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Thread: PSA - RFP deadlines

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    Cyburbian dandy_warhol's avatar
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    PSA - RFP deadlines

    A friendly PSA to all you consultants out there - don't trust FedEx or UPS's "guaranteed" delivery times. We recently had to turn away 3 proposals that arrived via FedEx about an hour past the RFP acceptance deadline even though the packages were "guaranteed" to arrive on time. Our local procurement laws do not allow us to accept late packages (esp. when the majority arrived before the deadline) no matter what the cause of delay. FedEx accepted the blame and refunded the senders their costs but it doesn't make up for the lost chance. Frustrating for us because we wanted as many proposals as possible and frustrating for the consultant because they just lost out on the possibility of a $350k contract.

  2. #2
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    We used to do RFP due times at 10am, and used to have that problem pop-up in the same manner (we're also severely restricted from accepting late proposals). We re-worded our RFPs to include a paragraph about frequency of traffic delays in Austin, train crossing delays, etc. and encouraging the respondents to plan their submittals to include such contengencies.

    We also moved our due time to 3pm, which seemed to help with the FedEx delivery guarantee issue.

    What I hate is when one of the late proposals is from a firm that you are 90% sure would have been your best bid based on past experience.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  3. #3
    I've heard of a few horror stories. A consultant was bidding on a big contract and their intern was supposed to mail out the package at a certain time. The intern was going through "boy troubles" and forgot to mail it until the next day.

    Why do most consultants always tend to wait till the last minute? Why not mail it out a day or two early?

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by OfficialPlanner View post
    Why do most consultants always tend to wait till the last minute? Why not mail it out a day or two early?
    I take it you have never been a consultant before. Well, not only do you have to worry about your existing projects. So as you are tending to existing projects and clients, time passes to a) review the RFP and b) put together the proposal. Even better when you are teaming with another firm on a job you have to wait for scopes of work, put together the expected billing rates and actually write the dang thing. My old firm has a complete process:

    1) get RFP
    2) Fill out Go/No Go Form
    3) If a GO notify Marketing
    4) Assign Principal-in-Charge
    5) Determine if outside help is needed
    6) If outside help is needed narrow down project team
    7) Talk to outside team
    8) Begin to write proposal
    9) Review proposal
    10) Re-write as needed

    Now if there was a pre-proposal meeting you have to squeeze that in. Trust me, its a pretty complicated and costly process to go after work (most RFPs cost roughly $3500 to $8000 in hourly costs that cannot be recovered). Sometimes we would mail it out a day early, but more times than naught, we had to do it the night before or hand deliver. With that said, our RFP due time is 5pm. Enough time to ensure overnight delivery.
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  5. #5
    We'll, can't argue with that. BTW, I've been a right-of-way consultant, but I've never had to worry about the marketing\bidding aspect of the job aside from picking up the occasional RFP package.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by OfficialPlanner View post
    We'll, can't argue with that. BTW, I've been a right-of-way consultant, but I've never had to worry about the marketing\bidding aspect of the job aside from picking up the occasional RFP package.
    No Worries RFPs were fun but also very labor intensive from the backend. There were times were i just wanted to slap our marketing department silly because I wondered what the heck we paid them for
    follow me on the twitter @rcplans

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Mud Princess's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by dandy_warhol View post
    A friendly PSA to all you consultants out there - don't trust FedEx or UPS's "guaranteed" delivery times. We recently had to turn away 3 proposals that arrived via FedEx about an hour past the RFP acceptance deadline even though the packages were "guaranteed" to arrive on time. Our local procurement laws do not allow us to accept late packages (esp. when the majority arrived before the deadline) no matter what the cause of delay. FedEx accepted the blame and refunded the senders their costs but it doesn't make up for the lost chance. Frustrating for us because we wanted as many proposals as possible and frustrating for the consultant because they just lost out on the possibility of a $350k contract.
    Wow - I'm glad I wasn't one of those consultants!

    I don't like to wait until the last minute myself, but sometimes things happen that are beyond your ability to control - like when you're part of a larger team and another firm is the lead. If completion cuts that close to the deadline, you may be better off hand-delivering the proposal (assuming you're within driving distance).

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    As others have said, responding to an RFP is not a simple task. Remember, too, that we may be responding to multiple proposals due on the same day while also trying to complete the work we already have in hand. Cities make it more difficult by providing only a short time to complete the RFP or placing unusual requirements that make it more difficult. For example, I have seen RFPs stipulating 12 pt times new roman font. If all of our material is formatted with a different font we need to redo it all in order to comply.

    Consultants also have a hesitation about submitting too early in case there are any last minute revisions or new information is released. It isn't too uncommon to see the city respond to questions a day or two before the deadline, providing information that would be vital to know in order to respond.

    Increasingly I am seeing RFPs that accept electronic submission. Thank you!

    The other thing that cities do not do well is advertise their RFPs. Most simply send them out to a small list of firms they know. Maybe they announce something in the local paper (not read by any consultant) or on their website (so all we need to do is regularly check a few thousand websites every day to find it). Why is it they can't post the RFP on the state APA chapter site, the municipal league site, the state economic development site, etc?
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Bubba's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by CPSURaf View post
    ...So as you are tending to existing projects and clients, time passes to a) review the RFP and b) put together the proposal. Even better when you are teaming with another firm on a job you have to wait for scopes of work, put together the expected billing rates and actually write the dang thing. My old firm has a complete process...
    And, based on experience, the larger the firm, the more convoluted the internal processes for proposals.
    I found you a new motto from a sign hanging on their wall…"Drink coffee: do stupid things faster and with more energy"

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