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SLK Contractor

Can the government award work that could be considered part of prime’s SOW directly to sub?

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We are a small business sub to a large prime on a large, long running contract with a broad SOW.

The government customer would like to award a subset of this SOW to us, under a separate contract vehicle (which we have).

How much latitude does a CO have to go directly to a sub, when the work could be interpreted to be included under the broad SOW of a competitively awarded prime contract?

Can the CO interpret this subset as distinct from the prime’s SOW and award it under different contract vehicle, even though the prime’s SOW is written broadly enough that such distinction is a bit of grey zone?

Any advice on how the CO could define this requirement that would help the distinction? Pitfalls to avoid?

Thank you in advance for any feedback.

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It's certainly possible, and I'd like to think the CO should know how to accomplish this. We don't have anywhere near enough information on your client's contract to know the correct path.

Some words of caution:  Be careful about going around your client's back to talk to the end customer, especially to cut out a chunk of your client's business. Also be prepared to potentially not get award of the new, separate contract (assuming it gets competed).

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Guest Vern Edwards
7 hours ago, SLK Contractor said:

How much latitude does a CO have to go directly to a sub, when the work could be interpreted to be included under the broad SOW of a competitively awarded prime contract?

Can the CO interpret this subset as distinct from the prime’s SOW and award it under different contract vehicle, even though the prime’s SOW is written broadly enough that such distinction is a bit of grey zone?

If by "subset" you are talking about specific work applied to a specific object, work with regard to which the government is contractually bound to the prime, then the CO would have to partially terminate the prime for default or convenience and then conduct a new procurement in accordance with the applicable rules, whatever they may be.

7 hours ago, SLK Contractor said:

Any advice on how the CO could define this requirement that would help the distinction?

How could anyone give you any advice who doesn't know the specifics?

7 hours ago, SLK Contractor said:

Pitfalls to avoid?

Ignorance and stupidity.

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8 hours ago, SLK Contractor said:

We are a small business sub to a large prime on a large, long running contract with a broad SOW.

It really doesn't matter to you, the subK, whether you get the work through the large, long running contract with your prime or directly from the government customer. It's the same work and it should cost you exactly the same to perform, regardless. If that's the case, why do you care? Why are you trying to help out the government customer and the CO?

What the customer may gain is a cheaper price, since your prime will no longer be burdening your costs with its costs and/or fee. And your prime loses a bit of revenue and perhaps some absorption of its indirect costs. Those parties are the winners and losers here, so why are you involved in trying to make this happen?

Further, as others have noted, you may be jeopardizing your long-running relationship with your prime. What are you gaining in return for that risk?

 

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On 3/9/2018 at 8:03 PM, here_2_help said:

It really doesn't matter to you, the subK, whether you get the work through the large, long running contract with your prime or directly from the government customer. It's the same work and it should cost you exactly the same to perform, regardless. If that's the case, why do you care? Why are you trying to help out the government customer and the CO?

I agree with the bulk of your post except, generally, with this part. I can think of plenty of reasons why a vendor might rather be a prime, than a sub. Large primes especially tend to have rather inflexible one-size-fits-all purchasing systems that place a great deal of administrative burden on their subs--without regard to whether the government places similar demands on the prime. 

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2 hours ago, kevlar51 said:

I agree with the bulk of your post except, generally, with this part. I can think of plenty of reasons why a vendor might rather be a prime, than a sub. Large primes especially tend to have rather inflexible one-size-fits-all purchasing systems that place a great deal of administrative burden on their subs--without regard to whether the government places similar demands on the prime. 

You are not wrong. Primes have a notorious tendency to pay their subKs slower than the government is paying them. As for your comment about the primes' purchasing systems, that's also true, though most subKs learn to work through the issues.

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