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Requesting Specific Discounts from Schedule Contractors

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FAR 8.405-4 says we may request a price reduction at any time before placing an order.

I'm wondering about the opinion of WIFCON readers on requesting a price reduction to a specific price.  For example, imagine I receive three quotes at $101,000, $100,000, and $99,000, all three with a perfect and identical level of effort and skill mix and all three at reasonable prices, in comparison to my government estimate and available budget of $98,000.  I already know I may ask all quoters for non-specific price reductions and cross my fingers and hope that at least one comes back at $98,000 or lower.  But here is the question:  May I specifically ask the contractors for a price reduction to an amount not exceeding a specific dollar figure, here $98,000? 

I am aware of a 2009 GAO Bid Protest decision B-400777, OPTIMUS Corp., wherein the GAO clearly tells us that seeking a price reduction under FAR 8.405-4 from all quoters does not constitute discussions pursuant to FAR Subpart 15.3, and also a 2015 decision B-410636, Sapient Government Services, wherein the GAO tells us the same thing.

Your thoughts?

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I don't know of anything that would prohibit it. The only risk I see is that one of the quoters would have been willing to come back at something lower than $98,000. Also, you could have all three come back at $98,000, which could complicate the selection decision. 

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I echo Don's comments.  You may be interested in the following link on GSA's website, though as with most Government contracting content it is mostly focused on "what" rather than the "how" or "why."  http://www.gsa.gov/portal/content/200397

What is made clear in the previous link, under the third bullet, is that Contracting Officers can request price reductions multiple times (in the example they present, the reductions are requested in the RFP and post-evaluation) so, conceivably, you could request reductions more than once (if necessary).  Moreover, since FAR 8.405-4 is silent on specific procedures for requesting price reductions, I would follow the guidance of FAR 1.102(d) and exercise sound business judgment based on the particular circumstances to determine how best to proceed.

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If you have confidence in the government estimate, why not?  I would tell each company that the government desires paying no more than $98,000 and what's their best price.

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Bingo!  That tells them your objective and they can guess that there is competition. 

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