Detailed Federal Buyer FAQs
Welcome to the Buyer FAQs section. This section provides quick answers to the most commonly asked questions and is not intended to provide a complete online tutorial. Should you desire a detailed demonstration of the FedBid marketplace or additional information that is not contained in this section, please contact us directly at ClientServices@FedBid.com. The questions addressed are:Skip Jump Links
What is FedBid?
FedBid is a multi-billion dollar online marketplace where government and business buyers can access a managed, global network of qualified sellers at the touch of a button. The FedBid Buyer-powered marketplace utilizes a reverse auction model that connects Buyers with the most competitive Sellers of commodity goods and simple services. To date, thousands of public sector and commercial Buyers have used FedBid to increase efficiency, drive competition and save hundreds of millions of dollars.
What is FedBid’s role in the market?
As the online marketplace where government buys commodities, FedBid satisfies a growing niche within the public sector procurement community, while complementing existing tools such as GSAAdvantage!, GSA e-Buy, DOD EMALL, and GWAC vehicles such as GSA Schedules, NASA SEWP III and NIH ECS III. The $100 billion niche consists of public sector purchases that are over $3,000 in value, are available from multiple sources of supply, and are for commercial items (commodities). FedBid's design specifically addresses the public sector environment and interfaces with mandatory systems such as www.FedBizOpps.gov and the Central Contractor Registration www.CCR.gov. FedBid enables users to compete and document their purchases under any of the following procurement scenarios:
Competition among members of an existing multiple-award contract supplier community (e.g., GSA Schedules, Blanket Purchasing Agreements, government-wide acquisition contracts, AbilityOne, etc.);
Competition for set-aside purchases among suppliers within a particular socio-economic classification (e.g., Small Business, HUB Zone, Small Disadvantaged Business, 8(a) Business, and Service Disabled Veteran-Owned Business); or
Competition among interested registered suppliers utilizing automated data feeds to FedBizOpps.gov for synopses, as required.
Is FedBid the same as FedBizOpps?
No. FedBid is a privately held company that provides an online marketplace where government buys commodities. FedBizOpps (FBO) is a government-run, online bulletin board. However, FedBid does maintain automated feeds to FBO in order to enable federal government Buyers to meet FAR requirements regarding opportunity notification.
What is a Reverse Auction?
A Reverse Auction is competitive process in which a Buyer solicits Bids from Sellers during a period of time set by the Buyer. During the Reverse Auction, Sellers have the opportunity to submit a single Bid or multiple Bids that decrease in price. On FedBid, Sellers do NOT see competitors’ names or prices but do see a Bid Status of either LEAD or LAG, depending on their Bid Price.
Are Reverse Auctions legal?
Yes. Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) no longer prohibit auctions and, in fact, encourage innovative procurement techniques such as Reverse Auctions. In addition, within the last few years, the federal government has explicitly embraced e-commerce initiatives through legislation, such as the E-Government Act of 2002 (PL 107-347), and policy memoranda, such as a May 12, 2004 memo, issued by Office of Procurement Policy and linked on FedBid’s website, which encourages agencies to utilize commercially available online procurement tools, including reverse auctions. In 2005, both GAO (MTB Group, Inc., B-295463) and the Court of Federal Claims (MTB Group, Inc. v. United States) upheld the validity of reverse auctions in federal procurement.
Are FedBid Buys Conducted Under FAR Part 14 (Sealed Bidding)?
What is a Buy?
A Buy is a procurement made through FedBid using FedBid’s Reverse Auction functionality.
How long does a Buy last?
The Buyer determines the duration of the Buy, but the competition process typically lasts three to four calendar days, depending on the availability of the items sought. Timeframes have a tendency to shorten throughout the federal government’s last fiscal quarter (July-September).
What is an “Option Buy”?
An Option Buy is a type of Buy on the FedBid marketplace where a Buyer, within the Specifications of a Bid, elects to include options that a Buyer may choose to accept or exercise separately at a later date.
