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 DHS has a guide about an advisory down-select that, in my opinion, elegantly deals with the price issue.  

Offerors are notified of the findings at each step, and are advised - but not required - to proceed or drop-out.  


(a) The Government intends to conduct the evaluation and selection process in two (2) Steps:

(1) Step 1 - Advisory. Factor 1 will be evaluated in this step. Each Offeror will receive an Advisory Notification. The Advisory Notification will inform the Offeror of:

 (i) the basis of the Government advisory notice; and

 (ii) either that it will be invited to participate in Step 2 or, based on the information submitted, that it is unlikely to be a viable competitor with the basis for that opinion. The intent of this distinction is to minimize proposal development costs for those vendors with little or no chance of receiving an award. However, notwithstanding the advice provided by the Government in response to their Step 1 submissions, all respondents may participate in Step 2.

(2) Step 2. Factors 2 and 3 will be evaluated in this step. The selection decision will be a trade-off involving all three factors, Mission Suitability, Technical/ Management and Cost/price, according to FAR 15.101-1, Tradeoff Process. Risk assessment will be a part of the overall evaluation. • Participation in Step 1 is a mandatory part of this acquisition. Failure to participate in Step 1 or the Oral Presentation within Step 1 will preclude further consideration of the Offeror’s proposal. Step 2 submissions will not be accepted from any Offeror who has not completed Step 1. • Results of Step 1 will be carried over to Step 2 for the overall evaluation of proposals.

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