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Presolicitation Notice - Synopsis
Combined Synopsis/Solicitation
Amendment to a Previous Combined     Solicitation
Modification to a Previous Notice
Award Notice
Sources Sought Notice
Foreign Government Standard
Special Notice
Sale of Surplus Property
Document Upload
Document Deleting
Document Archival
Document Unarchival


   Frequently Asked Questions

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GENERAL - FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

  1. How do I find out about upcoming opportunities related to reconstruction efforts in Iraq?
  2. Don't all Iraq reconstruction contract opportunities have to be competitive and/or posted to FedBizOpps?
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  BUYER - FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

1. Access/Accounts/Manuals

2. Posting

2.1. Why can’t files uploaded to the same solicitation have the same filename?
2.2. Why didn’t my solicitation post?
2.3.
Should I save the document before posting?
2.4.
Why are we experiencing problems saving our notices?
2.5.
What is the standard posting time for FBO?
2.6.
I posted a notice to FedBizOpps, and then realized that I created it with the wrong solicitation number. How can I correct this?
2.7.
Why was I prematurely timed out of the system?
2.8.
When I cut and paste text from my word processor into the description field of the synopsis, quote marks (single and double) are replaced by question marks. Why is this happening?
 
2.9.
Why shouldn’t I type the notice text directly into the description field?
2.10.
How do I use the index function?
2.11.
How do I include government-wide numbered notes?
2.12.
Why is the drilldown for our location showing postings for another location in our agency?

3. Deleting

4. Archiving/Unarchiving
5. Can’t view postings

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VENDOR - FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

  1. Why can’t I find this solicitation, the contracting officer just posted it?
  2. How can I find business opportunities for the NAICS code that represents my business product or service?

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ANSWERS TO GENERAL QUESTIONS:

1. How can I reach the FedBizOpps Help Desk?

A. You can reach the FedBizOpps Help Desk by calling 877-472-3779 or sending an email to fbo.support@gsa.gov. The Help Desk is open between 8am and 6pm EST (M-F).

2. Why can’t I find a particular solicitation, if it was here before?

A. The posting may have been deleted, however it is more likely that it was archived. To find an archived posting:
  1. Click on “Find Business Opportunities [go]”,
  2. Switch the “Documents To Search” from active to archived,
  3. Proceed to search for the solicitation number.
3. Does FBO store a list of vendors who have registered for a solicitation for access by buyers?
A. The FedBizOpps system includes the capability to join and view a published list of vendors interested in a particular solicitation. This is useful for vendors who are interested in teaming on procurement opportunities. In order to register as an interested vendor for a particular solicitation, the "Register as Interested Vendor" button must be available from the listing page for a solicitation. If the contracting officer has not enabled this service for this solicitation number, then the "Register as Interested Vendor" button will not be available. In this case, you will need to contact the point of contact listed in the synopsis for information regarding the bidder's list.

Contracting Officers can obtain more information on the Interested Vendors List (IVL) module by clicking on the following link to our Buyer's Guide:

http://www.eps.gov/EPSBuyersManual/BG7-IVL.html

Vendors can obtain more information on the Interested Vendors List (IVL) by clicking on the following link to our Vendor's Guide:

http://www.eps.gov/EPSVendorsManual/VG6-Interest.html

4. Why do I get the message “File Not Found” when I try to open up a particular document within a solicitation?
A. Often, the file cannot be found because there is a special character in the filename for the document. Special Characters have specific meanings by the browser and/or UNIX and cause an error when the file is uploaded. The special character causes the link to be invalid and the page comes up as a page not found.

Special Characters that cannot be part of the filename are:

spaces
, comma
\ back slash
/ forward slash
' single quote or apostrophe
" quotation mark
? question mark
# pound (number) sign
& ampersand sign

If any of these special characters are in the filename, you will need to change the name of the file and re-load it. Vendors can often access these files by clicking on the ‘All Files’ option and using a program like WinZip.

