What are your selection factors?
Be honest and transparent in your selection process. Within your RFP, describe what factors will be most important in making your selection. It may be beneficial to include a scoring rubric outlining the factors that will be weighed most (and least) heavily. If your selection will be based primarily on price, make that known to the Bidders. If your selection is based on a technical score (i.e. the most data for the lowest cost), let them know. Knowing what factors are most important to the Client allows the Bidder’s response to be catered specifically to your needs and priorities.
Additionally, if you are only sending the RFP to your favorite “go-to” firm, make them aware. Let them know you would like a fair price for a thorough scope, requesting all possible services needed to do the job well. Chances are they value your business and will respect your request, providing quality services without hitting you over the head for change orders later.
After a selection has been made, we also suggest sharing feedback with your Bidders, along with all the Bidders’ rubric scores. (If preferred, firm names could be omitted from the rubric scores before shared with the competing firms.) Being transparent in your scoring and decision-making process, builds trust and respect with the Bidders while also giving insight on how the Bidder can improve for future opportunities. The Bidder can only improve, if they have something to improve upon.
Compare the RFP to the proposals.
When you receive your Bidders’ responses, it’s important to not only compare the submissions among one another, but also compare them to the RFP that you provided. This may seem obvious, but it’s important that you back check what the Bidder has submitted is congruent with the scope outlined in the RFP.
Let’s use the example of private utilities mentioned back in the first topic of this series – Understanding Site Parameters. In the RFP, you state that private utilities exist on the site. Looking at the responses, one Bidder’s cost estimate is $500 lower than the others. Unbeknownst to you, this is because they did not acknowledge the statement regarding existence of private utilities on site. Fast forward. You decide to hire this particular Bidder based on their reasonable cost and begin contract agreements. Within the Bidder’s contract, a provision is included stating that if private utilities are not located before they are on site, this will be an additional cost of $1,000 for locating and will affect the proposed schedule by X, Y, and Z. So, in retrospect, the Bidder you believed had the best services for the most reasonable cost really didn’t – resulting in an increased budget and a compromised schedule.
Make sure no loop holes or short cuts are being made by the Bidder to get their cost down or make the schedule more appealing to the Owner.
The lesson here is to read your submissions from left to right and top to bottom. Make sure no loop holes or short cuts are being made by the Bidder to get their cost down or make the schedule more appealing to the Owner. If you’re unsure of a response, it doesn’t hurt to clarify with the Bidder. Checking all the boxes during the RFP process will set you up for success throughout the remainder of the project.
We hope you were able to gain a few insights and tips to improving your geotechnical RFPs throughout this series. If you’re in need of geotechnical services, would like us to review and comment on one of your RFP’s, or simply would like more information regarding this topic, we would be happy to work with you.
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