Common Bidding Mistakes, Part 2
Avoiding common bidding mistakes may be the difference between having your bid rejected, and the award of a lucrative public contract. In our prior posting, we outlined five of what we have described as the "top ten" common bidding mistakes. The following are additional issues to watch out for when preparing a bid for a public agency in Florida.
Your bid must be full and complete. Often times, a solicitation may require bidders to gather information or support well above and beyond simply providing a price. Careful attention should be paid to whether the bid terms have such requirements. For example, the solicitation may require financial statements or narratives relative to prior experience, and which reflect an ability to perform the project. Further, the advertised terms and conditions may not provide blank forms for such information. Thus, preparing the additional information in a form and with the content required by the solicitation is critical.
Next, the terms and conditions of the solicitation may require that you bid alternates. The public agency may not know before receiving bids whether it can complete an entire job within budget. In these situations, agencies may require that bidders provide a base bid for the portion of the project that they agency feels is the core of the project, while requiring alternate pricing for additional portions of the project. This way, the agency can determine how much of the project it can afford to award. If required, it is imperative that you provide a bid as to any such alternatives, even if the agency may not ultimately award the work.
Additionally, if the terms of the solicitations are not clear, seek a clarification. There may be strict deadlines to seek clarification and to give the agency the opportunity to issue an addendum. Further, if the specifications are vague or lack reasonable definitiveness, then you may have to consider a specification protest. Depending upon the particular regulations for the agency, specification challenges may be due within days of the initial advertisement.
Another common mistake involves identification of the business entity which is submitting the bid. Depending upon the corporate structure or other business relationships of the persons or entities that are going to bid, the bid should clearly identify the entity which is offering to perform the work. Bear in mind that this entity must also meet all of the qualifications, and license requirements to be legally qualified to perform the work.
Finally, the solicitation may require disclosure of subcontractors, and their qualifications. Failure to provide this information could impact the agencies’ ability to evaluate your bid, and result in a rejection.
In these tough times, there will be significant competition for public work. This also means that public agencies and competitors will be carefully combing through bids to weed out and/or challenge awards to non-responsive bidders. By avoiding common mistakes, you stand the best chance to stay in the running for an award.