How do I Award an Option in an Option Buys?
In Option Buys, each base period and option period can be accepted or exercised separately, however they have to be awarded sequentially. A Buyer may only accept subsequent options from the originally Selected Seller. To accept the base period of a Bid, click the Accept button next to the line items for that base period, or the ”Accept Bid” quick link. To exercise an option, click the “Exercise” button or “Exercise Option” quick link. Once accepted or exercised, a Buyer will be required to enter the appropriate Authorization Number for that base or option.
What if I don’t like the items offered in the Bids?
FedBid is virtually risk free: You have multiple opportunities to fully specify and confirm your requirements; You can cancel the Buy at any time prior to award if you determine that the specifications need to be corrected or if the Bids are unsatisfactory; and FedBid’s Client Services will continue to support you throughout the Buy process.
How do I register as a Buyer?
Contracting officers, contract specialists, procurement officers, credit/purchase card holders and other authorized Buyers can easily register on FedBid. The process requires the Buyer to submit i) a valid e-mail address, ii) security question and password information, iii) contact information, and iv) agency or business affiliation.
- Go to www.FedBid.com and click on the ‘Register’ button.
- On the FedBid Registration page, click the ‘Register As Buyer’ button.
- Complete the Buyer Registration form and click the ‘Continue’ button.
- On the Confirm Registration page review all information entered. If changes need to be made, click the ‘Edit’ button. If the information is complete and correct as entered, click the ‘Submit Registration’ button.
- FedBid will review the Buyer registration and will contact the Buyer in order to ensure the Buyer i) has requisite authority to perform procurement actions, and ii) will be working within his or her applicable warrant, procurement, or credit/purchase card authority.
- FedBid will then activate the Buyer account and send to the Buyer an email with a link for creating a password and security question. After creating these two items, the Buyer can begin using FedBid.
How do I sign in?
How do I create a Buy?
Creating a Buy is fast and easy. The process takes approximately 10 minutes for the average purchase requirement. The process consists of a few simple steps:
- Once signed in, click on the ‘Create New Buy’ link under the Quick Links menu.
- Input Buy Description, Internal Description and Solicitation Number (Internal Description and Solicitation Number are for internal use only and will not be viewed by Sellers); determine the bidding End Date and Time; choose the Contract Vehicle under which you would like to receive bid responses; select any applicable Seller Community; determine desired Set- Aside Requirements, which will dictate which Sellers are allowed to view and bid on the Buy; decide whether the Sellers should bid ‘Exact Match’ to specification, ‘Meet or Exceed’, or ‘Brand Name or Equal’; select Payment Type and click the ‘Continue’ button.
- Select the desired Category and Subcategory by clicking on the appropriate link.
- Add Line Items including Line Item Description, Quantity, and Unit of Measure for each; and click the ‘Continue’ button.
- Define the terms of the Buy and click the ‘Continue’ button.
- Set the Bid Decrement (the minimum amount by which a Seller must lower their bid in order to rebid) and input Total Target Price (IGE) and choose whether or not to make it active. Add any Suggested Sellers that you would like to specifically include in the Buy (be sure to include any Seller that provided the basis for an Active Target Price). Assign a shipping address. If the desired shipping location is not in the drop down list, add the address by clicking on the ‘Manage Address Book’ button and click the ‘Continue’ button.
- Confirm your information. If there is a need to edit the auction specifications, click on the ‘Edit’ button to return to previous pages; otherwise, click the ‘Post Buy’ button, and your requirement will be posted to the applicable Seller Community.
If at anytime you need help creating a Buy or you are unsure if you qualify to participate, please contact ClientServices@FedBid.com or call 703-385-9777.
Can I add an attachment?
