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Sealed Bidding

Sealed bidding is a method of contracting that employs competitive bids, public opening of bids, and awards based on clear, accurate and complete specifications of the government's requirement.  When a procurement is made by sealed bidding, a purchasing office usually sends a solicitation to firms on its bidder's mailing list.  The office also publicizes the procurement in the Federal Business Opportunities website.

The solicitation form in sealed bidding is known as an Invitation For Bid (IFB).  The IFB includes a copy of the product or service specifications, instructions for preparing the bid and information on the date, time, and place of bid opening.  Bids received are publicly opened, announced, and evaluated.  The evaluation determines the extent to which each bid conforms to the IFB requirements.  A bid meeting all of the IFB's minimum requirements is considered "responsive.The evaluation then focuses on the question of "responsibility" -- whether, for example, responsive bidders have the technical and financial capability to perform the contract.  The Small Business Administration issues Certificates of Competency (discussed in section VII part 2) for eligible small businesses when required and thereby resolves the issue of responsibility for agencies considering an award to a small business. The contract is then awarded by the agency to the lowest responsive and responsible bidder.

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