45-minute bid confirmation deadline ruled unreasonable by GAO

July 25, 2014 by

A procuring agency acted unreasonably by leaving a voicemail for a winning bidder requiring confirmation of the bid within 45 minutes of the voicemail.

In a recent GAO bid protest decision, the GAO found that the winning bidder had already confirmed its bid by responding to a Bid Validation request sent by the FedBid electronic reverse auction system.  Under these circumstances, the agency’s second request for a bid validation – with a very short response time – was improper.

The GAO’s decision in AeroSage LLC, B-409627 (July 2, 2014) involved a Bureau of Prisons (BOP) request for quotations for the next-day delivery of 6,000 gallons of fuel for the FCC Coleman Federal Prison in Coleman, Florida.  The RFQ was issued as a small business set-aside and was posted on the FedBid website as a reverse auction.  The RFQ called for award to the lowest-priced, technically acceptable quotation.

Keep reading this article at: http://smallgovcon.com/gaobidprotests/gao-45-minute-bid-confirmation-deadline-was-unreasonable/

Protester’s scores could be lower than in original evaluation

July 24, 2014 by

When a procuring agency re-evaluates proposals in response to a protest, the agency need not stick with the results of the original evaluation.

As demonstrated in a recent GAO bid protest decision, when an agency re-evaluates proposals, it is expected that the re-evaluation could result in different findings and conclusions–including new conclusions that are not favorable to the protester.

The GAO’s decision in All Points Logistics, Inc., B-407273.53 (June 10, 2014) involved the Department of Homeland Security’s solicitation for Enterprise Gateway for Leading-Edge Solutions II (EAGLE II).  The EAGLE II solicitation offered different tracks in which offerors competed for awards under three functional categories.

Keep reading this article at: http://smallgovcon.com/gaobidprotests/proposal-re-evaluation-protesters-scores-could-be-lower/

Beware of ‘government vendor registration’ websites that charge a fee

July 22, 2014 by

We’ve previously alerted you to the existence of websites which unnecessarily lead businesses to pay a fee to be registered in government databases such as SAM, the System for Award Management (see, for example, http://gtpac.org/?p=7326).

Now, we want to make you aware of other websites that purport to get businesses registered to do business with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) — for a hefty fee, of course.

Please be aware of the fact that commercial websites (.com websites, in other words) are just that — commercial.  When a commercial website advertises to help you with the process of registering to do business with the government, there’s almost always going to be a fee involved.  On the other hand, government websites (designated as .gov) offer free advice and registration.

One commercial website — currently running an aggressive advertising campaign directed at businesses — solicits vendors to fill out a “FEMA Contract Registration Form.”  Once the form is filled out and submitted on-line, applicants receive the following message: “Thank you for submitting your information. We will be in contact with you shortly. Click below to make a payment of $500.00 for this service.”   By clicking on the “Buy Now” button, you’ll be directed to a site to pay $500.00 via a PayPal account for “FEMA Registration.”

Please know that FEMA does not charge any money to register as a vendor to do business with them.  And neither does any other federal agency.

In order to register as a potential vendor to FEMA, we recommend you:

  1. Visit FEMA’s official website at http://www.fema.gov/doing-business-fema.  There, you are given instructions to register in SAM (www.sam.gov) and then download FEMA’s Vendor Profile Form at http://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/29748?id=6679.
  2. Read the instructions for submitting FEMA’s Vendor Profile Form for free.  The instructions are located at: http://www.fema.gov/media-library-data/20130726-1858-25045-7342/ilp_factsheet.pdf.

To receive assistance with any aspect of vendor registration with any government agency at no cost, please feel free to contact the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center.  Our contact information is at: http://gtpac.org team-directory.

If your business is located outside the state of Georgia, you can get free help from the Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) nearest you.  For a map of locations and complete contact information for PTACs nationwide, please visit: http://www.aptac-us.org.

 

The top 3 biggest mistakes small and minority firms make in government contracting

July 15, 2014 by

The Unites States federal government is the world’s largest single buyer of products and services spending billions of dollars annually. And when the federal market procurement dollars are combined with State and local government agencies procurements then the overall government market is an ideal market for minority businesses to generate revenue and grow. This is especially the case with our tax dollars are involved and given the goals that government agencies have in making contract awards to small and minority businesses.

Many minority firms have enjoyed eating at the government procurement trough, but based on government agency data from all levels, a substantial number of minority firms are unsuccessful in government procurement and miss in winning contract awards. There are many cited causes for this contract award gap, but from my many years of being successful in winning government contracts and from my observations, below are the three biggest mistakes that minority firms make in government contracting.

  • Mistake #1: Not conducting research and learning about how to do business with a targeted government agency.
  • Mistake #2: Failing to attend pre-bid and pre-proposal meetings to build relationships.
  • Mistake #3: Not consistently marketing and staying top of mind with agency procurement staff.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/helen-callier/the-top-three-biggest-mis_b_5515912.html

Family ties plus business ties may equal affiliation

July 14, 2014 by

The SBA affiliation rules are not always intuitive, and perhaps no SBA affiliation rule is as little understood as the so-called “identity of interest” rule under 13 C.F.R. 121.103(f).

Identity of interest affiliation can arise in several ways, including when close family members also have business ties.  As demonstrated in a recent SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals decision, a close family relationship between two business owners, plus significant business ties, may cause affiliation between the businesses.

SBA OHA’s decision in Size Appeal of Knight Networking & Web Design, Inc., SBA No. SIZ-5561 (2014) involved a Navy procurement for ship and shore satellite communications support services.  The solicitation was issued as a small business set-aside under NAICS code 541330.

