1. #1
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    Default Bidding out items for FEMA grant

    Now that we are pretty sure that we will be receiving the FEMA grant for SCBA's, Thermal imager, and rit pack, I was wondering if someone could answer these two questions:
    #1- We were given "top dollar" prices by one dealer. Is is worth going to competition for better pricing on all of the items, or do we have to stick with what we put in the grant? Are there pros and cons for going to competitive pricing?
    #2- If we get the better pricing and find that it does not add up to our grant award can we purchase more SCBA and related items to meet the dollar figure?

    Thank you

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    The most important thing is to get the bang for the buck. Competive bidding will provide a better price, because the sales reps will be competing for your business. The other issue money in hand speaks volumes.

    More than likely that "top dollar" price has room to negotiate. Do you have any other quotes to determine that the figure is actually top dollar? or is that what the sales rep is saying.

    If you do get better prices, the excess can be used towards more SCBA or related items. The rule is that you can spend up to $5000 on related items without approval (but it doesn't hurt to get approval). Any amount over $5000 must go towards a fire prevention program. This requires an ammendment and approval by DHS.

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    You need to get more than one bid, I believe that's FEMA's requirements, though you don't necessarily have to go low bid if a dealer is more suitable for service, etc. Don't quote me on that.

    However, of more importance is the fact that one can always find better pricing with multiple bidders. For instance, we have four MSA vendors that we can purchase from in the area, with salesman that I'm sure would be more than happy to take care of us (well, I know three out of the four would, and the fourth would likely just need a phone call). Scott is available from at least two as well, and I know of a local department that saved something like 12K by buying their Scotts from a farther away dealer. That adds up to a lot of something else, or more spare bottles, etc.

    Again, loyalty is great, but it can often cost you money.

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    Last year I spoke with a DHS rep who told that they prefer that you get multiple prices from vendors but it is not a requirement! The reason being that in the fire service some things are territorial with the vendors. Such as dealer ABC can sell Scott airpacks in county DEF, while dealer GHI can sell only to counties JKL. Lots of things like SCBA's, Hydraulic rescue tools, some nozzles, hoses, turnout gear you anme it is like that. My department purchased radios last year with only one price quote. I used their price in the grant write up. If you do the research and stand firm you can do it. On the other side, if you can get more than one price quote, you should do it. You most likely will save money. Make sure you tell the vendor that you are looking around and he will most likely sharpen his pencil a little more. Good luck!!!

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    The program guidance has the following info.

    Grantees' Responsibilities

    Page 35 Section (5) states,

    "Ensure that all procurement actions are conducted in a manner that provides, to the maximum extent possible, open and free competition. In doing so, you must follow your established procurement processes when purchasing vehicles, equipment, and/or services with the grant funds. If the grantee has no established procedures, you should obtain at least two bids/quotes for the items you are procuring and document in your grant files the process used."
    Last edited by onebugle; 09-03-2005 at 01:27 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by onebugle
    The most important thing is to get the bang for the buck. Competive bidding will provide a better price, because the sales reps will be competing for your business. The other issue money in hand speaks volumes.

    More than likely that "top dollar" price has room to negotiate. Do you have any other quotes to determine that the figure is actually top dollar? or is that what the sales rep is saying.

    If you do get better prices, the excess can be used towards more SCBA or related items. The rule is that you can spend up to $5000 on related items without approval (but it doesn't hurt to get approval). Any amount over $5000 must go towards a fire prevention program. This requires an ammendment and approval by DHS.
    Question #1-Does anyone know who the DHS rep. is for northeast PA, or how I would find out?
    Question #2- Has anyone not had success in filing for a change amendment to their grant, or is this simply a given.
    Comment- I suspect that we will be under our quote for SCBA's (is turnout gear an option-both being PPE?)

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    Q1: Go to FEMA.com. Click on regions. Click on Region 3. You should find contact info that should point you in the right direction.

