Thursday, March 06, 2014

Florida DOT Changing Rules To Contract With More Small Businesses

TALLAHASSEE – In an effort to help grow small businesses in the state, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) will implement a number of strategies to further support small businesses:

· Increase the percentage of small business reserved professional services contracts from 10% to 15% (the 10% goal for construction and maintenance contracts will remain the same);

· Increase the small business reserved project amount threshold from $1 million maximum value to $1.5 million maximum (the BDI project amount originally started at $500,000);

· Increase the threshold for requiring an overhead audit on professional services contracts from $250,000 to $500,000, which reduces the cost of doing business with the department;

· Incentivize larger firms to team with Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) and small businesses in types of services where they have been traditionally under-utilized;

· Simplify the small business size standard for construction/maintenance to one size threshold of $15 million instead of multiple thresholds based on the type of work (the professional services size standard was previously simplified to one threshold of $6.5 million);

· Expand the Small Business database that currently has professional services firms to include construction, maintenance and other contractual services firms.

The DBE program is designed for minority or female owned small businesses; over the last two years, the department has awarded directly or indirectly approximately $800 million or 11.40% of the total contracting dollars to DBEs. Since the inception of the BDI, the department has reserved 260 contracts totaling approximately $86 million and this number is expected to increase significantly over the next year.”

FDOT Secretary Ananth Prasad said, “The department recognizes that small businesses are the backbone of Florida’s economy and a vital component in getting Floridians back to work.”

The objective of FDOT’s Business Development Initiative (BDI) is to help foster the growth of small businesses that contract with the department. Under this Initiative, the department reserves selected contracts for small businesses. The program not only helps to distribute more contracting dollars to small businesses, but also provides significant opportunities for small businesses to serve as prime contractors with the department instead of as subcontractors. The ultimate goal is for small businesses to grow so that they can hire more employees and compete with larger contractors outside of the BDI program.

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