After evaluating competitive proposals, the Navy announced that Knight Networking & Web Design, Inc. was one of several awardees.  An unsuccessful competitor subsequently filed a size protest, claiming that Knight was affiliated with various other entities.

Keep reading this article at: http://smallgovcon.com/sbaohadecisions/sba-affiliation-rules-family-ties-plus-business-ties-may-equal-affiliation/

Want to grow your government contracting business? Be ready for what you wish for!

July 11, 2014 by

Federal small business programs are valuable. But they can also inadvertently stunt or even slash the growth of companies that the programs are intended to help.

First, small business owners with big ambitions can capture big wins that pump up their revenue beyond their small business size standards. But without the support of federal small business programs, more than a few can’t win new work to sustain that growth. When the company shrinks again, that slide back into small business status means lost jobs.

Then there’s those that deliberately cap their business growth to hang on to the advantages of small business programs. Their plan is either to hold steady, or get acquired. That holding pattern represents lost opportunity.

But stagnation and backsliding aren’t inevitable. Practical tactics can help in the short term.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.bizjournals.com/washington/blog/fedbiz_daily/2014/06/want-to-grow-your-government-contracting-business.html?page=all

Small biz size status ordinarily is based on underlying GSA Schedule contract

July 8, 2014 by

When a small business submits an offer for a Blanket Purchase Agreement issued against a GSA Schedule contract, the offeror does not automatically recertify its size.  Rather, a new regulation effective December 31, 2013 provides that an offeror’s size status for a BPA issued against a GSA Schedule ordinarily is determined by looking to the offeror’s self-certification for the underlying GSA Schedule contract.

In a recent size appeal decision, the SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals relied, in part, on the new regulation to find that an offeror had not recertified its small business status by submitting a quotation for a BPA to be issued against the offeror’s GSA Schedule contract.

SBA OHA’s decision in Size Appeal of Total Systems Technologies Corp., SBA No. SIZ-5562 (2014) involved a Homeland Security RFQ for business management support at the Coast Guard’s C4IT Service Center.  The Coast Guard issued the RFQ under the MOBIS Schedule 874, and stated that the RFQ would result in the award of a single BPA.  The RFQ was set aside for HUBZone firms.

Keep reading this article at: http://smallgovcon.com/sbaohadecisions/gsa-schedule-bpa-awards-size-status-ordinarily-is-based-on-underlying-gsa-schedule-contract/

 

Contracting facts and fictions

July 2, 2014 by

Many debates on the issues in government acquisition rely on assumed “facts” that may or may not be based on reality.

However, examining the latest actual, comprehensive, uniform, and unbiased information directly provided by contracting officers (from the Federal Procurement Data System) sheds light on some discrepancies.

For example, despite the budget drama of the past two years, inflation-adjusted figures reveal that contract awards remain over 20 percent higher in 2013 than back in 2003. For the contracting profession, this news is encouraging, especially considering the wind-down of the longest war in American history and indicative of the continued increase in government contracting in providing essential citizen services.

Similarly, while awards have dropped within the General Services Administration, the Department of Defense, and the Department of State, other agencies—such as the Department of Education, the Department of the Treasury, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Veterans Affairs—have seen increases, as have contracts awarded to small businesses.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.federaltimes.com/article/20140603/BLG06/306030013/Contracting-facts-fictions 

These are the Georgia firms who won federal contracts in June 2014

July 1, 2014 by

Ever wonder who’s winning federal contracts in Georgia?

Wouldn’t this information be helpful if you are looking for subcontracting prospects?  Or when you’re trying to figure out who your competitors are?  Or when considering who might be a good partner on an upcoming bid proposal?

Each month, the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC) publishes a list of federal contracts awarded to Georgia businesses.  The list comes complete with point-of-contact information on the awardees, the name of the awarding agency, the dollar value of the contract, and much more.

Download details on the award winners for June 2014 right here:  FEDERAL CONTRACT AWARDS IN GEORGIA – JUNE 2014

Winners of federal contracts earlier this year may be found at the links below:

For information on Georgia businesses that won federal contracts in 2013, click here.

How mature is the government contracting market?

June 20, 2014 by

A few months ago, I was preparing some course material to address corporate strategy in the government contracting space.  I wanted, as almost all business school professors do, to use a case study or two from any one of the famous business schools that produce them.

(EDITOR’S NOTE – This is the first in a three-part series on the future of the government contracting market. The series is based on a speech John Hillen, former CEO of Sotera Defense Solutions, delivered as part of the Brown & Brown distinguished lecture series at George Mason University’s School of Management. This first essay deals with the maturation of the GovCon market over the past 50 years.)

Out of tens of thousands of case studies, I could hardly find one done about a government contracting firm.  When I asked a former Harvard Business school professor why this was so, he offered that he doubted that many professors producing these case studies thought that government contracting was a “real” market.

The view is more widely held than one might suspect – even in the national capital region.  Many thoughtful members of Congress involved in acquisition policy, senior leaders in the executive branch, members of media, academia, and elsewhere that I’ve spoken with think that the GovCon market is really more of a political process than a “real” market characterized by competition, innovation, and transparency.  Their prevailing view is that if a GovCon firm can figure out the political process and play that game better than the next guy, they win the contract, right? One monolithic buyer served by a few cartels in a closed cottage industry, right?

Keep reading this article at: http://washingtontechnology.com/Articles/2014/05/20/Insights-Hillen-GovCon-maturity.aspx?m=2&Page=2&p=1