Yes, Buyers may attach statements-of-work (SOWs), drawings, or forms to a Buy during the Create Buy process. By clicking ‘Add Attachment’ at the bottom of the Add to Auction page, Buyers can add various document file types, including Microsoft Word (.doc), Microsoft Excel (.xls), Microsoft PowerPoint (.ppt), and Adobe (.pdf). (Attachments must NOT exceed 2MB is size, and Buyers must be activated by FedBid to have access to this feature.)
Can I modify a Buy?
Yes, but only through FedBid’s Repost process. In order to maintain the integrity of the procurement process and ensure that all Sellers have access to the same information at the same time, Buyers are NOT permitted to modify a Buy once it is posted. However, Buyers may Repost a Buy, which cancels the initial Buy and creates a new one, allowing for updated specifications and/or clarifications to be communicated to the Seller community. Buyers are required to view the Buy Specifications by clicking the ‘Buy Description’ link, which will display the current Buy and provide a ‘Repost’ button on the right side of the screen. Once a Repost is submitted, FedBid will e-mail Sellers to inform them of the cancellation and Repost.
How do I accept a Bid?
To accept a Bid, simply click ‘Accept Bid’, located at the bottom of each Bid, or click the Accept Bid link in the Quick Links menu for each bid.. Once accepted, you will be required to enter the appropriate Authorization Number, typically the purchase order, purchase requisition, or credit card reference number.
Can I solicit Partial Bids?
Because Reverse Auctions are price-driven, Partial Bids fundamentally interfere with Bid rankings and the dynamics of the Reverse Auction Process. Therefore, Partial Bids and IFBs permitting Partial Bids are not permitted under a Reverse Auction process and will be removed from the Web Site.
Is FedBid compliant with Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR)?
Yes. FedBid meets all requirements of the Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act of 1994, governing simplified acquisitions and micro-purchases, and all FAR requirements governing auctions, including the requirement to maintain anonymity throughout the auction process. FedBid retains attorneys experienced in government contract law to assure full compliance with FAR and all other applicable regulations.
Does FedBid help fulfill FAR requirements for multiple bids, reasonable price, and fair competition?
Fair and open competition: FAR intent is satisfied when two or more Sellers participate in a public auction. Determining the acceptability of the competition is always in the Buyer’s hands. When bidding ends, the Buyer has the option of accepting or canceling the procurement.
Establishing fair market price and conducting a cost analysis: Receiving multiple Bids fulfills these requirements. FedBid Buys are open to thousands of qualified Sellers, making FAR compliance easy and virtually assured.
Does FedBid meet FAR 8.4 requirements for buyers to reach as many schedule contractors as practicable?
Yes. FAR 8.4 requires Buyers to reach as many contractors as practicable when soliciting items on GSA schedule to reasonably ensure that bids are received from at least three sellers that can fulfill the buy requirements. FedBid provides direct access to tens of thousands of registered schedule contract holders, including most schedule holders in the categories of goods and services most commonly competed on FedBid. In addition to using FedBid to directly notify thousands of sellers, on average, for each schedule-based buy, buyers can use FedBid to automatically post the solicitation to FBO.
Does FedBid comply with FAR, Subpart 9.5, relating to Conflicts of Interest?
Yes. FedBid provides online procurement services to Buyers and Sellers through a simple and extremely effective online Reverse Auction tool. FedBid does not provide any other type of service, nor does FedBid engage in any formal or informal relationship with any Seller outside of the limited contractual relationship required to provide such Seller with access to FedBid’s procurement services. Moreover, any subcontractor from which FedBid procures operational support services is prohibited from bidding on any Buy posted on FedBid.
FedBid warrants to the best of its knowledge and belief, that no person associated with FedBid, including any individual, subcontractor, team member, consultant, corporation, partnership, joint venture, or other business entity, has any conflict of interest that would cause FedBid to be unable or potentially unable to render impartial assistance or advice to the government, impair FedBid’s objectivity in providing services, give FedBid an unfair competitive advantage, or otherwise affect FedBid’s ability to perform the online procurement services required by the government. As part of FedBid’s independent audit and review, FedBid’s independent auditor evaluates for accuracy the foregoing statement, and FedBid will report any changes and/or updates to this information based upon the findings of said auditor.
