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Everything posted by Loul

  1. Loul

    Negotiation Skills and Tactics

    Interesting topic, but if one takes PepetheFrog's post literally, every negotiation has deception, and I don't think this is bad. A negotiation is undertaken so that each side gets the best deal they can. I am not going to lay all my cards on the table at the start of negotiation, and I don't consider this deception. To me, deception is if I say I am going to use a certain grade of product and know I am going to use a lessor grade. Deception is to out and out lie like "Of course I can meet that deadline" when you know you can't. Saying things like "My boss will kill me if I go any lower" is a way of finessing the deal. Everyone knows it is part of the game and I don't think of this as a deception. Keeping my cards close to the chest is not deception, it is a business practice. Am I going to say that it costs me $10 to make the part but I am selling it for $50? Of course not (unless I am dealing under TINA). The buyer should try and get a fair and reasonable price, but it is not my job as the seller to do his homework for him/her. If I make a product that costs me $1 but I can sell it to you for $30 and you will save $100 per unit manufactured, isn't that worth it? So, I will employ a certain amount of deception in my negotiations based on the criteria mentioned above, but I do not lie or misinform the other person. There are many "tricks" we employ to try and get the advantage on our opponent during a negotiation, and this is part of the game. As long as your deception is not one of materially misrepresenting the quality of the product, the delivery date, or the workings of the product, almost all else if permitted in negotiations. As to Henry Kissinger, I remember reading that the Vietnamese negotiations thought little of the American negotiators. One commented that when they came to Paris for negotiations, the Americans rented hotel rooms by the week. The Vietnamese rented a villa by the year. They were ready to outwait the Americans and win knowing Americans do not like long negotiations and will eventually give in to make the deal at any cost (sort of like Obama and the Iranians). In the end, I think the Vietnamese got the best of us (my opinion).
  2. There are some Primes who play by their own set of rules. A few years ago, I issued a quote to a large Government contractor for a radar altimeter as a commercial item. As justification for commerciality and price, I sent him my price list, catalog and a contract I has with the U.S. Government which stated in the contract that the Government considered the item to be commercial. I then offered the same price as in my Government contract. The Large Contractor said they couldn't accept all this justification and considered the item to be non-commercial. I told them I would accept their justification and submitted a new price based on a production run of the number of units they wanted and included set-up costs in the price. Obviously the price was now higher and the large Prime backed down and said they would accept my commerciality justification. I told them it was too late and this was now my price. They ended up buying the altimeters at the higher price because they were intent on following their internal definition of commerciality (which I felt we met) rather than the FAR/DFAR definition. Sometimes it doesn't matter what you present or how right you are, some Primes have their own set of rules and feel they are big enough to push you around. Decide how important this customer is t you and treat them accordingly.
  3. Loul

    Where to get that pesky degree?

    Florida Institute of Technology has a Master's in Contract and Acquisition Management. I got my Masters Degree there. They have several locations in the Maryland and Virginia area. One may be convenient. http://www.fit.edu/programs/8399/ms-acquisition-and-contract-management#.VG-bzcnOthI
  4. While I have not seen your contract, and thus don't know the full details, it sounds like your contract is incrementally funded. That is, the Government has not yet provided all the funds to make up the total value of the ordered goods or services. This is quite common and you have to notify the Government when you reach 75% of available funding and request additional funds.
  5. Marty - I see you are a proposal writing intern. Perhaps you can leverage that knowledge. Look for a company you want to work for and try to get a job as a proposal writer. This gets your foot in the door. Many companies offer training for their employees, so maybe you can use this to get the contracts training. AND, as a proposal writer you will most likely come into close contact with the contract folks of the company. Make friends, learn what you can from them and mention that you would like to get into contracts. You may be surprised by the results.
  6. Marty - I have worked in the Government Contracting arena for 30 years, always on the Contractor's side. As to entering into contracting in the in the contractor's side, there are always companies looking for entry level contracts people. From my point of view, this would be a person with a degree, some knowledge of business law (but not a lawyer) and an analytical head on his shoulders. That person wold be trained to advance. As to qualifications, I do not know your financial situation, but it may help to take a few contracts courses from some of the commercial training outfits. You could take in into to FAR course or a contracting basics course. All this may help. I can only give you advice at this point as my company is not hiring contracts professionals at this time.
  7. Just to throw in another opinion, I work in industry and have been told by several Contracting officers that under a cost reimbursable contract, you can add in travel costs into your initial quote and calculate your fixed fee on the total dollar amount of labor, travel and ODCs. However, where travel is not included in the base cost/fee calculation and it is not possible to accurately predict travel so that it is "funded" under a separate CLIN or even separately on a case by case basis, allowing fee or profit on this type of travel travel would be a Cost Plus Percentage of Cost CLIN and thus against the FAR. Of course if it is a Firm Fixed Price contract or Task Order, then this would not apply.
  8. Loul