5. What are Procurement Classification Codes?
A. In this system, procurements are classified by Federal Supply Codes/Product Services Codes.
The following site has excellent information on the content of the procurement classification codes:
Remember that the contracting official has final authority on which procurement classification code the solicitation will use. It can be useful to search on as many different classification codes as could possibly be related to your area of interest.

6. What causes a “site not found” or “can’t connect to application instance” error, when there is not a local connectivity problem.

A. Normally, these error messages indicate that you accessed FBO using an older browser bookmark pointing to a replaced (WebObjects) application. You may need to reset your FBO bookmark to point to the current FBO file or application.
7. Do FBO servers www1 and www2 mirror one another?
A. FBO servers (www1 and www2) do mirror one another. If you experience a problem, please contact the FBO Help Desk.
8. Why am I not able to view recent information posted to FedBizOpps?
A. You may not be looking at updated screens for the notice because your browser has cached the old data, and it is presenting you with that information rather than going out to the site and getting the information as it now appears.
Using Microsoft Internet Explorer, Shift-refresh reloads the page discarding local cache information. Using Netscape, Ctrl-reload reloads the page from the server.

Using MSIE, you can prevent much of the problem with browser caching by:
1. Select Tools / Internet Options
2. Click "Settings" in the "temporary Internet Files" box
3. Click the "Every Visit to the Page" radio button 4. Click OK

5. Click OK

This will make the browser more likely to retrieve the new information.
9. Why do I get: “You have reached a page in the FBO system that is not available” when I try to open a file?

A. This will occur if the files cannot yet be viewed. A link to a particular document may be visible before the document is actually available. This is due to the time needed for the file generation of the uploaded information and the replication of our two servers.

10. How do I find out about upcoming opportunities related to reconstruction efforts in Iraq?

A. The Department of Defense (DoD) is responsible for the repair and continuity of operations of the Iraqi oil infrastructure. The Army is the Executive Agent for this mission and the Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is responsible for awarding and managing contracts required to carry out this mission.  The DoD Contractor Hot Line for expressing interest in procurements involving the repair and continuity of operations of Iraqi oil infrastructure is 1-866-461-5171. There will be a competitive procurement.    The solicitation will be posted at the FBO website, http://www.fedbizopps.gov/.  Information can also be obtained from the USACE website, http://www.hq.usace.army.mil/cepa/iraq/iraq.htm.

DoD has available an online publication, "Selling to the Military," that identifies the research, development, and procurement responsibilities of each DoD organizational activity.  The publication provides helpful advice for marketing ideas and other relevant information.  The site is located at http://www.acq.osd.mil/sadbu/publications/selling.

A DoD small business guide that may be helpful is at http://www.acq.osd.mil/sadbu/publications/sbs/sbs.html.The reconstruction effort may encompass everything from power grids, ports, roads, bridges, and telecommunications, to schools and health care facilities.  The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is involved, and has a number of procurement actions planned and in process.  Details can be found at http://www.usaid.gov/iraq/.

The US Department of Commerce provides prime contractor POC information for those seeking subcontracting opportunities at http://www.export.gov/iraq. Commerce also has a hotline (1-866-352-IRAQ).

11. Don't all Iraq reconstruction contract opportunities have to be competitive and/or posted to FedBizOpps?

A. Thank you for your interest in contract opportunities in Iraq. Contract opportunities will be posted at the Government point of entry (GPE), Federal Business Opportunities (FBO) at http://www.fedbizopps.gov/ unless a statutory exception to synopsis requirements as described in the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) applies. Specific exceptions to the posting of proposed contract actions at FBO include, but are not limited to, requirements where...
  • Disclosure would compromise the national security.
  • There is unusual and compelling urgency.
  • An order is placed under an existing indefinite delivery (e.g., Multiple Agency Contract, Governmentwide Acquisition Contract (GWAC), Federal Supply Schedule contract).
  • Perishable subsistence supplies are needed and advance notice is not appropriate or reasonable.
  • The proposed contract action is made under the terms of an existing contract that was previously synopsized in sufficient detail.
  • The proposed contract action is authorized or required by a statute to be made through another Government agency. This would include acquisitions from the Small Business Administration (SBA) using the authority of section 8(a) -- except for competitive 8(a)s as described in FAR 19.805.

