Gov to English translation: In the commercial world an IDIQ would be called a Master Services Agreement or MSA
What is an IDIQ: An IDIQ is a list of pre-vetted vendors who a government agency can buy products and services from quickly a efficiently. Each IDIQ lists the products and services that can be purchased through that IDIQ and the specificity varies, but tends to be pretty precise.
How long do they last: IDIQs typically last five years
How much is spent though IDIQs: Each IDIQ has a “Ceiling” which is the most that can be spent through it, but typically the ceiling is MUCH higher than what is actually spent.
Why you want to be on IDIQs: Being on one or more IDIQ allows you to:
1) Pursue sales opportunities that go through IDIQs: The government publishes “RFPs” that only go out to IDIQ members
2) Reduce competition/increase your chances of winning: Typically there are only a few companies on each IDIQ reducing your pool of competitors
3) Remove competition: There are single award IDIQs so you can effectively get sole-source awards
4) You are the easy button: Once you are on an IDIQ its faster and easier for the government to buy from you, so the typically will choose IDIQ holders over buying from the open market
5) End of year money: At the end of the fiscal year the government spends like drunk sailors, and if its easy to give you money (because you are on an IDIQ…) then they are more likely to send cash your way
Why you want to avoid IDIQs:
1) Much ado about nothing: Just because you get on an IDIQ is no guarantee that you will get work. There are thousands of IDIQs out there that have never been used
2) An investment: Competing for an IDIQ and building a winning proposal is a serious investment of time and money. So be sure you really want to be on this IDIQ
Why are there so many IDIQs: The government creates IDIQs to address specific needs, for instance, there are IDIQs for janitorial services at each VA hospital, there are IDIQs for accounting, or building maintenance, or pickup trucks, so given the diversity of products and services that the government buys, and the number of federal installations out there, the government needs lots of IDIQs.
How to get onto a IDIQ: IDIQ solicitations typically come out on SAM, and specify the application process. But the government typically only wants established credible vendors on IDIQs so the application process is usually intense:
1) You need to provide reference customers
2) Have federally compliant processes and systems (e.g. DCAA, security clearances, etc)
3) Be able to deliver all the work requested under the IDIQ (you can typically team with other companies to fill gaps)
How the government buys through an IDIQ: The purchase process is basically the same as on SAM, the government releases an RFP through that IDIQ’s portal (or emails an RFP to the companies on that IDIQ), interested companies bid the work, the government chooses a winner.
1) Task orders: The “RFPs” under the IDIQ are called task orders
2) Market research: The government can issues an RFI/Sources Sought prior to the “RFP.”
3) set-asides: The government can set-the “RFP” aside
Which GWACs are right for you: See our class on contract research below
Why the government uses them: By pre-vetting a pool of vendors the government is able to quickly and efficiently buy from those vendors
How they differ from GWACs, Schedules, BPAs, BOAs: If you’re a new vendor there is none, there are differences, but don’t worry about the name, figure out how your customers are buying your products and services, and then get on those contracts, whether they are BPAs, BOAs, GWACs, or GSA schedule