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muddypuddles

Quotes vs. Proposals

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Hello,

Can I use FAR 13.5 procedures and ask industry for a "proposal"? I was advised that FAR 13 procedures should request Quotes, and FAR 15 procedures should request proposals.

I have an 5.5M knowledge based services requirement that requires a Technical Capability write up, Staffing plan, and management plan. I would say this requirement is a little more complex than a 150k buy.

 

 

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42 minutes ago, muddypuddles said:

Can I use FAR 13.5 procedures and ask industry for a "proposal"? I was advised that FAR 13 procedures should request Quotes, and FAR 15 procedures should request proposals.

Be careful receiving advise without a source or citation.  Read FAR 13.106 titled "Soliciting Competition, Evaluation of Quotations or Offers, Award and Documentation."  Notice the use of "quotations or offers" in the title and throughout that section.  Also see FAR 13.106-2(b)(1) which states:

Quote

The contracting officer has broad discretion in fashioning suitable evaluation procedures. The procedures prescribed in parts 14 and 15 are not mandatory. At the contracting officer’s discretion, one or more, but not necessarily all, of the evaluation procedures in Part 14 or 15 may be used.

Now refer to FAR 2.101 for the definition of "offer" which states:

Quote

“Offer” means a response to a solicitation that, if accepted, would bind the offeror to perform the resultant contract. Responses to invitations for bids (sealed bidding) are offers called “bids” or “sealed bids”; responses to requests for proposals (negotiation) are offers called “proposals”; however, responses to requests for quotations (simplified acquisition) are “quotations,” not offers. For unsolicited proposals, see Subpart 15.6.

So to answer your question directly, yes you can request a "proposal" under FAR Part 13 procedures...but ask yourself, considering the definitions and distinctions between quotations and proposals, are you asking for a proposal for the right reasons?

As for your evaluation approach, it sounds like you may be preparing to conduct an "essay writing contest" so I'll refer you to the following threads and posts by Vern Edwards which hopefully help you reconsider and/or inform your approach.  Remember, in fashioning criteria for evaluation of offerors, focus on those factors that are discriminators rather than merely following a template and doing whatever was done the last time the services were contracted for.

 

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Under FAR Part 13, you may issue either an RFP or an RFQ.

When you issue an RFP, you can create a contract unilaterally by accepting the offer or proposal. When you use an RFQ, you cannot accept the quotation and create a contract. The contract arises from a RFQ when the contractor signs a contract document you provide or when the contractor commences performance of the work covered by the quotation.

Quote

13.106 -- Soliciting Competition, Evaluation of Quotations or Offers, Award and Documentation.

13.106-1 -- Soliciting Competition.

(a) Considerations. In soliciting competition, the contracting officer shall consider the guidance in 13.104 and the following before requesting quotations or offers:

(1)

(i) The nature of the article or service to be purchased and whether it is highly competitive and readily available in several makes or brands, or is relatively noncompetitive.

(ii) An electronic commerce method that employs widespread electronic public notice in not available; and

(iii) The urgency of the proposed purchase.

(iv) The dollar value of the proposed purchase.

(v) Past experience concerning specific dealers’ prices.

(2) When soliciting quotations or offers, the contracting officer shall notify potential quoters or offerors of the basis on which award will be made (price alone or price and other factors, e.g., past performance and quality). Contracting officers are encouraged to use best value. Solicitations are not required to state the relative importance assigned to each evaluation factor and subfactor, nor are they required to include subfactors.

2.101 -- Definitions.

Offer” means a response to a solicitation that, if accepted, would bind the offeror to perform the resultant contract. Responses to invitations for bids (sealed bidding) are offers called “bids” or “sealed bids”; responses to requests for proposals (negotiation) are offers called “proposals”; however, responses to requests for quotations (simplified acquisition) are “quotations,” not offers. For unsolicited proposals, see Subpart 15.6.

13.004 -- Legal Effect of Quotations.

(a) A quotation is not an offer and, consequently, cannot be accepted by the Government to form a binding contract. Therefore, issuance by the Government of an order in response to a supplier’s quotation does not establish a contract. The order is an offer by the Government to the supplier to buy certain supplies or services upon specified terms and conditions. A contract is established when the supplier accepts the offer.

(b) When appropriate, the contracting officer may ask the supplier to indicate acceptance of an order by notification to the Government, preferably in writing, as defined at 2.101. In other circumstances, the supplier may indicate acceptance by furnishing the supplies or services ordered or by proceeding with the work to the point where substantial performance has occurred.

(c) If the Government issues an order resulting from a quotation, the Government may (by written notice to the supplier, at any time before acceptance occurs) withdraw, amend, or cancel its offer. (See 13.302-4 for procedures on termination or cancellation of purchase orders.)

 

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Hello MuddyPuddles,

FAR 13 has many references to "quotations or offers".  You can us FAR parts 14 & 15 to evaluate your offers.

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Do not use FAR 15 procedures to conduct a simplified acquisition. Read this article from Monsieur Edwards: Competitive Processes in Government Contracting:  The FAR Part 15 Process Model and Process Inefficiency. You will find it here: http://www.wifcon.com/anal/analcomproc.htm.

Here is a useful excerpt:

Quote

Do not follow the FAR Part 15 Process Model when making simplified acquisitions. When using simplified acquisition procedures to buy complex supplies or services worth in excess of $25,000 and for which a synopsis must be published, and if planning to ask for more information than just a price quote, either: (a) select one firm for one-on-one negotiations based on experience, past performance and a price quote and then negotiate to agreement on details, or (b) narrow the competitive field of competitors on the basis of experience, past performance and a price quote before asking for more detailed proposal information, providing a specification or statement of work and clauses for price quote development by fax or email. Do not use FAR Part 15 terminology or refer to FAR Part 15 in the RFQ. Do not establish a competitive range, negotiate with more than one firm at a time, or solicit revised quotes or offers from more than one competitor.

In addition, read this protest decision: Finlen Complex, Inc., B-288280, Oct. 10, 2001: http://www.gao.gov/products/407353.

You will see how the Army converted a FAR Part 13 simplified acquisition into an onerous FAR 15 negotiated procurement and fell victim to all the FAR 15.3 procedures.  

 

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I second Napolik's comment and reference to Vern's post. 

Do not use Part 14 or 15 procedures when conducting a Part 13 acquisition.  Besides, it defeats the whole purpose of being given a "simplified" procedure to conduct certain acquisitions.  Stick with an evaluation scheme consistent with the flexibility that FAR 13.104(a)(2) and 13.106-2(b) permit.  Keep it as simple as possible.

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Part 14 is actually quite simple, if price is your only consideration. But it isn't necessary to be that formal for many simple procurements, e.g., conducting public bid openings, etc.  Oh, never mind. 

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SUPER THANK YOU TO ALL!

This requirement would fall under FAR 15 because it exceeds 150k, but Subpart 13.5 allows for use of those procedures for above SAT. Which confused me further.

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19 minutes ago, muddypuddles said:

SUPER THANK YOU TO ALL!

This requirement would fall under FAR 15 because it exceeds 150k, but Subpart 13.5 allows for use of those procedures for above SAT. Which confused me further.

When you say "use of those procedures" you mean Part 13, correct?

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