  • The proposed contract action
    - is for an amount NOT expected to exceed the simplified acquisition threshold;
    - will be made through a means that provides access to the notice of proposed contract action through the GPE; and
    - permits the public to respond to the solicitation electronically.
For comprehensive coverage of statutory exceptions to posting proposed contract actions, please refer to FAR 5.202 and FAR 5.205. For exceptions to posting contract award information, refer to FAR 5.301. You may access the FAR online at http://www.acqnet.gov/far

For contractors interested in Iraq reconstruction contracts, the following information may also be of interest:

The Department of Defense (DoD) is responsible for the repair and continuity of operations of the Iraqi oil infrastructure.  The Army is the Executive Agent for this mission and the Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is responsible for awarding and managing contracts required to carry out this mission.  The DoD Contractor Hot Line for expressing interest in procurements involving the repair and continuity of operations of Iraqi oil infrastructure is 1-866-461-5171.  The Corps will be conducting a competitive procurement.  The solicitation will be posted at the FBO website http://www.fedbizopps.gov/.  Information can also be obtained from the Corps' website, http://www.hq.usace.army.mil/cepa/iraq/iraq.htm.

DoD has available an online publication, "Selling to the Military," that identifies the research, development, and procurement responsibilities of each DoD organizational activity.  The publication provides helpful advice for marketing ideas and other relevant information.  The site is located at http://www.acq.osd.mil/sadbu/publications/selling.

A DoD small business guide that may be helpful is at http://www.acq.osd.mil/sadbu/publications/sbs/sbs.html
The reconstruction effort may encompass everything from power grids, ports, roads, bridges, and telecommunications, to schools and health care facilities.

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is involved, and has a number of procurement actions planned and in process.  Details can be found at http://www.usaid.gov/iraq/about_reconstruction.html.
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ANSWERS TO BUYERS:
1. Access/Accounts/Manuals
1.1. How do I access the demo training site?
A. The demo training site is located at http://demofbo.gsa.gov.
The username is: fbodemo
The password is: fbodemo
1.2. Why doesn’t my location appear in the drilldowns?
    A. A location must be deployed in order for it to appear in the drilldowns. Please make sure an administrator for your agency has deployed your location. If your location has been deployed and does not appear in the drilldowns, please contact the FBO Help Desk at 877-472-3779.
1.3. How do I stop my password from showing up automatically?
A. User ID’s and passwords do not appear automatically due to settings on FedBizOpps. The password automatically appears due to Internet Explorer settings on your PC.
To change these settings in Internet Explorer:
Click on “Tools”,
“Internet Options”,
“Content”,
“Personal Information”,
“Auto Complete”,
Change the settings for showing passwords.
For further assistance, please contact your local network administrator.
1.4. How can I obtain my FedBizOpps username and/or password if I forget them?
    A. You can obtain your username and/or password by performing the following:
From the main page at http://www.eps.gov, click on ‘FedBizOpps Buyers’, then click on ‘ Login’.
Click the ‘Forgot your password?’ link and enter your email address. Your login and password will be mailed to you. Please note: The email address field is case sensitive.
1.5. As a FedBizOpps Buyer, how can I obtain a user’s manual?
    A. A user manual for Government Buyers is available on the website at
To access the manual from the homepage:
        Click on FedBizOpps Buyer ,
        Click on “FBO Buyers Guide”.
2. Posting
2.1. Why can’t files uploaded to the same solicitation have the same filename?
A. The FedBizOpps system preserves the filename used in the upload, and the directory structure is organized around solicitation numbers. When a file is uploaded to the directory where a file with the same name exists, the new file will overwrite the old file. Filenames within a solicitation must be unique.
2.2. Why didn’t my solicitation post?
A. You may be experiencing this problem because of an invalid solicitation number. Special characters, such as the following, cannot be used in the solicitation number:
    <space>
    *
    &
    /
    %
    #
    ,
    @
    ;

If any of these characters are in the solicitation number, you will need to remove them and repost the solicitation.
2.3. Should I save the document before posting?

