Three Steps to Optimizing Your Overhead Rate

Professional architectural, engineering, railroad, and utility companies who perform work for government agencies are generally required to have an independently audited overhead rate. You calculate this rate by dividing total allowable indirect expenses over direct labor but getting to this step and optimizing this result involves some effort.

It might seem as you're jumping through hoops to satisfy a regulatory body, but that's only partially true. If you're working in this space, your livelihood and success depend on your ability to be fully reimbursed for your eligible costs and make the right decisions on future contracts. These are just a few of the reasons why understanding and optimizing your overhead rate are vital.

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Common FDOT Contractor Prequalification Application Questions (and Answers)

Common-Contractor-Prequalification-Application-Questions-(and-Answers)

Florida Law (Chapter 337.14 F.S.) And Rules of the State of Florida, Department of Transportation, (Chapter 14-22, F.A.C.) require contractors to be prequalified with the Department in order to bid for the performance of road, bridge, or public transportation construction contracts greater than $250,000.00.

Prequalification is accomplished by using an annual application process. Applicants should read Chapter 337.14 F.S. and Rule 14-22 F.A.C. to review for compliance prior to completing the application.

All corporations, LLCs, limited and general partnerships, LLPs and LLLPs wishing to do business within the State of Florida must register with the Florida Department of State here.  This registration is renewed annually.  An active registration is required before a certificate of qualification can be issued.

All vendors wishing to do business with any State agency must register at the following web site: My Florida Market Place. The vendor number assigned to the firm as a result of this registration should be provided at time of Application submittal and is required before a certificate of qualification can be issued.

Here are common questions (and answers) related to FDOT Contractor Prequalification:


Can I use a copy of the old (paper) application to apply for prequalification?

No, the electronic application must be used to apply for prequalification.

When will I know the decision of the Department concerning my application for prequalification?

The Department will render a decision within 30 days of receipt of a complete Application.

 

Is the MyFloridaMarketPlace (MFMP), on-line registration the same as the on-line Application for Qualification?

No, they are two separate processes. A firm, however, must have a MFMP Vendor Number to become prequalified.


When do I submit the work underway information?

Although there is no specific "date due" for this report, all contractors must submit it once every 30 days.  The "Status of Contracts as of" schedule must show work underway no more than 30 days prior to the date of the submission. 

 

How can I submit the work underway information?

First, a company must set up an Internet Subscriber Account (ISA), a company using the ISA can access the on-line Application for Qualification as well as the Certification of Work Underway Screen. A company can have an ISA for the Application and an additional ISA for another user for the Certification of Work Underway Screen. Details for establishing an ISA are contained in the Instructions for Completing the Application.

 

Can I give the log-in password to several people in my office?

While you can share your password, it is not recommended that you do so for security reasons.

 

Is the temporary password that is sent to my email case-sensitive?

Yes, the password is case-sensitive. For convenience, you can copy & paste the password from your email into the password box.

 

The person in charge of handling our prequalification has left the company. How do we add someone else to handle our prequalification?

First, you or your company must establish an ISA account if you don't have one. Second, you must contact the Contracts Administration Office at (850) 414-4000 at make us aware of the transition. Additional documentation maybe required for verification purposes.

 

How long can my password be?

Your password can be a maximum of 8 characters.

 

Can I upload my Financial Statements to the online application?

Yes, The Financial Statements must be in PDF format. It is suggested that a copy of the Financial Statements be requested from your CPA in PDF format.

 

What is the difference between submitting an audited financial statement and reviewed financial statement?

Beginning July 1, 2012, a contractor applying to prequalify to bid on road and bridge construction projects up to  $1,000,000 may submit "reviewed" financial statements instead of "audited" financial statements. 

Both are prepared by a CPA such as Hunter & Associates, both are subject to the same due date and submission rules, and both must include the following components to be considered complete: 

> Balance sheet
> Income statement
> Statement of retained earnings
> Statement of cash flows
> And Notes

Audited financial statements are accompanied by an “opinion.”  Reviewed financial statements are accompanied by a letter called a “review report”.

Do I need to be prequalified?  Am I a Sub Contractor or a Prime Contractor?

Prime Contractor: The contractor that is awarded a contract by the FDOT and is responsible for ensuring the work is completed on time and is in compliance with all aspects of the contract.  If a Prime Contractor is interested in bidding on construction jobs over $250,000, then prequalification per Rule Chapter 14-22 F.A.C. is required.

Sub-Contractor:  The contractor(s) hired by the Prime Contractor for the purpose of completing specific parts of the contract.  A Sub Contractor does not bid directly to the FDOT and does not need to be prequalified.=

What if I’m a Prime Contractor who wants to bid on a job that’s less than $250,000? 