    Basis of Award

    From my experience, yes. My current GSA schedule pricing is based on a large Federal contract we have.
  9. Relative to training, my experience in working with the Government is that if the training is for a contract specific type of training, the Government will allow it, upon request to the Contracting Offier. If it is training for a generic program used in multiple contracts, it is on the contractor to pay the cost as it is part of keeping the workforce current. As an example, an Agency is the only agency running software X. Training for use of this software cannot be charged to another contract or even overhead since it benefits one cost objective. In these cases I have found the Government willing to pay for the training. Hpowever, if we are talking about an application that runs on, say, Oracle, the Government generally takes the position that it is an overhead function since it does (or can) benefits multiple cost objectives.
  10. Loul

    Wifcon.com: My Legacy; My Albatross

    Bob - I too want to add my thanks for the efforts you have expended. I find the WiFCON forum to be very informative and helpful. It has answered some of my questions even before I knew I had the questions! Your efforts in establishing and keeping the site up and running are appreciated by many people, and I offer my heartfelt thanks..
  11. I am a Contractor and recently experienced this same question on a contract with a Government Agency (I won't name names). The Government exercsed our option 7 days after the base contract expired and then exercisded the 2nd option period on time. Their legal staff said that since the first option was exercised late, the 2nd option should not have been awarded and the contract should be considered to be dead. They cited FAR 17.207 (a) and (f). FAR 17.207(a) states When exercising an option, the contracting officer shall provide written notice to the contractor within the time period specified in the contract. and 17.207 (f) states Before exercising an option, the contracting officer shall make a written determination for the contract file that exercise is in accordance with the terms of the option, the requirements of this section, and Part 6. Since we were not notified withion the time limit specified in the contract and in accordance with the terms of the options clause, we were basically out of luck and the contract was not renewed and new task orders were not allowed to be issued!
  12. Including indirect costs in your subcontracting plan is very complicated and requires a system to accumulate the appropriate costs. What did you pay and which of your indirect vendors are large, small, which woman owned, etc. I have found that it is easiest to simply check the box that indirect costs have not been included. If you already submitted your subcontracting plan, I would recommend simply telling the Contracting Officer that you made a mistake and change it to not included.
  13. Loul

    Happy Birthday, Bob!

    Bob - Happy Birthday! And thank you for the wonderful work you do on and for WiFCON!
  14. The "right" to terminate for convenience is one granted to the Government as its right. It is NOT something that is required to be in a subcontract agreement and is not a required flowdown. Most prime contractors include the clause saying that they need this right in case the Prime Contract is Terminated. I never accept the clause and ususll add that the Tfor C can only be exercised if the Prime Contract is likewise terminated for convenience and then only to the extent my work is affected. In 95 out of 100 cases, the prime accepts this change. I sometimes hae to push back a couple of times, but most primes realize this is not a fair clause. If the prime will not budge, I ask for the same right to terminate my obligations without cause with notice. Having said this, I always put a TforC clause in my subcontracts, but I am willing to modify it if the sub requests. Remember that not all rights due to the Government are due to the Prime.
  15. Loul

