A Pre-Award Protest Probably Isn’t the Place to Raise Suspicions of Wage Violations

Let’s suppose you’re a contractor that provides services to the federal government. Typically, your contract will require you to pay your employees the prevailing wage rates promulgated under the Service Contract Act.

What if you suspect that, under previous contracts, your competitors failed to pay their employees the mandated prevailing rates? Can you use a pre-award bid protest to obligate a procuring agency to police possible ongoing non-compliance through solicitation provisions? If you say yes, perhaps you should keep reading.

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Don’t Overlook the Seemingly Perfunctory in Your Proposal: CAGE Codes

As our readers well know, a good proposal for a federal government procurement is an exercise in persuasive writing. You muster your creative powers to convince the source selection authority that you offer the best product or service, that your price is competitive, and that your past performance is stellar. So you invest heavily in your proposal writers; you review your proposal repeatedly to polish and ensure that it compels; you agonize.

But while the artistic portion of your proposal is, without dispute, extraordinarily important, don’t neglect the seemingly mundane–like CAGE codes. Get that wrong, and GAO just might sustain your competitor’s protest.

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Yes, An Agency Can Change the NAICS Code from One Iteration of a Contract to the Next

As the incumbent contractor, you’re excited to bid on the successor contract. The day it’s posted, you dash to fbo.gov, pull up the solicitation, and breathe a sigh of relief: the contract is still exclusively a small business set-aside. But wait! Under the assigned NAICS code your business doesn’t fall below the size standard.

Can the agency change the NAICS code from one iteration of the contract to another? Sure, so long as the selected NAICS code meets the regulatory standard.

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