While you are waiting to receive bids during the 28-day time period (which can be longer than 28 days but not shorter), you should establish your evaluation criteria for choosing a service provider* and use them to create an evaluation matrix. This way, you’ll be ready to easily evaluate the bids you receive after the 28-day period ends.
This is an important step. Keep your evaluation criteria with your records to show, if necessary, that you chose the service provider in a fair and competitive way (no preferential treatment!).
*Any disqualification criteria must have been included on your FCC Form 470. See Disqualification Factors.
Price is the most important factor, but not the only one
The most important factor in evaluating bids must be the price of the eligible products and services.* Price must be given the most weight in the evaluation that you develop. But price need not be the sole factor, nor is it the only important one. You are required to select the most cost-effective bid, which isn’t necessarily the least expensive bid. Some other relevant criteria you might include are:
- Prior experience of the provider, including past performance;
- Personnel qualifications of the provider, including technical excellence;
- Management capability, including schedule compliance; and
- Environmental objectives, among other things.
*Note that the most heavily weighted price factor cannot include ineligible costs, although those can be included in an evaluation as long as they are in a separate price factor that is weighted less heavily (see sample matrix).
A simple way to evaluate bids is to create an evaluation matrix like this:
At the end of the 28-day competitive bidding process (and not before!), you will evaluate your bids based on your pre-established criteria. If you’re using a matrix, you will give a numerical score to each service provider based on your pre-established criteria (like above). The provider who receives the highest score should be selected. In the example above, Vendor 3 wins the bid with 92 points.
If you only get one bid (or no bids!)
What happens if you receive only one bid or none at all? If you don’t receive any bids in response to your FCC Form 470 during the 28-day period, you can contact service providers to solicit bids (but not otherwise) and can then review and evaluate any bids received as a result. Alternatively, if you received just one bid, you have the option of accepting it, if it is cost-effective.
It’s important to note somewhere that you received only one bid or did not receive any bids. You can send it in an email to yourself (to create a date stamp), or add a memo to the file in case questions come up later (e.g., during a review or an audit).
We will discuss document retention during the competitive bidding process in more depth later this week. Up next are state contracts and mini bids.
- Step 2: Selecting Service Providers
- Construct an Evaluation
- Video: Competitive Bidding
- Bid evaluation matrix
Editor’s note: If you submitted FCC Form 470 on the same day we wrote about it on the blog (March 3), then at this point you’ll be in the 28-day waiting period. During the 28-day period, we’re covering general information about program rules and topics that are important to know about. We’ll begin posting about FCC Form 471, the funding request form, starting the week of April 4.