Selling Before the Public Bid

Most public bids have been pre-sold by vendors to varying degrees and often several pre-sellers will be the only companies that really have a chance of winning. Experienced contractors also know that bidding opportunities for a reoccurring contract are inherently biased toward the incumbent contractor - the company holding the contract.

Incumbent contractors win rebids of their contracts most of the time because they enjoy an inherent advantage: they have extensive knowledge about the contract because they've been fulfilling it. Knowing who the incumbent contractor is and having a copy of their contract is priceless information when you're deciding whether to bid or not.

Federal agencies do not publish incumbent contractor information, however, if the purchase is a rebid of an existing contract - even though the information is public. Doing so would flag the buy as less competitive than a new purchase and perhaps be seen as a tacit admission that some buys are more competitive than others.

Adding a capability to download the incumbent contractor's contract documents at FedBizOpps (the public bidding site) would reduce the number of proposals that are written and have to be evaluated (and usually scrapped). Fewer bids would save vendors thousands of dollars of bid preparation costs and reduce government evaluation costs, not to mention spare a small forest of trees.

Publishing incumbent contractor information would imply that the bid is biased toward the incumbent contractor when, in fact, the incumbent contractor does usually win. Isn't politics fun?

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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