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Best way to find incumbent contract number?

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I am trying to find out the awarded value for 5 incumbents on an upcoming re-compete for a service contract. I know how to use FPDS to find this information, given I have the contract number to search by. I am looking for advice on where to find that contract number, if even possible. 

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You could ask the Contracting Officer.  If contracts were FPDS reportable then they may freely give you both the previous contract numbers and award amounts.

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Fortunately, you can probably use the information that you do know to find the information that you don’t know.  You know that there are 5 incumbent contractors, you presumably know the general nature of the work that they were awarded, and you presumably know the agency that awarded the contracts.  

You probably know the company name of one or more or all of the incumbents.  That is where I would start, since that will give you a smaller data set to examine and hopefully get you to your goal faster.  If you have a good sense of the incumbents, I would start with the smallest of the incumbents first, again, because you will get a smaller data set.  

Once you search on company name in FPDS and you find the precise company that you are interested in, I would do a new, separate search on just that company’s DUNS number.  Why?  Company names are inconsistently used in FPDS and you may miss out on some important records (potentially the very contract that you are looking for).  Complicated companies with multiple DUNS, differing Global DUNS of parent companies, name changes/mergers/acquisitions/novations, are a topic for another day.  

Once you have all of that specific company’s contracts listed in FPDS, dump them to a .csv file (upper right hand corner of the ezSearch results screen).  From there, you can sort by contracting agency and date.  You may get lucky and the company only has one contract from the agency that you are looking for, or you can see the patterns of contracting activity and see the various contract numbers, timing, $ amounts obligated, etc. to get you to the specific contract number that you are looking for.  From there, you can search specific contract number(s) in FPDS and view the details of the record(s) to validate whether you found your target or not.  

Once you have your first target contract number, you can either repeat the process for the other 4 companies, or you can do some trial and error searches on the contract number pattern.  It is not uncommon for agencies that award multiple-award contracts to do so in a sequence (xxxxxx-xx-x-xx15, xxxxxx-xx-x-xx16, xxxxxx-xx-x-xx17, xxxxxx-xx-x-xx18, xxxxxx-xx-x-xx19)—sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t—it takes 4 seconds to try and see.  If that doesn’t work, try something else.

As they say, there are more ways than one to skin a cat, and everyone has their own techniques for finding information.  But, this is what I would do in the specific scenario that you described.  Sounds complicated/convoluted, but it takes me WAY less time to do these types of searches and find the precise information that I am looking for than it did for me to type this message up.  Good luck!  If you need assistance, feel free to private message me…

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Another resource that can used in many situations is USAspending.gov (https://www.usaspending.gov/#/). FPDS data feeds into this resource.

It will give you a lot of different criteria that can be used to find past contract actions. I would suggest using it with the NAICS, PSC Code, agency and location of the work to start.

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