1. #1
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    Default RFP or Bid for new truck

    What would the biggest difference be between an RFP and a requsted bid?

    We have the highlights we want and we feel all of the manufactures build good trucks, we are pretty sure we do not want a galvsteele body.
    Compartment size is not that specifice.

    How would we ask for an apple for apple truck without shutting anyone out of the game?

  2. #2
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    The easiest way is to type up the basics and send that out with whatever specifics you have. Depending on what you're looking for you could send this out for a pumper:

    6 man/5 SCBA seat custom cab
    minimum 400HP motor with appropriate transmission
    minimum 1500gpm pump
    minimum 750 gal tank
    minimum 6000W light tower
    All LED emergency lighting
    PTO driven generator, minimum 10kW

    You can add or delete whatever you want, just a few examples off of the top of my head. If you have preferences for roll-up doors versus regular doors, 12V scene lighting, foam, hose bed storage, bumper lines, booster reels, hydraulic & electric reels or anything else you can or can't live without, make sure you include that in the list. The more specific you can be up front, the shorter the process becomes, and also makes sure that everyone is bidding for the same thing. Items like that keep it from being a manufacturer specific request. The only RFPs I've ever seen are usually spun out by the salesfolks and are specific to their manufacturer, and normally only created after the order is placed. An RFP is just the full legalese of what you agreed to purchase and they agreed to build. It also has performance metrics if so desired, like training classes on any newer equipment on the truck. But for bid purposes, I think they're overkill when just trying to narrow down the field of players.

    Good luck - Brian

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    Default Becareful

    First I am a salesman!

    Let me tell you this, when you do a generic list that is going to go for bid or "request for proposal" you are going to get bids from one extreme to another. What you will find is the big manufactures will take their cheaper built trucks and they make them even cheaper. They will do the very basic to keep costs down so they will be the "low bidder". They will use thinner metals, lighter chassis, ect. Cut back on paint jobs, cut warranties down, and so on. The chassis will be basic, no differential locks, no ember separtors and so on. I have seen us loose truck bids to specs like this and two years later the department is very unhappy with the truck.

    These assembly line trucks cannot compare with the hand built trucks being built by the smaller entities. Now the big manufactures do build quality, but they come at a cost. One manufacture has two plants, one for the good stuff and one for the low end stuff.

    My suggestion: Do your homework. Find out exactly which truck you want. Get them to price it the way you want it and buy it. FEMA does not require you to send it out to bid, your bylaws might though. If they do, the company you choose, have them write you a formal set of specs up and give them to the other companies. Make sure and state that your department has the right to choose whichever bid and price will not be a factor. Also, mention No Exceptions will be allowed.

    This way you know exactly which truck you are getting, you will know what type of final quallity you will be getting and so on. General specs will bite you in the rear if you are not careful.

    Good Luck and Congratulations on your Grant.
    Chris Russell

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    Quote Originally Posted by smokey240
    FEMA does not require you to send it out to bid, your bylaws might though.
    Not correct. DHS requires two bids unless you are part of a purchasing cooperative, or if your local and state laws require requesting 3.

    Obviously I put in the short & simple list of what to ask for in a bid. So when the bids come in, you evaluate apples for apples. If someone puts in 3/16" and another puts in 1/8" then tell the 1/8" to up it. Make sure the warranties are equivalent, etc, etc. It's not a big deal to change a few settings in a computer and spit out another. But there's no sense spending 3 days making a list of things up front, get the basics out of the way, figure out who is close to what you want, then compare the fine details and get everyone on the same page. It makes the process much shorter for you, and if that makes it longer and more involved for the salespeople, so be it, if they want the business, they'll keep working with you. If not, you didn't want to buy their truck anyway.

    The last thing you should do is involve a salesperson in your process, otherwise you will get pigeon-holed into a specific manufacturer.

    Also use "or equivalent" on things you're not as picky about, but do use "no exception" on things you aren't. Using "minimum" ensures that everyone will bring at least that, and if someone can offer more for the same price or lower, then that's even better for you.

    One of the easiest things to do is find new deliveries on everyone's sites and get prices for those trucks. Most salespeople can just download those specs and recalculate the price change (if any). It makes it easier on both ends.

    Make sure and state that your department has the right to choose whichever bid and price will not be a factor.
    This is definitely great advice. Because when the truck breaks (because everyone's trucks break), you don't want to have to wait forever for someone to come fix it from 2 states away. Service after the sale is as important as before. So if you don't have a service center near you from someone, then the lowest price from them is far from the best offer.

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    Default It says you should.......kind of a fine line there.

    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."

    It says you should.......kind of a fine line there.

    I do agree with some of what BC79er says but every manufacture builds their truck different. I am saying, do the homework, figure out which one can build it the way you like it and have them help design the specs. There is a 100% difference between a modular built body and a extruded aluminum built body. There is a big difference in poly tanks vs fiberglass tanks, differences in paint processes, types of isolaters, free floating tanks vs fixed tanks, sub structure under the fire body vs just sitting body on the frame rails and a ton more.

    Ultimatly cost does play in as a factor but its just like anything, you can buy anything cheap and replace or repair often or buy it right the first time and have very limited down time.

    A rep will do a lot but if its me, I will not win on a general spec. We will not jeopardize quality to cut costs. So I usually will not bid it. I have to look at where my time value lies. Designing and building quality trucks for people who actually want our apparatus or chasing down maybe's.

    Just food for thought.
    Chris

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    Try not getting two bids and holding on to the equipment when the DHS rep leaves. Alana has more examples of that than me. After all, would you be betting for or against the IRS on something they said 'should' on?

    And I thought part of a sales job was chasing down maybe's? Not waiting for sure things to walk through the door? The latter is a clerk. If I just sat back and waited for everyone to come to me to find out about hiring me for grant writing or ISO consulting, I'd be really lonely.

    I've started the bid process on dozens of trucks with basic specs like what I wrote above and narrowed down the competition from there. Not an unhappy customer yet, and that represents 6 different manufacturers building the trucks. You have to start somewhere with a bid, and a full-blown RFP is a waste of time in the beginning. You don't need to specify silicone radiator hoses to get a ballpark price. A good salesperson will bring it up during the process, but why play with minor details like hoses when the compartment configuration and body type are more important. Remember, we're talking about a starting point for receiving bids from interested parties for generic equipment, and an RFP is a finishing document put together after hashing out all of the details. Required at the end, but not at the beginning.
    Last edited by BC79er; 09-08-2005 at 04:03 PM.

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