Comparing Bidding Strategies for IDIQs and Public Bids

Our experts have preached for years on end that companies should be exceptionally cautious about bidding on single award, public bids. The reasons for caution are:

  • One or more companies have most likely pre-sold most public bids
  • The bidding costs are usually high.
  • Losing can have a negative impact on company morale.

In our view, the opposite is true for Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) opportunities.  Your management should begin its analysis with the assumption that you will bid. The reasons for optimism are:

  • The trend is towards the use of IDIQs and not having an IDIQ award can shut you out of the market.
  • Pre-selling before the award of an IDIQ is done in selected cases but is far less important when the number of awards can range from as few as five vendors to the thousands (the latter applicable in the case of GSA Schedules). 
  • The amount spent through an IDIQ can reach the billion dollar benchmark. 
  • Agency-specific experience is important but not paramount.
  • Agencies are setting aside a portion of IDIQs for small businesses.
  • Project-level experience is important but industry experience is often enough.
  • Proposal costs are usually less for an IDIQ.

So start the bid decision process for an IDIQ with the assumption that you will bid and see if there are factors that would preclude you from winning. Usually a decision not to bid would be based on the number of awards the agency is planning to make and the projected dollar value of the IDIQ.


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