"The cost savings I receive as an NSA member is one of the strategic advantages I have in my market. Also, sharing best practices with other members helps us improve productivity and profitability, enhancing our bottom line."     Arlo Luke, Varsity Facility Services, Pocatello, ID

Frequently Asked Questions


What is the difference between a buying group and a GPO?

A: A buying group can be defined as several independent companies, typically in the same or similar businesses or industry that leverage their combined purchasing power in exchange for better pricing and terms on certain products.  These products are purchased by the buying group and then sold to members of the group.

Unlike a buying group, a GPO does not purchase any products.  Instead, they leverage the combined purchasing power of a group of similar businesses and negotiate special pricing contracts directly with manufacturers.  The contracted savings are then passed on to the GPO members.

The National Service Alliance (NSA), which started in 1996, is today the leading GPO for building service contractors (BSCs) and related businesses serving some of the largest BSCs in the United States.

Are GPOs new?

A: GPOs date back to the early 1900s when they primarily served the healthcare industry.  After a slow start, their membership grew dramatically.  By 2007, it was estimated that nearly 96 percent of all acute-care hospitals in the U.S. and nearly 100 percent of all community hospitals were members of at least one GPO.

What types of products and services are included in the contracts negotiated by NSA?

A: NSA negotiates discounts on a wide variety of products and services that BSCs use every day in their businesses. Categories include janitorial hard goods, chemicals and cleaning solutions, paper and liners, professional cleaning equipment, office supplies and services, transportation, technology solutions, wireless and long distance phone service, promotional items, uniforms and more. A complete listing can be found under the “Partners” tab on the NSA website.

If I join the NSA, do I purchase products through the NSA?

A: No.  We know cleaning contractors develop close business relationships with their distributors.  When a contractor joins a GPO such as the National Service Alliance, their distributor is notified that the contractor is to benefit from special pricing on certain products and equipment as contracted by the NSA. 

We should note that there have been situations in which distributors have recommended their cleaning contractor clients to join the NSA.  With the cost savings, contractors often purchase more products or higher quality products making joining the NSA a win-win for both the distributor and the contractor.

Is the contractor restricted to just the manufacturers that have partnered with the NSA?

A: No, but if a contractor wants a certain chemical or equipment from a source that has not partnered with the NSA, they will have to pay “sticker” price for that product.  However, the NSA has negotiated contracts with some of the largest and most well-known brands in the industry, including 3M, EcoLab, Diversey, Kaivac, ProTeam, even Dell Computer for purchasing office equipment.

Are many jan/san manufacturers associated with NSA?

A: The NSA  has more than 50 manufacturing “partners,” including some of the most prominent jan/san companies in the industry such as 3M, Diversey, Clark, Nilfisk, and others. 

What is the average savings when working with a NSA?

A: Savings can range from 10 percent to more than 50 percent, similar to a buying group.  One NSA cleaning contractor member says his average savings on tools, chemicals, and equipment is about 51 percent annually, essentially cutting his supply costs in half.

Is membership in NSA open to any cleaning contractor?

A: Usually it is large cleaning contractors that will benefit the most from joining a GPO.  Because of this, membership is typically open to contractors with sales of $2 million or more.

How do I know that I will save money if I join?

A: Prior to joining, a dedicated NSA representative will perform a confidential cost analysis for your business which will also project the savings you should realize as a member.

As a member will I have access to NSA pricing lists?

A: Yes. Members can access the NSA price lists by logging into the NSA website, selecting the “Partners” tab from the main menu and then selecting the products or equipment from the manufacturing partner for prices.  Additionally, NSA representatives are always available to guide you through the process and ensure you receive the NSA pricing from your preferred consumables distributors and NSA's equipment and services partners.

How do I join the NSA?

A: Visitors to our website can download the membership application. They can also call 800-322-2256 with any questions.  Once completed, the application can be either faxed to 704-919-5643 or emailed to nsa@nansa.org 

How can I renew my membership?

A: You will be notified via email when your membership is up for renewal. You will have the option at that time to pay your membership fee via PayPal or to send a check to NSA.

How do GPOs finance their operations?

A: Most GPOs, including the NSA, typically benefit from administrative fees, generally based upon the purchase price of items sold to each member, as well as joining and membership renewal fees.

Does NSA membership provide benefits beyond special pricing?

A: Yes. NSA partners provide industry-specific education and training resources to help you and your employees be more productive. They often call upon members to test new products, participate in brainstorming sessions and collaborate on the development of new technology. NSA sponsored meetings provide an opportunity to share best practices and network with your peers. NSA is committed to implementing innovative partnerships that will improve your bottom line.

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