    Q3: There should not be a problem with purchasing turnouts since it is still considered PPE. Just send them an e-mail on what you want to do. This way if there are any questions about the purchase you will have documentation.

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    Thanks onebugle!!

    I just received notification from DHS that my request of $11,100 is too much (excessive) for Scott Eagle Thermal Imaging Camera. They asked if I would agree to $10,000. I was wondering if anyone has had any prior experience about how to answer this and if there any thermal imaging cameras for around the $10,000.00 mark? I got a quote from my local Scott dealer last year and I think he might have been giving me "top dollar". Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks

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    We had to take a reduction last year on SCBA cylinders. Just accept their offer. Through a bid process or negotiations, you should be able to drop the price.

    As for other TIC's under $10,000. We purchased a Bullard T3 (donated money) a couple of years ago that was under $10,000. You should be able to locate a number of manufacturers of TICs that have equipment under that figure.

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    The reason for the limit is that there are a bunch of TICs available for less than $10K. The same with SCBA. They don't look at brands when they take cost into consideration, it's a per item thing. For instance, you want that Scott Eagle, but maybe you can get a Bullard T3 with color display for $3K less. (Just guessing at prices, don't read anything into that.) Even though you asked for the Scott for a particular reason, it is just a TIC, same as the other one, so in the grand scheme of things, the Bullard has more cost benefit. Maybe MSA has a better one for less, I can't say, I haven't looked of late at the pricing.

    I wouldn't doubt the salespeople are giving top dollar, they're finally saavy enough to be adding a cushion to their price so that you do ask for enough to buy their item if you get the money and there is a price increase. They don't want you to not have enough and go somewhere else with what you did get.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yankee750
    Such as dealer ABC can sell Scott airpacks in county DEF, while dealer GHI can sell only to counties JKL.
    As long as they deliver PDQ

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    This may not be the propper place for this comment, but I thought you may find this interesting.

    When we were doing our research for the grant we talked to our current vendors and they gave us the best prices that they could give us. Now that we have been awarded the vendors that I talked to are sticking to their prices and the vendors that we did not talk to are trying to jack up the price, for example certain vendors are trying to sell me advanced turnouts for $1200 and we are buying PBI for $1050. It has not just been turnouts its been boots gloves helmets, and SCBA's. So we are glad that we got our pricing done early.

    It looks like to me some of these vendors are trying to take advantage of the money cap on the items, so it may be good that they will not publish the cap limit on these items. I know it causes a little more work for us but in the end I think it is best for all partys involved.

    Is it just me or has anyone else had this problem.

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    That doesn't surprise me at all. This is why you need to get actual quotes PRIOR to submitting the application. So many just make arbitrary numbers and then get put in that situation where the vendors know how much they have and want all of it. The whole idea is to go in with a real quote, and maybe add some fudge factor for a price increase. I recommend 3% on average. It's not enough to go over the cost-benefit equation, but enough in case there is a price increase. The ones that come around after you have the money are a prime example of poor customer service, especially if you called them up beforehand and they said they weren't interested.

    Back in '02, when I got the ?s and 1199A I called up 9 heavy rescue truck manufacturers for quotes on the spec I wrote. Nothing manufacturer dependent either, it was something that anyone could have built. (6 man cab, 400+HP motor, cascade system, light tower, etc, etc.) So they could put any chassis or make of items on it they wanted to fit the request. 5 told me to go pound sand, 2 told me good luck but they didn't want to waste the 30 minutes, and the other 2 said they'd get me a quote within 2 days. 1 did that. The other took 4 weeks to even get me any kind of paperwork at all. When we were awarded 6 weeks after the initial phone calls I made, I got phone calls from all 7 of those other dealers, asking if I was ready to do some work on that spec. Some were actually surprised when I said pound sand. The other dealer that did want to work with me still hadn't gotten me anything, so we ordered the truck based from the only person that had the proper attitude towards customer service, to work with us not knowing we had money to spend.

    If they won't talk to you before you have money, they sure won't be around after they already have it from you. Customer service is priority number one in my book.

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