What is a mini-bid?
If OETC awards contracts to multiple service providers as a result of our posted Form 470 and competitive bidding process, you may still need to first conduct a bid evaluation of the awarded service providers for those contracts who are able to provide services to your area. This evaluation process a called a “mini-bid.”
When are mini-bids required?
- If multiple providers are offering the same manufacturer and serving the same territory then mini-bids are required.
- If multiple providers are offering the same product, but not in same territory, mini-bids are not required. Read "Attachment B" in the OETC E-Rate eligible networking contracts for territory clarification.
- If multiple providers are present in territory, but have been awarded different manufacturers, mini-bids are not required unless more than one provider can provide the functional equivalent of what the applicant needs. (For example, if you need a Cisco or compatible switch that is 100% compatible with your existing Cisco router and an awarded provider can provide the model requested but another awarded provider can provide a different brand with the same functions and compatibility of the desired model, it is recommended that a mini-bid be conducted.)
How do I conduct a mini-bid?
To conduct a mini-bid, first determine the factors to use in your evaluation. Evaluation factors are of your own design so long as price of the eligible products and services is the most heavily-weighted factor. Mini-bid evaluation criteria should be kept simple: 3-4 criteria is fine!
You do not need to post a Form 470 (or any other forms) to conduct a mini-bid. However, you must retain documentation providing evidence of your mini-bid evaluation process and the service provider selection.
Mini-bids are also NOT subject to the rules surrounding how long a bid must remain open for response. There is no response time required at all. In fact, if the contract contains all the information needed to address all the criteria in your mini-bid matrix, the applicant may name an awarded provider without the providers submitting any documentation or bids, unless they want to. You would simply score any providers based on the criteria found in the contract and the highest scoring manufacturer and/or reseller of the product wins the mini-bid.
Mini-Bid Support Matrix and Sample Email
The USAC Mini-Bid Evaluation Matrix attachment on this support page can be used when scoring the providers that submit proposals to the the mini-bid.
The OETC support team has written a Sample E-Rate Mini-Bid Cover Email that you can download and fill out to send to relevant manufacturers and resellers. This sample email can serve as a framework to the type of topics covered in a mini-bid.