After we recently Published on the Request For Qualifications by SEAS LLC, the Late Night Drive By Social Media debates began. There appears to be two points of contention: First, Contractors seem diametrically opposed to absorbing Counties and would prefer Zip Codes; and second, it would appear that Contractors are concerned about the logistics created by the enormity of the Zones as defined below.
To some of this I would agree. Take Maine, for example. I actually have been there when I completed the Appalachian Trail hike in my younger days. To cover the entire state of Maine and a Contractor would have to presume that the orphan Work Order would end up being generated at some point-in-time, would be a feat even the most Seasoned Contractor Veterans would be hard pressed to do. Couple that with a requirement for Snow Removal along the Nova Scotia / Canadian Border and you have a problem.
Zip codes are more of a fundamental element. The reality is that population density dictates the fear on both sides of the coin. First, if the density is low, then a Contractor may be hesitant to cover an entire County like say Love, Texas. With that said, though, this is where the Request For Bid (RFB) comes into play. Second, if the density is high, a Contractor may be upside down and not capable of scaling up rapidly.
In both aforementioned situations, I believe this is where the rubber meets the road. First and foremost, if Contractors want to be called Contractors they need to understand the RFQ/RFB Process. If I were a betting man I would wager that many of the RFQs being submitted are not even compliant with the 5 Basic Questions asked on samesaid RFQ. So, on the one hand Contractors want to be treated like Contractors. With this comes the responsibility of understanding how most Federal Contracts are negotiated.
I do several Webinars on the Federal Contracting process each month. The reality is that at these levels, most businesses simply hire out the Contract Writing and write it off as a business expense.
When FannieMae or FreddieMac send out an RFQ and Solicit a RFB the reality is that their Scope is written in Stone. That, ladies and gentlemen, is the real world. A lot of the chatter I am monitoring reads like the extremely small businesses out there want a process which is specifically tailored to their needs. Unfortunately, the real world does not work that way.
I would love if all Contractors could make the cut. It is not a reality. Those Contractors whom are familiar with how Labor and Management operate; those familiar or invest in consulting to learn, will prevail. Many folks misinterpreted what I have preached on here. My goals have never been to salvage everyone. The reality is that there are ma and pa outfits whom will have to be assimilated by the Awardees because they either do not want to learn or simply cannot invest in the knowledge.
Supply vs. Demand. The reason pricing is dismal is because there is a glut of Contractors whom do not want to learn what a business is. “Send me an order; tell me what to do; pay me whatever,” is the going mantra right now. That is a reality and it will sting many folks out there. There will be a level of attrition which will not be palatable to many.
The possibility of creating Order Mills on top of Order Mills is doubtful. If the RFQ is followed, the threshold is 2 years of verifiable experience. So, I believe we will see more of a W2 setting for the bringing on of scalable labor. Look, this is a business. If, tomorrow morning, someone called and said, “Here’s all of Tennessee; you have 30 days to come on line,” I would function as a businessman and hire accordingly. That is the differentiation between a Craigslist Crackhead and a Contractor. It happens all the time in Federal Contracting; hell, it is how the economy stays afloat!
The RFQ is simply the submission of your Qualification for Consideration. It is within the RFB Stage wherein you are competing in a Fair Market Economy. With that said, I believe this will somewhat become the norm for those Contractors whom are ready to step to the plate. It will require the fusion of technology, logistics and coordinated remote outsourcing for paperwork.
This is where Contractors networking with each other, at local and regional levels, could actually prevail. In the long haul this could open doors; this process could prepare many for the spring board into Federal Contracting.
If you are simply unfamiliar with the RFQ Process and only need an hour of Consultation or you desire an evaluation of your Company in anticipation of submitting and RFB for this or other Contracts, feel free to reach out and give me a holler.