More Q&A From the RFP Workshops

Q:  May a company new to Federal Procurement hire W2 employees that have worked on government contracts and assume that past performance? If so, does that approach work?

A:  There are limitations on the hiring and use of former federal employees on federal contracts. See the following summary and “Revolving Door” laws and Federal Employees. Federal personnel may be subject to certain conflict of interest restrictions on private employment activities even after they leave service for the United States government. These restrictions—applicable when one enters private employment after having left federal government service—are often referred to as “revolving door” laws. For the most part, other than the narrow restrictions specific to procurement officials or bank examiners, these laws restrict only certain representational types of activities for private employers, such as lobbying or advocacy directed to, and which attempt to influence, current federal officials. While you certainly can use the newly employed individual’s experience you need to develop a narrative that ties him/her to your company’s ability to perform the task. You will also need to address this in any survey/questionnaire that may be required. You will need to inform the recipient of the questionnaire that you are using the employees experience during execution of the referenced contract even though your company didn’t execute the contract.

Q.  Where do we find the FAR site?

A., or

Q. How do you secure the surveys as mentioned by instructor?

A.  The past performance survey/questionnaire will be unique to the solicitation you are bidding. The survey will be included and addressed in either Section L “Instructions to offerors” or as an attachment to past performance requirements.

Q.  My company is an advertising and PR firm. Considering financial risk and profit margins, media buying (TV Commercials, Billboards, etc…) fluctuate greatly, so are you saying Fixed Cost is best for us?

A.  A bulk of the solicitations that you will consider will be fixed price of some variation of Fixed Price. I don’t see a great deal of technical risk associated with your niche area.

Q.  Is there no allowance for a subcontractor’s poor performance?

A.  The government has no “privity of contract” with regard to the prime – subcontractor relationship. The government is usually “hands off” when it comes to managing the sub. They will step in in cases of fraud etc but generally responsibility for subcontractor performance lies with the prime. Additionally the government’s “performance based” acquisition procedures allow the prime contractor to identify how they will address the government’s requirements.

Q.  Since the government has sovereign power to change a contract, can they cancel at will or give to another contractor?

A.  The government may choose to terminate the contract or some element of the contract at its convenience. (T for C) Usually this is done for the government’s best interest. The affected contractor will generally recoup costs and profit incurred up to the point of the governments “stop work”. In a termination for default scenario (T for D) the government may cancel the contract and opt to award to another contractor. The contractor in default will pay the delta between what the original contract value was and the value of the new contract awarded to complete the work. See FAR Part 49.

Q.  Can you say what profit amount is typically allowable, 10%, ?

A.  Allowable profit is a function of the work to be accomplished, the risks, type of contract. There really isn’t a typical amount. There are limits on “fees” tied to certain Fixed price and Cost Plus type contracts.

Q.  When looking up FBOs, will IDIQs be easily identifiable in the solicitation?

A.  Yes, the solicitation will identify in the solicitation section L and/or M whether it is an IDIQ type contract to be awarded. There also may be an introduction section in the solicitation that will specify what type of contract is to be awarded.

Q.. Is there a website or web page that lists industry events of all agencies out there? Or industry events sorted by state?

A.  Try, or try individual professional industry organizations web sites

— Frank Lane

Questions About GSA, Mobis

These questions were asked during a recent session of “How to Qualify for the GSA Schedule”


Question: “I’ve heard a lot of “noise” about MOBIS.  Is it always open for application like the other schedules?”

Answer:  There is no open season on MOBIS. It’s always open.  Here is a link to article related to the MOBIS Schedule.


Question: “Do you have to complete “Pathways to Success” training each time you apply?”

Answer:  We could not find a definitive answer, but suspect it’s a one-time requirement.  We would suggest if you have already taken the course, keep some documentation/proof of completion.


Question:  “Is there a formula to build your billing rate?”

Answer:  Our Government Contract Negotiations workshop focuses on identifying overhead expenses that you must factor into your selling price to ensure the costs are covered.  Overhead expenses are all of the costs you incur, except direct labor cost, direct materials cost and subcontracting costs that can be billed directly to a customer’s account.  We address overhead, profit and walk through a formula to build your fully loaded rate.  We are offering that workshop on Monday, September 22, 2014 at 1 – 5 PM (EST).  You can register to attend at:


Question:  “How do you defend your pricing?”

Answer:  In regard to defending your pricing, what that means is that when you put together Section III, Price Proposal you pricing must be consistent with commercial practices and you must provide supporting documentation on how and where you derived at that specific price.  Remembering that GSA’s pricing goals is to obtain equal to or better than the most favored customer (MFC) pricing you need to provide sufficient information to allow the contracting officer to determine that your prices are fair and reasonable.  It’s always a smart business decision to build an Excel spreadsheet with your numbers and the supporting narrative to be used when negotiating price.