A. Save is intended to allow you to partially create a document for follow-up at a later time.

If you want to create a document but in the process you realize that not all of the information is available you can elect to save that document and come back later. When a document is saved it will be available under the Edit menu button.
Some things to remember when you open a document using edit (a previously "saved" document):
The system automatically resets some of the fields, therefore it will be necessary for you to carefully check the response date, classification code, and the archiving policy.

In general, if you are prepared to post a document at the time of creation it is advisable to NOT save it first. Simply click Post to preview your posting, verify the information, and confirm that you would like to post the notice. If you do save it you will need to re-work the fields that are automatically reset.
    Please note: You should either save or post once you review your document. If you decide not to post and leave the page without saving your document, it will no longer be available via the edit table even if you have saved it before. You will then have to recreate the posting.
2.4. Why are we experiencing problems saving our notices?
A. If you input special characters in certain fields of the synopsis that are not designed to include these characters, the system will not be able to process these fields and will not save the synopsis. We understand that this is a great inconvenience to the user and are working to a) allow these characters in certain fields and b) inform the user of inappropriate characters in certain fields before the system tries to save or post the notice.

The most common special character is the apostrophe or single quote ( ' ). This character cannot be used in the Title, Place of Performance address, or Place of Performance Postal Code fields. We commonly see the entry of "Contractor's address" in the Place of Performance address field. This will cause an error and the notice will not be saved or posted.
2.5. What is the standard posting time for FBO?

A. When posting directly to FedBizOpps, synopses and other notices should be propagated within an hour. Uploaded files may take much longer (up to several hours) to become available depending on the number of files uploaded during the day. The uploaded files should be available by the end of the day and, at the latest, by first thing the next morning.

If you note that the HTML has not been generated after these time frames, please contact the FBO Help Desk at 877-472-3779.
2.6. I posted a notice to FedBizOpps, and then realized that I created it with the wrong solicitation number. How can I correct this?
    A. When you have posted a solicitation with the wrong solicitation number, we caution users from deleting the incorrect synopsis as vendor users have already received notifications about the posting.
Instead, post a modification to the synopsis with the error, directing the reader to the proper solicitation number; then post the corrected presolicitation with the correct solicitation number. This will allow people who have received email notifications of your opportunity to find the proper synopsis.

2.7. Why was I prematurely timed out of the system?
A. We sometimes find buyers will have the problem you describe when their proxy server and/or browser is set up to cache web pages.

When you log in to buyer, a session is created for you. This session times out if no traffic is sent over the internet to the system for 30 minutes. This usually happens when a user types a long synopsis into the system manually, rather than composing it in Notepad or a word processor and cutting and pasting into the worksheet, as is standard practice. Merely typing on the worksheet web page does not create internet traffic. The session is stored in the browser or proxy cache, and when you try to reinitiate the session by logging in again, the cached pages are used, which are associated with the timed-out session, so it times out again.

Using MSIE, you can prevent much of the problem with browser caching by:

Select Tools / Internet Options
Click "Settings" in the "temporary Internet Files" box
Click the "Every Visit to the Page" radio button
Click OK
Click OK
This will make the browser more likely to retrieve the new information.

If the problem is a proxy cache, you will need to speak with your local network administrator to correct it.
2.8. When I cut and paste text from my word processor into the description field of the synopsis, quote marks (single and double) are replaced by question marks. Why is this happening?

    A. The problem where quote marks are being replaced by question marks in created documents is due to an interaction between word processors (including notepad) and browsers when formatted text is copied into the browser.

