When the Province knows exactly what goods, services or construction it requires, a price-based solicitation is often used. The award is usually given to the bidder who meets all specifications and offers the lowest price.
Usually, one of the following processes would be used for awarding to the lowest price:
- Invitation to Quote (ITQ);
- Invitation to Quote for Services (ITQS);
- Invitation to Tender (ITT);
- Request for Standing Offer (RSO); or
- Request for Corporate Supply Arrangement (RCSA).
Refer to Types of Solicitations and Other Opportunities for information about these processes, including when they would be posted to BC Bid. Corporate templates for these processes, where one exists, can be found at Solicitation Templates.
Basis of Award
In a price-based solicitation, the Province will typically award the contract or purchase order to the bidder who offers the lowest price that meets all specifications and mandatory requirements.
When responding to a price-based solicitation, pay particular attention to the full description of the specifications. Specifications may include performance requirements, dimensions, delivery dates, certifications, staff qualifications, functionality, etc. You must meet all of them in order to be considered.
The specifications stated in the solicitation may not always be entirely clear. If in doubt, ask whatever questions are necessary to ensure that you fully understand what to include in the response submitted. Asking Questions has more information on this process.
Sometimes, you may find a price-based solicitation that appears to have based its specifications on a specific product, or that actually names a particular make and model. These solicitations may state that equivalent products are also acceptable. If you sell something similar, but not exactly the same, determine if your product would likely be considered similar. If you aren’t sure, or if the solicitation doesn’t mention allowing equivalent products, ask the government contact named in the solicitation if your product would be acceptable.
If you submit a bid that doesn’t meet all specifications in the solicitation, you likely will not be successful even if your price is lower than the winning bid. If you have a solution that doesn’t meet the specifications but you think would work just as well or better at a lower price, ask the government contact if it would be considered. Changes to specifications may occur before the closing date and time of the solicitation, at the discretion of the Province, which will be made available to interested vendors. Significant changes or clarifications are usually not made within a day or two of closing unless the closing date is extended. See Solicitation Amendments for more information on how this process works.
In addition to meeting all specifications, bids must meet all mandatory requirements in order to be considered. Refer to Mandatory Requirements for more information.
Determining the Lowest Price
Most price-based solicitations will be clear on how the lowest price will be determined.
Price-based solicitations may ask for one all inclusive price or multiple prices, such as hourly rates for different roles, or unit prices for various products. If multiple prices are requested, the solicitation should explain how the lowest price will be determined.
If multiple prices are requested, it is possible that the successful vendor won’t have the lowest price for everything requested. However, they will have met all specifications and mandatory requirements, and typically have the lowest price used for evaluation purposes, as described in the solicitation.
Refer to Award to Lowest Price if you are interested in the guidance provided for government buyers related to price-based solicitations.