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I posted a RFQ for Commercial Services on FBO. I receive four quotes that are acceptable. The prices came in $1,050,000, $1,075,000, $1,125,000 and $1,175,000. Programming only has $950,000 available for this project. Is it acceptable to go to the lowest quote I have and ask them to reduce their price to $950,000 and send them the PO if they agree? I am essentially counter offering their offer. Thoughts?
I am weighing the options for the recompete of a non-complex commercial service requirement subject to the Service Contract Act (SCA) with an estimated value of $4M. It will be a socioeconomic set-aside. Market Research has confirmed there are capable Contractors in the targeted socioeconomic set-aside and narrowed down the procurement strategy to either a Part 12, 13, or 15 acquisition (no GSA or Part 8 sources for that matter or internal IDIQ/Part 16 vehicles fit the scope). The Part 15 approach is not desired nor necessary based on these other available options. We are potentially leaning towards a Part 13 approach using Simplified Acquisition Procedures (SAP) in accordance with (IAW) 13.5--Simplified Procedures for Certain Commercial Items as opposed to a combined synopsis / solicitation procedure IAW with FAR Part 12.603 due to flexibility, benefit, and no need really for having to describe the relative importance of evaluation factors when SAP are followed (see FAR 12.602(a) for comparative difference refresh of evaluation factor differences if need be). My question concerns confusion between the promoting competition i.e. solicitation requirements of FAR 13.104 and the synopsis and posting requirements of FAR 13.105. FAR 13.104 only requires promotion of competition to maximum extent possible in consideration of the administrative cost of the purchase and states if using SAP and not providing notice via the Governmentwide point of entry (GPE i.e. FBO), maximum competition can ordinarily be obtained by soliciting quotations or offers from sources within the local trade area (requirement location is DC suburb so no shortage of available Contractors). FAR 13.104(b) also states “Unless the contract action requires synopsis pursuant to 5.101 and an exception under 5.202 is not applicable, consider solicitation of at least three sources to promote competition to the maximum extent practicable.” Is it not reasonable to interpret this as I could just identify three sources from Market Research to whom to send a solicitation (electronically) and not worry about the Publicizing Contract Actions requirements of FAR Part 5 (as this action would normally require synopsis pursuant to 5.101 and no exception under 5.202 is applicable)? But then I interpret 13.105(a) as stating the complete opposite --> “The contracting officer must comply with the public display and synopsis requirements of 5.101 and 5.203 unless an exception in 5.202 applies.” No exception from 5.202 applies to my requirement based on my analysis (really wish SAP was explicitly called out here but conversely then why does 13.104(b) say acceptable to solicit three sources to ordinarily obtain max practicable competition). FARTheLoveOfGod why does the FAR do this? Am I misinterpreting 13.104(b)? If I am, then what's the purpose of identifying and soliciting three sources using SAP and then having to post on FBO anyways...rhetorical question as I do not see a purpose. By no means am I trying to circumvent FAR requirements, rather I am just trying to understand and interpret them as written because I don’t see how the use of SAP would achieve the purposes of FAR Part 13 as iterated in FAR 13.002 (reduce admin costs, promote efficiency and economy, avoid unnecessary burdens, and like I said it will be a socioeconomic set-aside) when a notification to the GPE via FBO IAW FAR 5.101 and 5.203 per FAR 13.105 is required for this requirement and potentially result in an overwhelming number of responses. I see how the evaluation process is simplified from a quality aspect using SAP e.g. easier to evaluate responses, but how then would SAP be "simplified" from a quantity aspect concerning the potential burden of a potentially overwhelming number of responses due the to FBO posting requirement...seems counterintuitive to FAR 13.002 because if I synopsize then I'll basically have to send a subsequent solicitation to any vendor that expresses interest from a fairness aspect and then the procurement is potentially no longer "simplified" or "practicable". Furthermore, every labor category is basically subject to the SCA so the local Wage Determination sets a baseline for competitive pricing, and it is about a certainty that the FBO posting part will not result in some previously unknown vendor being able to provide ultra competitive pricing. In conclusion and FARTheLoveOfGod, is it permissible to just solicit at least three sources directly using SAP and not worry about the requirements of FAR 5.101 and 5.203 since no exceptions apply IAW 5.202 but since SAP are being utilized? I think the answer is yes. Hopefully, you understand from where my confusion above arises, and if you think I have misinterpreted, which probably means you disagree with my answer, then maybe we can agree that FAR 5.202 (the FBO exceptions), 13.104, and 13.105 could arguably stand some revisions / clarifications. Looking forward to your input.