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Keep up to date with the evolving world of government bidding with tips, best practices, trends, research and observations. Let BidNet's knowledge and experience work for you.

Telecommunications: How Vendors Use Contract Award Information to Win Government Bids


Telecommunications: How Vendors Use Contract Award Information to Win Government Bids

For vendors who are just beginning to work in the public sector, the government contract process can be confusing. Bidding on government contracts involves navigating many unknowns and requires vendors to find out which agencies are posting bids, what types of products and services they are looking for, and the conditions that apply to awarded contracts. Members of BidNet can make this process easier by spending time in the Bid Library, which provides vendors with detailed information about closed contracts.

Past bids and contract awards can provide valuable information for vendors, including detailed explanations of what an agency is looking to acquire, the exact specifications for the products or services they need, and the conditions of the contract (such as delivery method, how the work should be performed and the quantity of items needed). Why is the information found in closed contracts and awards essential to your success in the government contracting sphere? There are a few reasons. Finding out who your competitors are and how much they charge for their services will help you decide what to charge for a particular job - and if you can beat your competitors’ prices you’ll have a better chance at winning the contract.

Also, researching many different bid documents will help improve your understanding of how the proposal process works and how bid documents should be completed.

Below, we’ll look at a closed telecommunications supplies contract and identify the useful information it contains. This example is a Request for Quotation (RFQ) that was posted by the City of Tacoma in June 2015.

The Bid Documents

Depending on the products and services an agency is looking for and the terms and conditions of a contract, a bid package can be several pages long or just one or two pages. This particular RFQ is a relatively small bid package, only seven pages long.

The first six pages describe the products required by the agency, their specifications and quantities - in this case, telephone handsets, cables, tubing, cords, splitters, cable tie mount and amplifiers. The last page of the bid package states the general terms and conditions of the contract, which are simple and straightforward. These are the types of bids that vendors love: easy to read and understand, with the exact specifications easily identifiable, so all a vendor needs to do is enter a price for each item and calculate the total.

Note that the RFQ states in the general terms and conditions that freight charges must be included in the quoted price.

Image 1

How to Submit the Bid Proposal

The terms and conditions for submitting a proposal on this bid states that all proposals must be submitted before 11 am on the bid opening day; that all responses must be clearly marked with the bid number, opening date, and the name of the buyer; and that every submission must clearly state the words “Request for Quotation”. At the top of the bid documents, the agency also mentions that proposals may be delivered by regular mail, email or fax.

Accepted delivery methods are not always the same for each bid or agency. Some agencies only allow delivery of the proposal by regular mail, express courier or in-person; make sure that you are fully aware of how the agency wants the proposal to be submitted.

The Bid Tabulation and Bid Award

 In the image below, you can see a list of all vendors who submitted a bid proposal, as well as prices for different items. For this RFQ the vendors were not required to submit a price for every item listed.

Image 2

With bids like this one, where multiple items are being requested, the buying agency can choose to purchase from one vendor or multiple vendors. In this particular case, not every vendor submitted prices for every item listed; therefore the agency would award the contract to multiple vendors – those who quote the lowest price for each item. As you can see from the award information below, the agency did just that:

Specification No.

Description

Submittal Deadline

Results

Action Date

Status/Award

TP15-0418N

Telecommunications Supplies (stock)

07/06/2015

Final 

07/16/2015

Times Fiber Communication, TVC Communications, Graybar Electric Co Inc, Synergy Telcom Inc

 

Search through Multiple Contracts

Remember that every bid opportunity is different – the specifications of every bid will depend on what is being acquired. For example, bid packages for service contracts tend to be longer than bids for products because they provide very specific instructions to the vendor about what materials they can use, the time frame in which the work must be completed, any maintenance requirements that are part of the contract, repairs or inspections that are included with the service, or any other details.

It’s a good idea to look at several different types of bids and contracts in the bid library to see how one differs from the next.

Contacting an Agency

If you have any questions relating to a particular bid, or if you are just wondering if an agency would be interested in purchasing your products or services, it’s a good idea to contact the agency directly. They can provide more information about contract opportunities, and it never hurts to let an agency know what you can offer them. Building relationships is essential for any business, and it’s no different when working in the public sector.

Having access to past bids and contract awards is beneficial, not only finding bids but also for learning how to prepare a proposal, whether you are selling products or services or bidding on long or short-term contracts. By taking the time to search through bids that relate to your business, you’ll learn what an agency requires from a potential vendor and how to write a winning proposal. Take note of what to look for in a bid, do your research, and you too could be a winning vendor!

Danielle Calamaras | BidNet.com

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Keep up to date with the evolving world of government bidding with tips, best practices, trends, research and observations. Let BidNet’s knowledge and experience work for you.

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