    The buyer must turn off 'smart quotes' in the word processor before creating the document.
    To do this in MS Word 2000, perform the following steps:
    1. Select the "Tools" drop-down menu,
    2. Select the "Autocorrect" menu item,
    3. Select the "Autoformat as you type" tab,
    4. In the "Replace as you type" section, deselect the "Straight quotes with smart quotes" checkbox,
    5. Click the "OK" button.
    Now you may create the document with 'straight quotes' and the document will cut and paste into FBO properly.
2.9. Why shouldn’t I type the notice text directly into the description field?
    A. We recommend that you type the text in a word processing application (e.g. MS Word, Word Perfect) and paste into FedBizOpps so that your data is not lost if you experience problems posting to FedBizOpps. We also recommend typing your notice text in a word processing application first to complete a character count (to ensure that your text fits within the 24,000 character maximum for the description field) and to spell check your text, as the FedBizOpps system does not have a spell check function.
2.10. How do I use the index function?
    A. The Index function is used to post a URL address to your solicitation on FedBizOpps.
    To use the Index function:
    1. From the FedBizOpps Buyer module in FedBizOpps, click on ‘Index’,
    2. Choose the type of upload and click ‘Next’,
    3. Select the file and click ‘Next’,
    4. Enter the number of URL addresses to be uploaded and click ‘Next’,
    5. Enter the URL address in the ‘File URL’ field (e.g. http://www.eps.gov/), leave the file format as the default file type of MS Word, enter a description (e.g. SEE SOLICITATION), and click ‘Done’,
    6. Verify the file information to be posted and click ‘Yes’ to post the URL address to FedBizOpps.
2.11. How do I include government-wide numbered notes?
A. The FedBizOpps system includes a link to the government-wide numbered notes at the bottom of every synopsis page. You may reference these notes in your description. A good way to do it would be, "See government-wide numbered notes 22 and 26." This would make the reference clear.
2.12. Why is the drilldown for our location showing postings for another location in our agency?

A. It is possible that your location was assigned the same location code as the other location. Location codes must be unique within an office.
3. Deleting
3.1. How do I delete a Modification?
A. Please note that FedBizOpps will not allow a buyer to delete a modification without deleting the associated notice. The system will allow you to delete the entire notice (including all postings for that notice) or delete files uploaded to that solicitation. If an error is made on a modification, you can either post another modification or delete the entire notice. However, we strongly advise against deleting entire notices, as this will confuse vendors who have already read the notice or have already received notification of the notice.
3.2. How do I delete a solicitation?
A. We caution buyers about completely deleting solicitations from the system. When a solicitation is posted to the site, notifications go out to vendors, providing links to the new documents. If the documents are then deleted, the vendors will come to the site looking for them, and they won't be there.
Instead, we recommend that amendments be posted to the solicitation, explaining the error that was made, and where to find the correct solicitations, if any. This can be done by anyone who has access to those solicitations.
4. Archiving/Unarchiving
4.1. How do I unarchive a solicitation?
A. You can unarchive a solicitation with the following procedure:
Login to your FedBizOpps buyer account,
Click the "unarchive" command,
Select the solicitation number you wish to unarchive,
Click "Unarchive",
Click the "Save" button,
Click "OK".
The document will be flagged for unarchiving and will be unarchived when the archive/unarchive process runs. This process runs twice daily, at 10AM and 10PM.
4.2. What is being done to prevent archived files from reappearing on FBO?
A. The previous version of FBO showed only 30 days of postings. The current version shows all postings, active and expired. Each buyer is responsible for the control, archiving, and/or deletion of their files. Buyers are encouraged to archive inactive, expired, and/or old documents in a timely manner to conserve space resources.
5. Can’t view postings
5.1. Why can’t I find the solicitation I just posted?
A. It generally takes 1 hour for files to be available via both FedBizOpps servers. Posting volume however, may extend this period considerably. If posting is not evident within 4 hours, please contact the FBO Help Desk at 877-472-3779.
5.2. Why can’t I view the award notice I posted?
A. You may be experiencing this problem because of a special character in the “Contract Line Item” field. If you enter “N/A” in this field, your award notice will not post correctly because of the “/”, which is considered a special character. If you do not have a contract line item number, then simply leave the field blank or enter “NA” without the “/”.
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ANSWERS TO VENDORS:

