not have a type of flexibility and variability that modular offices have.

    Let’s start at the beginning of this scenario.  The procurement manager is looking for a modular office and wants to start out on GSA Advantage to see what options that she has available to her.  Likely, the first things she will find are a few “cookie cutter” prefabricated offices.  These are modular buildings that have already been spec’d out and have a set dimension, that’s how they are able to have pricing for it readily available.  But in the majority of cases, the project does not call for this exact building (a big rectangle with no interior walls), and in, for this reason, modular offices can be difficult to purchase strictly through GSA Advantage.

      Panel Built has all the pricing for their modular offices and components 100% visible for all procurement managers looking into our product, but even if the manager knows exactly how many linear feet of modular wall panels they are going to need, they will likely not know the number of parts required to entire put the building together.  In this scenario, Panel Built, Inc. will often work with the manager to help price out the modular office building that specifically meets their needs.  This way, the facility will be able to utilize the GSA system, while still getting the discount specified in the vendor’s GSA Schedule.  In other cases, the project will go out to bid with a design and specifications have been predetermined.  At which time, eligible GSA vendors will put in a bid in order to win the project.  This way of choosing a supplier is kind of the opposite of the traditional GSA way.  When a project goes out to bid, the project head will give a list of specs and vendors have to meet these specs at the lowest possible price.  Traditionally the vendors give the specs (still at the lowest possible price), but the purchase chooses among them. The larger the project, the better the chance it will go out to bid instead.

    Panel Built GSA Info

    Panel Built, Inc. is one of the largest suppliers of modular offices, mezzanines, and guard houses to the United States government through GSA.  Working in Schedule Title 56 of GSA, Buildings and Building Materials, Panel Built often is working on facilities in military bases and government buildings across the United States. 

    GSA Contact



    • Contract #:GS-07F-0186X
    • Contract Period: January 1, 2011, thru December 31, 2020
    • Duns #:88-4472135
    • Panel Built, Inc. is a SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN
      • AWARDED SINS :361-10A, 361-10B, 361-10D, 361-10E, 361-10G, 361-10H, 361-30, 361-32
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