Learning the Lingo: Vehicle

A contracting vehicle or just vehicle as its known in the DC corridors of power is not something you ride in. It's a method of awarding a contract within the federal purchasing rules. The term has almost become synonymous with IDIQ contract, but not quite.

Vehicle can also refer to other ways (besides an IDIQ purchase) of limiting competition, such as:

  • small business set-asides (there are a number of flavors of set-asides)
  • awarding an "allowable" sole source (noncompetitive) purchase to an Alaskan Native Corporation
  • credit card purchases under $3,000 can be made sole source, for expediency purposes

In the trenches a federal sales manger often wants to know: "What vehicle are we going to use to get this deal awarded?" Or a federal contracting officer will often ask a program person using the product or service (the end user) the following question: "What vehicle can we use to contract with the vendor that is offering what you need? I don't have the staff to make a public buy so how are we going to contract with these people under the rules?"

Public officials and politicians might not like to admit that this is the way that federal business is done, but what would you do if you were a public official? In politics what is not said can be as important as what is said publicly.

This newsletter is an excerpt from Loading the Dice in DC, Legally: Learn the Politics and Realities of Federal Contracting by Fedmarket Founder and President, Richard White.
Download your complimentary copy - Click here.

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