Multiple-Award IDIQ – How to Pick and Choose Targets That You Didn’t Bring to the Table

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We’ve been discussing multiple-award IDIQ contracts and what to do once you’ve won one. The most important thing to remember is that there is no guarantee you’ll be awarded the work.

In some cases, you can give yourself an advantage by bringing your own customer or prospective customer to the table and setting yourself up to win. But what if you didn’t bring the customer? Is it still worth trying? It depends.

When it comes to multiple-award IDIQ contracts, the more detailed the proposal evaluation criteria and proposal instructions, the better – but only when you’ve worked with the customer to correspond those details to your company’s specific past performance. Otherwise, you could be putting yourself in competition with someone who did. Here are two specific clues that that’s the case:

  1. Key resumes – the more key resumes that there are, and the more detailed the resume requirements, the faster you should run away. If they’re specifying 10 or more key people and they have extensive requirements for what those key people need to have, you’re never going to win. Even if you were to find matching people, they’re not THE people that the customer wants. They wrote the requirements that way because they want a specific set of people.
  2. Past performance – similarly, if the proposal criteria include a whole host of technical systems and functions that you’re supposed to have done, it means the customer already has somebody in mind who has all those requirements.

So if you’re deciding whether or not to bid on a proposal for a customer you didn’t bring to the table, measure carefully against these two factors before making your choice.

Something else you might want to avoid when you’re considering potential multiple-award IDIQ proposals are LPTA (“lowest-price technically acceptable”) jobs. Most people who are successful at bidding on LPTA jobs have very, very low indirect rates. It is highly unlikely that you’re going to beat them at their game and still manage to keep your good people and your reputation with those people; and run your business successfully the way you want to run it; with the culture that you want to foster in your business.

At TAPE, we rarely if ever bid on LPTA jobs. The expectation is that you’re going to deliver the same qualified staff at a dramatically lower rate and we just don’t think we can do it, nor do we want do. It’s not the kind of culture we want to run.

So unless you brought the customer to the table and you’re fairly sure you’re the only one who can win, be very careful before choosing to bid on a multiple-award IDIQ task order.


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