Does FedBid safeguard sensitive government information?
Yes. FedBid does not disclose unclassified but sensitive government information or data to any party other than those personnel specifically authorized to receive such information or data. In addition, to ensure that the security and confidentiality of sensitive information and data is properly protected, FedBid performs background checks on all of its employees, requires all managers and employees to sign non-disclosure agreements, and employs a state of the art, secure infrastructure that prevents electronic theft or misappropriation of sensitive information. When no longer required, FedBid will return all sensitive information and data to the government’s control, or we will destroy or hold it, as directed by the government.
How does FedBid address 508 Compliance?
FedBid’s website utilizes pure HTML for the data presentation layer in order to improve data transmission speeds and improve accessibility for people with disabilities. The pure HTML design improves accessibility and helps with Section 508 (of the Rehabilitation Act) compliance in two ways: 1) the website does NOT use animated graphics, thereby, reducing potential accessibility problems for users with disabilities, and 2) since HTML inherently provides “ALT Text” tags for all graphics, the structure exists to deliver verbal tags for every component or feature of the website. The EIT standard can be found at: www.Section508.gov.
The guiding principles of federal procurement appear in Part 1 of the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR). Among those principles are requirements that the Federal Acquisition System and the team members within that system operate with “integrity, fairness, and openness” (FAR 1.102(b)(3); 1.102-2(c)(1)) and “ensure that contractors receive impartial, fair, and equitable treatment” (FAR 1.602-2(b)). Applying these principles in a long line of bid protest decisions, GAO has established as fundamental to competitive procurements that offerors must be treated equally and given a common basis for the submission and evaluation of proposals. (Union Carbide Corporation, 55 Comp. Gen. 802 (1976); Host International, Inc., B-187529, May 17, 1977, 7-1 CPD 346; COHU, Inc., 57 Comp. Gen. 759 (1978); Federal Data Corporation, 60 Comp. Gen. 584 (1981); E.C. Campbell, Inc., B-222197, 86-1 CPD 565). With respect to procurements conducted through reverse auctions, in particular, GAO has noted the importance of having unambiguous ground rules (Royal Hawaiian Movers, Inc., Comp. Gen Dec. B-288653, October 31, 2001).
FedBid’s prohibition of offline bids helps Buyers maintain the integrity, fairness and openness of the competitive process by enabling Buyers to conduct all procurements pursuant to uniform ground rules that treat all Sellers impartially, fairly, and equitably. In turn, Sellers have confidence that they are able to compete on a level playing field that truly rewards best value bidding.
What should I do if I receive an offline bid that may provide best value?
Immediately direct the offline bidder to submit its Bid online. With FedBid, Seller use of the online marketplace is free of charge and registering with the site takes only a few minutes, so Seller compliance hurdles are minimal. However, if the offline bidder is unable to register and submit an online Bid prior to the close of the reverse auction, the Buyer maintains the option to extend the Buy in order to enhance competition. (Fort Biscuit Co., 71 Comp. Gen. 392 (1992), 92-1 CPD 440; Varicon Int’l, Inc.; MVM, Inc., B-255808; B-255808.2, Apr. 6, 1994, 94-1 CPD 240). Using FedBid, Buyers can extend a Buy for up to two (2) weeks after a Buy closes, thereby providing the Buyer with every opportunity to obtain the best value offer for its requirements.
Can I post a Brand Name Justification on FedBid?
Yes. For ‘Exact Match’ or ‘Brand Name or Equal’ specifications, federal agency Buyers may be required to provide brand name justification or documentation under Federal Acquisition Regulations. FedBid enables Buyers to do so simply by attaching the justification or documentation in FedBid and using FedBid’s automated data feed to www.FedBizOpps.gov to provide maximum publication of the brand name justification document to interested Sellers.