    FAA and Brooks Act

    That you both for your response. The comment was made by a Contracting Officer, I do not know who specifically as it was made to a member of an organization of which I am a member. The comment we received was simply that the legistation authorizing the FAA AMS relieved us of the requirement to follow the Brooks Act. We felt that this was not the case, and after reviewing the appropriate legistation, felt the FAA was wrong. We do intend to go back and ask for the reference, but before we did, we just wanted to make sure we had not missed something that would have made us look foolish or misinformed. Again, I thank you both for your answers and useful information.
  16. When the FAA went from the FAR to their new AMS regulations, the 1996 DOT Appropriations Act exempted the FAA from some Federal Laws and Regulations, amoung them the Brooks Automatic Data Processing Act. However, now the FAA is saying that they are also exempt from the Brooks Act for Architecture and Engineering contracts. However, I am unable to find any Act, regulation or other documentation exempting them from following the Brooks Act and Qualifications-Based Selection (QBS) when solicitating Architecture & Engineering services. I did find a requirement that the FAA is required to follow the Brooks Act for A&E contracts funded by grants and Airport Improivement Funds, but nothing for direct FAA contracts funded with appropriated dollars. Does anyone in the group know of where the FAA waiver from having to use the Brooks Act for A&E contracting lies? I appreciate the help. Thank you
  17. One way to determine if the rate is fair and reasonabile is to comare it to your own company's salary structure. Lets say that you would hire the same type of person for $52,000 per year. That equals $25 per hour. If his rate is at $25/hour or less, there is justification that hs rate is fair and reasonable. If his rate is higher, why? If it is 30% higher, that can account for vacation time, a bit for health insurance, use of his house as office space, etc. The main idea is to compare his rate with a known rate. If you have a CPFF contract, the direct salaries that you pay your people have been considered to be fair and reasonable. Try to leverage off this.
  18. For foreign vendors, i think you are missing one of the "meaty" portions of the clause. Per paragraph ( c )(2) of the clause (2) By the end of the month following the month of a contract award, and annually thereafter, the Contractor shall report the names and total compensation of each of the five most highly compensated executives for the Contractor’s preceding completed fiscal year in the Central Contractor Registration (CCR) database via https://www.acquisition.gov, if— (i) In the Contractor’s preceding fiscal year, the Contractor received— (A) 80 percent or more of its annual gross revenues from Federal contracts (and subcontracts), loans, grants (and subgrants) and cooperative agreements; and ( $25,000,000 or more in annual gross revenues from Federal contracts (and subcontracts), loans, grants (and subgrants) and cooperative agreements; and Chances are that a major foreign supplier will not have $25 M or more in Federal Contracts or more than 80% of his business from Federal Contract. Thus he might be exempt from reporting executive cmpensation.
  19. While I agree with Vern, there is another way I have used in the past. If the prime demands a subcontracting plan, just issue one with a subcontracting goal of Zero, saying that there are no subcontracting opportunities.
  20. I do not see an issue here in having a subcontractor fill a key person slot. As a contractor, I have proposed subcontractor personnel in key personnel slots and never had an issue. As to the issue of privity of contract, there is no issue. If the subcontractor's person is not working, the Government issues a letter to the Prime Contractor telling him a person working on the contract is unsatisfactory. It is then the responsibility of the Prime to replace the sub's person. No privity needed.
  21. Loul

    Joint Ventures

    The answer lies in the makeup of the JV. If the two companies forming the JV are large, the joint venture is considered to be large. If there is a small company and a large company in the JV, it is also considered large. The exception is if the large and small company have an approved SBA Mentor-Protege agreement and the JV is also approved by the SBA. Then the JV is considered to be small, but the small business must then be the managing partner of the JV and meet the other requirements set by the SBA for JVs. For more information about the Mentor Protege Joint Ventures, you might want to go to the SBA site at http://www.sba.gov/content/mentor-prot%C3%A9g%C3%A9-program
  22. Loul

    GAP in extending POP

    One item you are overlooking, in my opinion, is that if the POP ended on 30 October and no option was exercised, chances are that the Prime Contractor no longer has a unilateral right to exercise the option. Check your contract for exact wording on on the right and process for exercising an option. If this is true, you can always try to negotiate a new effective date going back to 1 November, or negotiate new, higher labor rates.
  23. Loul

    The DoD 23 Point Memo

    I guess I am puzzled. Why is a FPRR fair and reasonable but a FPRA is not? Just because a memo says it is not? A FPRR is a unilaterally imposed pricing structure that the contractor may or may not agree with. The Contractor should have the change to negotiate and take exception to DCAA recommendations. The last time I looked, DCAA auditors were pretty green and some incompetent. Why should a Contractor agree to this? Also, if the rates are negotiated, why are they not fair and reasonable since they are based on actual numbers?
  24. No particular schedule. We have a consolidated schedule. The work will be for professional engineering services. And i agree with your statement about security and base access which will not be a concern. I am trying to ascertain that there is no GSA restriction on using foreign nationals. In all my research to date, I can find nothing that prohibits it.
  25. I have a question that I am hoping someone can answer. If I get a GSA Schedule award for work overseas, is there any restriction on the use of local foreign nationals? I can find nothing that says no, and thus I assume that I can. Can anyone provide an insight to this question? I thank you in advance.