You do not need to be prequalified if your bid will be less than $250,000.


I want to bid as a Prime Contractor, but I am not prequalified, and the estimated amount is more than $250,000, but my bid will be less than $250,000, can I bid?
 

For any project that requires prequalification a Prime Contractor would need to be prequalified in order to bid. This applies to Construction and Design-Build projects.

How do I register with My Florida Marketplace?  Why do I need to do this?

All companies who wish to do business with the State of Florida must register with My Florida Marketplace.  If you're ordering Plans and Specifications or Bid Documents for the first time, you need to go to the following link and register: https://myfloridamarketplace.com/ 

It takes about 3 days to obtain an active vendor number.  My Florida Marketplace is in a separate agency.  For any questions, please visit the My Florida Marketplace FAQemail the Vendor Help Desk at VendorHelp@myfloridamarketplace.com, or call (866) FLAEPRO (352-3776) 8:00 am - 5:30 pm EST, Monday through Friday.

If you need help, you can contact us by phone  (904) 731-9222,
or by email: admin@huntercpa.com.
 

How do I get Plans, Specifications, or Bid Documents for an upcoming FDOT job?

Please access the Online Ordering Information under Quick Links.

How do I find out about advertised projects?

Projects advertised for bids are listed in the "Bid Solicitation Notice".  You can view the Bid Solicitation Notice on the Contracts Administration Website  or subscribe to an email notification.  The email notification will alert you of projects advertised in Tallahassee (Central Office) and in the District Offices throughout the State of Florida.

I need a Bidder's List for an advertised project.

There are Proposal Holder's and Plan Specifications Holder's Lists on the Contracts Administration Project Information page.  Select the Letting Date via the drop-down menu and the desired list from the Important Letting Documents menu on the next page.  Please note that the list is removed per Florida Statute two working days prior to the deadline to receive a bid document, which is three business days before the bid opening.

I'm new to bidding FDOT projects. How do I complete my bid?

If you are a proposal holder and you are preparing your bid, please be sure to read the Bidder's Checklist.  For any other questions please call our office at (904) 731-9222.

How do I obtain the FDOT Standard Specification for Road and Bridge Construction? 

The FDOT Standard Specifications are available online at the Program Management Office Website or you may visit the Maps and Publications Office website to order a copy online or call (850) 414-4050.

When are bid tabulations available on the website?

Bid tabulations are available on the day the Department posts the Intent to Award for that project.

When does posting happen?

Each letting has two distinct posting dates, known as First Posting and Second Posting. If a project does not make the first posting date, it is usually placed on the second posting.

How long does it take before letting results are posted on the website?

The letting results are available in real time and will be updated until the last bid is received. It is usually posted within an hour after the letting.

 
Our company has never applied for prequalification, can we apply anytime during the year?

All applications must be submitted with audited financial statements that reflect the financial position of the applicant  no more than 4 months from the fiscal year end of the company. For example, if your company has a December 31st year end, you will need to apply by April 30th. If you miss this deadline, you will need interim audited financial statements.  This applies to companies applying the first time as well as those submitting annual applications.
 

What type of bids do not require a prequalification?

Prequalification is not required for the following:

1)  To bid as a prime contractor on projects of $250,000 or less

2)  To bid as a subcontractor in any amount

3)  To bid on buildings (A general contractor's license is required for this type of project)

4)  To bid on maintenance contracts


NOTE:

Effective July 1, 2012, applicants seeking prequalification to bid on road and bridge construction projects less than $1,000,000 can apply by submitting financial statements "Reviewed" by a Certified Public Accountant. You can contact Hunter & Associates for help. 

All other requirements of Rule 14-22, F.A.C. still apply.  Therefore, the application and financial statements must be submitted within 4 months of the applicant's fiscal year end. 

Applications must be submitted online at the FDOT Contractor Prequalification Application 

Do you need help? Contact us here!

Lewis Hunter
ABOUT THE AUTHOR | Lewis Hunter
Lewis founded Hunter & Associates in 1990 to help small-business owners achieve their potential. He manages the firm’s client relationships, regularly soliciting assessments of our team’s progress and seeking feedback on our performance and value-added services. He is an expert in cost accounting, overhead rate management and transition planning for architecture and engineering firms. Lewis also manages or performs all examinations of overhead rates that are reported to state transportation departments, including indirect cost rate audits for firms qualified as disadvantaged business enterprises (DBEs). He has managed the attestation services for applicants seeking reimbursement from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection for costs incurred in remediation of petroleum contamination of underground storage tanks as well.
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