IDIQ Task Order Contract – Dealing With the Government Minimum Payment
The United States federal government and its procurement agencies use a variety of IDIQ contract vehicles to procure services and products. One typical example is the indefinite delivery / indefinite quantity IDIQ contract vehicle.
What is an IDIQ Contract?
When the quantity of orders is unknown, but the fixed period of time is known, an indefinite delivery IDIQ task order contract is the preferred method of procurement. FAR 16.504 governs the fundamental issues and concerns with these types of contract vehicles.
The federal government typically uses IDIQ contracts for service contracts and Architect-Engineering (A-E) services. It gives the agency flexibility to meet its needs without huge commitments.
Duration: IDIQ task order contract could be for one year, or one year plus a series of option years. Once awarded, the government will place orders against the IDIQ contract.
The Downside of Bidding on an IDIQ Contract: Companies often want to budget for known income. With an IDIQ contract, government contractors cannot count on a fixed income simply because the government procurement agency may not have committed to any set maximum ordering limits. At best, when publicizing their requests for proposals, government contracting agencies tend to only commit to a minimum payment requirement.
Contractors must be aware of the obligations and minimum amounts outlined in the solicitation. CEOs should also consider the pros and cons of submitting proposals.
Challenging the Government’s IDIQ Task Order and Minimum Payment
Check the solicitation language: Contractors should be aware of the basic legal decisions that address the government’s obligations when using an IDIQ task order contract. The Agency is typically obligated to only pay the minimum payment amount outlined in the solicitation. For example, In Travel Centre v. Barram, 236 F .3d 1316, 1319 (Fed. Cir. 2001 ), the Court held:
[U]nder an IDIQ contract, the government is required to purchase the minimum quantity stated in the contract, but when the government makes that purchase its legal obligation under the contract is satisfied…. [B]ased on the language of the solicitation for the contract, Travel Centre could not have had a reasonable expectation that any of the government’s needs beyond the minimum contract price would necessarily be satisfied under this contract. See more information about minimum guaranteed amount in IDIQ contracts.
The message to contractors is to make sure that they understand that regardless of promises made by the government after performance starts, the legal obligation still stands for the agreed-upon minimum payment in the original IDIQ task order contract.
For help with your IDIQ contract, and the legal issues associated with this type of procurement, call our government contract attorneys at 1-866-601-518.