Welcome to Part Two of our article series explaining how a bid process works. This week’s article will cover what you can expect to find in a bid package. If you’ve never received a bid package before, this article will provide you with a detailed description of each included document and how each one relates to the bid.
As mentioned in the first article, every bid package is different. Whether the package is from a different agency, or just covers some simple changes such as modifications to existing regulations or specifications, you’ll never find two bid packages that are exactly alike. Bids come in small and large packages; again, it depends on the type of service or project the agency is looking for. The contents of the package will also depend on what needs to be included in your proposal, based on State laws and regulations. Most packages come with a lot of reading material, and it is highly recommended that you read everything! It’s important to understand all of the details of a project in order to be sure that you can perform the work required and comply with the contractual obligations for the life of the contract.
You’re now ready to go through your package and see what is required from you in order to submit a bid proposal. Here’s what you can expect in your bid package, based on an IFB (Invitation for Bid) for New York State.
Your Bid Package
The very first item you’ll come across in your bid package is the IFB letter. This letter will explain what the agency is soliciting for, whether it’s a project, service, or the purchasing of commodities or technologies. It will spell out what is included in the package, as well as provide you with the date and time the bid submission is due. It will also explain how the documents need to be submitted in order to meet bidding eligibility requirements. The date, time and location of the bid opening will also be provided. Finally, the last part of the letter will explain how questions should be submitted to, and addressed by, the agency. The next item in your package will be the Procurement Lobbying Packet, which needs to be filled out and submitted along with your bid. These documents provide an explanation of State laws and specify that certain communications between the agency and vendor may be limited, or in some cases prohibited entirely. I briefly mentioned these restrictions in the first post; whether or not they apply will depend on the nature of the specific bid. The Procurement Lobbying Packet must be filled out and signed to provide proof that you, the vendor, understand and agree to abide by any applicable restrictions.
The third part of your package will likely include a collection of reading material on the Standard Clauses for State contracts, which describe the practices and regulations that apply to the contract as required by State law. This is also where you may find the MWBE and EEO policy statements, along with a staffing plan and MWBE Utilization Plan documents; these will also need to be filled out. If your bid package includes MWBE documents and you’re not sure why they are required or what to do with them, contact your State’s MWBE department (if one exists in your state) to ask for guidance, or get in touch with the soliciting agency directly.
The final, and probably most important, items in your bid package are the detailed specifications of the contract, which include general standards, contract terms and provisions and other information about the bid and contract. Depending on what type of service the agency is looking for, you may also find a list of systems and equipment used by the agency, if, for example, the contract is for inspections and maintenance work.
This section may also include a Prevailing Wage schedule. If a bid does include a prevailing wage requirement, you must include the total dollar amount allocated for PW in your grand total of the bid in order to qualify for the award. At the end of this section you will also find all the required forms that must be filled out, signed by you and then submitted as part of the bid proposal.
The following documents may be included in your bid package:
Bid Proposal - This will look different for each bid, depending on the service being sought and the buying agency issuing the contract. The bid proposal may be one page in length, or it may have several pages. This is where you will provide the total cost of your products or services for the duration of the contract term.
References - Bidders must supply a minimum of three references for the buying agency to contact. Your references should include companies, individuals and businesses that you have worked with in the past, and who can rate your performance and provide insight into your professional experience.
Confirmation of Compliance - This document is an agreement that you, the vendor, must sign to confirm that you have read the contents of the bid package and agree to be bound by the conditions of the contract.
Certification: MacBride Fair Employment Principles - This is a particular corporate code of conduct that companies from the United States must sign before doing business in Northern Ireland.
The Small, Women, Minority Owned Business Enterprise Questionnaire – A questionnaire to determine whether or not you qualify as a small business, or a woman or minority-owned business.
You may be thinking to yourself: this definitely seems like a lot of work! But remember, you’ve already saved time and effort by becoming a BidNet member and will benefit from having targeted bids sent directly to you. Now, it’s your turn to take the time to go through the package and gain a full understanding of the work involved in the contract, and the details of the contract itself. Keep in mind that the benefits you reap by winning a contract award contribute to the long-term success of your company!
Next week’s article will cover the bid opening process and contract award.
Danielle Calamaras | BidNet.com