Jump to content
The Wifcon Forums and Blogs

Recommended Posts

I have been underbid three times this summer, which shouldn't raise any eyebrows.

But all of these have WD released with Labor Categories defined, and fringes defined as well.  The FTE requirements were such that bidding fewer people would have been next to impossible - in fact one of these was a defined hours level-of-effort.

And I have been underbid 25-30%.  The winner has to bid the same WD wages and fringes as I do, and there is no wiggle room for FTEs.  Indirects do exist but are not high enough to warrant this kind of difference.

Any idears about how this is happening?  My stacking and math are quite accurate, please take this possibility off the table.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Maybe the other offerors are under-priced?  Or have some competitive advantage?

If you want, you can monitor the contract awards in FPDS-NG and see if there are later modifications.  You can ask for copies of the awarded contracts and modifications under FOIA.  You can also ask for copies of the price reasonableness evaluation documentation (if any exists) and the selection decision documentation.  All of these might be redacted during the FOIA process, but you still might be able to learn something.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks - I didn't know the awarded contract could be available under FOIA.  Thanks also for not offerring that I'm making math errors.  I am not.  I might be making errors in my approach.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Vern Edwards

The awarded contract may be available through FOIA, but federal courts have ruled that unit prices are not disclosable if the contractor objects, FAR 15.506(d)(2) notwithstanding, although lawyers will argue about that.

https://www.justice.gov/oip/blog/foia-post-2005-treatment-unit-prices-after-mcdonnell-douglas-v-air-force

https://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=719ca28f-45dd-4c1d-861e-eaa32d1a0229

If this is something that interests you, you might want to check for the current status of the law. I have not kept up with developments.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, ji20874 said:

If you want, you can monitor the contract awards in FPDS-NG and see if there are later modifications.

Us in the acquisition world, inside or outside the government, go to FPDS-NG due to our familiarity.  And yes a non-gov type can register for more advanced searches.   There is another way you might try that as I understand gives the same info - https://www.usaspending.gov/#/

Valuable resource for tracking government procurements to gain that competitive advantage!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Vern Edwards said:

The awarded contract may be available through FOIA, but federal courts have ruled that unit prices are not disclosable if the contractor objects, FAR 15.506(d)(2) notwithstanding, although lawyers will argue about that.

https://www.justice.gov/oip/blog/foia-post-2005-treatment-unit-prices-after-mcdonnell-douglas-v-air-force

https://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=719ca28f-45dd-4c1d-861e-eaa32d1a0229

If this is something that interests you, you might want to check for the current status of the law. I have not kept up with developments.

 

Thanks for the reference, Vern. Apparently, the Court did not make it a hard and fast “per se” rule that the Government can’t disclose unit prices under FOIA.  It is apparently situational. 

The Article also specifically notes that the FAR provides for disclosing unit prices to unsuccessful offerors as part of a debriefing and more recently to the general public.

Quote

“...two disclosure provisions of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) -- provisions which not only have long required disclosure of unit prices in both the post-award notice to and debriefing of unsuccessful offerors, see 48 C.F.R. §§ 15.503(b)(1)(iv), 15.506(d)(2) (2004), but which more recently have included an additional requirement that "the items, quantities, and any stated unit prices of each award shall be made publicly available, upon request," id. § 15.503(b)(1)(iv).”

I realize that you are dealing with Services here.  Construction industry publications, such as “The Dodge Reports” and “ENR “  (Engineering News Reports ) have published public contract awards for decades, including unit prices, for IFBs as well as contracts using negotiated acquisition procedures.  

Of course, FAR part 14 procedures include public bid openings and recording of bids. All of the bid abstracts I saw included line item prices. 

Dont give up, too soon Corduroy..  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Vern Edwards

Corduroy's problem won't be solved by finding other contractors' unit prices. The solution for him is to take a hard look at his own pricing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, Vern Edwards said:

Corduroy's problem won't be solved by finding other contractors' unit prices. The solution for him is to take a hard look at his own pricing.

Perhaps.  Perhaps it would be more helpful to compare his/her line item prices to see where he/she was "underbid".  

I didn't mentioned it but, if Corduroy was "underbid", then he/she was probably an unsuccessful bidder or unsuccessful offeror, depending upon the type of acquisition process used.

If a debriefing was involved or available, then, CF should/might be able to see the unit prices of the winner, if that would be helpful.

If this was a public "bid" under IFB procedures, the line item prices should  be available in the Abstract of Bids.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Vern Edwards said:

Corduroy's problem won't be solved by finding other contractors' unit prices. The solution for him is to take a hard look at his own pricing.

I'm certainly willing to do so.  I believe others are using innovative approaches, whereas I am strictly dependent on math.

I have heard some fallout where one lady had her salary cut from $45K to $30K and quit.  I don't know how to price massive cuts like this and get away with it.  Another instance was a single FTE where the Q&A indicated the specific Labor Category on the WD, with specific H&W and Sick Pay.  Got underbid by 30% on that one too somehow.

In most cases, the "line items" are no more than 12 months with a FFP on Schedule B, so being able to see line items won't help a lot.

Thanks for the discussion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Outside direct labor and fringe, I would review O/H and G&A structure and rates. This could account for the variation in price between various bidders.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×