Bid protest?

starbrite

New member
A city bid was opened yesterday. Five bids were between 243,000 and 600,000 one bid came in at 175,000. There was some grunting made as it was read. Then the city official remarked, "well they should know, they are the company that did the inspection of the buildings for us in the spring" my first reaction was this is a total conflict of interest. It raises all sorts of quesrions. If they did the inspection and reporting that led to the writing of the scope of work,could they have overstated the actual work involved knowing they would be low bidder. Example, if under the scope I had estimated six weeks on one building but they knew it would only take three. That is a huge swing in prices. I submitted a bid dispute with city officials in charge of the project, what esle is there to do?
 

JBurd

New member
I'm not sure it was a conflict of interest, unless they had access to project areas that no one else did. The scope and quality expectations should be the same for everyone. Did the bid request include measurements or timelines that seemed off to you when you did your site visits? You might just have to check on their work after the first cleaning and see if they cut corners.
 

Scott Stone

New member
Checking on the work after their first cleaning is too late. The purchasing person was stupid. I do wonder what they inspected the buildings for, and why they were inspected.
Now, I am not big on bid protests. If you want to win this you need to file a freedom of information act request and read every email, the inspection report and any other possible communication that they sent to the city. If there is an email that is referenced, that you do not receive, then you have reason to cry foul. You can also do a lot of other things that will drag the process out, and make it troublesome for the city. If it is a large city, you can make an apppointment and go to the city council members offices, and tell them individually about what you see as the discrepancies. You can also make sure that you are at the city council meeting to protest the award of the bid.
Keep in mind, any request has to be in writing, and you will likely have to pay for printed copies of the emails, and such. It could run into several hundred dollars. You will also have to spend time reading the emails. Don't forget to request for the purchasing department, and for the contract administrator of the new contract and the inspection contract.

Now, in all honesty, you also need to ask yourself if the hassle is going to be worth it. I have lost some pretty big contracts under pretty suspicious circumstances, but I decided to not fight because I did not want to become consumed with the protest, and how I was treated unfairly. I have also had some serious protests against contracts I won. Well over $200k was spent fighting me being awarded the contract. I was threatened with jail. I had my background checked, I had people cruising my home. I had them going to previous customers to see if they had anything bad to say about me. They were going to local vendors, telling them that they should be careful about selling me equipment, because there was no way I could pay my bills. They did credit checks, and every other conceivable thing that can be imagined to try and disrupt the process. They also cost me about $20k, and it would have been more, a lot more, except a couple of influential people saw what was going on, and did the right thing by helping me out.

Unless you are sure that something improper was happening, I would not continue the protest. It might be worth a couple of hundred dollars to check emails, and things, though.
 

Vince Wood

New member
Something sounds fishy to me here. Why would the city have a pressure washing company that is bidding on the work do the actual inspections. Most cities have their own people do the inspections. I would be sitting at the Mayor's office waiting for him to show up for work to speak with him directly about this.

I think you might have a case here but I agree with everything Scott says also.
 

Scott Stone

New member
Actually, what probably happened is a company went to the city saying that they needed to wash their buildings, and told them what they needed. The city probably said, Oh, we need to wash our buildings. Instead of just giving it to the contractor, they had to put it out to bid, because it was over a certain threshold. The inspection was probably free to the city, because the contractor thought he was going to get the job. Just a guess.
 

Vince Wood

New member
Maybe they told them that there was 10 pieces of gum on the sidewalk per square foot but actually meant only 1 piece per square foot. Except it was for washing buildings.
 

The Cleaner

Vetran Washer 30 Years Plus
We use to do alot of city and county work at one time. I stopped putting in bids when they started taking the low bids each time.
 

pdmcali

New member
Actually, what probably happened is a company went to the city saying that they needed to wash their buildings, and told them what they needed. The city probably said, Oh, we need to wash our buildings. Instead of just giving it to the contractor, they had to put it out to bid, because it was over a certain threshold. The inspection was probably free to the city, because the contractor thought he was going to get the job. Just a guess.


I say this is most likely the case. Bottom line is if you successful in your protest the price is set at 175000. now.
 

Scott Stone

New member
That isn't the case. Governments don't work that way. If his protest is successful, then he will be paid his price. The hard part is that if it isn't successful, next budget will likely be for 175k. That can be changed, but it is a lot harder for a government budget then it is for a business.
 

starbrite

New member
Maybe they told them that there was 10 pieces of gum on the sidewalk per square foot but actually meant only 1 piece per square foot. Except it was for washing buildings.
Vince, that is exactly what I think happened. All of us other bidders thought we had to remove 10 pieces and the other company knew it was only one.
 

Flipper

Moderator
A city bid was opened yesterday. Five bids were between 243,000 and 600,000 one bid came in at 175,000. There was some grunting made as it was read. Then the city official remarked, "well they should know, they are the company that did the inspection of the buildings for us in the spring" my first reaction was this is a total conflict of interest. It raises all sorts of quesrions. If they did the inspection and reporting that led to the writing of the scope of work,could they have overstated the actual work involved knowing they would be low bidder. Example, if under the scope I had estimated six weeks on one building but they knew it would only take three. That is a huge swing in prices. I submitted a bid dispute with city officials in charge of the project, what else is there to do?
Each city has their own bid protest rules. You need to find out what they are. Most places give you ten days to file a protest from the date of award.

You have a real uphill battle on your hands here. In order to establish grounds for a protest you have to have facts. Speculation will get you nowhere. You will need to cite specific examples of wrong doing and then tell them exactly what you want to see them do to resolve the issue. Telling them that you think they did something without being able to back that up will result in your protest being thrown out.

Was there a site visit before the bid was due? If so, then they will tell you what they needed cleaned would have been on display at the visit. If there wasn't one, they may come back and tell you that you should have requested one.

I also agree with what Scott said. The company probably came in a while back and gave them an unsolicited quote for cleaning the buildings. That happens every day. The city probably agreed with the idea that the buildings needed a cleaning and then used the quote as a budget estimate for the job.

There is no way they will be able to comply with your request to turn over all the documents in the ten day period. Unless you have solid evidence of wrong doing, I'd say your going to be out of luck with this deal. I think the only course of action you may have is to request copies of the correspondence and if you find something suspicious, you may then possibly get the bid cancelled. Unfortunately that process may take months and they may already be done with the work by then.
 
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