1. How can I obtain a password?
A. Vendors do not need a user ID or password to access the system. Only Government Buyers (i.e., federal personnel authorized to post procurement solicitations for their agency) require User ID’s and passwords.
2. How can I obtain a user’s manual?
A. A user's manual for Vendors is available on the website.
To access the manual from the homepage:
Click on FedBizOpps Vendors
Click on “FBO Vendors Guide”
3. Why can’t I find this solicitation, the contracting officer just posted it?
A. This will occur if the files cannot yet be viewed. A link to a particular document may be visible before the document is actually available. This is due to the time needed for the file generation of the uploaded information and the replication of our two servers.
4. Why can’t I open files?
A. If you receive an “open” error or are asked to convert the files, you may need a document viewer, such as, Acrobat (.pdf files) or WinZip (.zip files). FedBizOpps contains a link to a documents viewers list. This link is located on each page with attached documents:

If the file type is not on this list, please contact the solicitation POC.

5. How do I find a solicitation without the solicitation number?
A. FBO provides two ways to find solicitations - the drill down via the list of agencies or via the field search. To locate a specific solicitation without the solicitation number you need to search other unique attributes of that solicitation. This could include a combination of: Agency, office, posted date, procurement classification code, and/or archived versus active status.

When you have as much information as possible you will want to search for the solicitation by:
Click on “FedBizOpps Vendors”
Initiate drill down through your target agency OR
Click on “Find Business Opportunities [go]”
Specify all the information you have available
Proceed to search for the solicitation by clicking the “start search” button.
6. What is the Vendor Notification Service?
A. A service of the FedBizOpps that allows vendors to register to receive emails notifying the Vendor of the following:

All notices for a particular solicitation number.
All notices from selected organizations and product service classifications, NAICS codes.
All procurement notices.

Disclaimer: This service is provided for convenience only and does not serve as a guarantee of notification. Subscribers to this list service are ultimately responsible for reviewing the Federal Business Opportunities site for all information relevant to desired acquisitions.
7. How do I register to have notifications sent to me?
A. From the FedBizOpps home page, click on "Vendor Notification Service". Click on the subscription option desired and follow the instructions.
8. How do I get on the GSA Schedule?
A. For information about the GSA schedule, please contact the MAS Helpdesk at:
Phone: (800) 488-3111
Email: mashelpdesk@gsa.gov
or go to www.gsa.gov and click on "GSA Schedules" to walk through the process.
9. How can I find business opportunities for the NAICS code that represents my business product or service?
A. First, you may want to validate your NAICS code selection at an Internet reference site, such as http://www.census.gov/epcd/www/naics.html. Once you have selected the 6-digit NAICS code that best represents your business product or service, you can use the valid code as a keyword - alone or preceded by NAICS AND - in the FBO full-text search window to locate FBO opportunities for that code. Some examples of variations of valid 6-digit NAICS code searches are:

233220 (find all records containing the number 233220)
233*** (find all records containing six-digit numbers starting with 233)
233220 OR 234990 (find all records containing the numbers 233220 or 234990)
NAICS AND 233220 (find all records containing the acronym, NAICS, and containing the number 233220)
NAICS AND 233*** (find all records containing the acronym, NAICS, and containing six-digit numbers starting with 233)
NAICS AND (233220 OR 234990) (find all records containing the acronym, NAICS, and containing the numbers 233220 or 234990).

Note that, if an NAICS code is specified for a given opportunity, you will normally find it in the description text of the presolicitation notice (synopsis). Caution: Ensure that the NAICS code you submit for search is valid. Refer any questions regarding the NAICS code and other synopsis content to the point of contact (POC) in the synopsis.
 
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