RFP Questions—Staffing Services

Responses to RFP Questions: Preferred Vendors for Staffing Services

GENERAL RESPONSE FROM LSC

This RFP seeks to identify and establish preferred vendors for LSC’s future temporary and permanent staffing needs in a variety of administrative, technical, and professional positions. This RFP is not seeking staffing services for any currently available or specific positions.

We recognize that pricing will vary based on the position, but we would like to know:

  1. if you operate on a retained or contingency payment structure,
  2. what your general mark-up rate or fee is, and
  3. conversion pricing terms for temp-to-perm, permanent, and replacement.

LSC’S ANSWERS TO SPECIFIC QUESTIONS SUBMITTED:

Average Spend and Use of Staffing Services

  1. What is LSC’s historical usage and yearly spend for this contract during the past 3 years? What was your actual staffing spend (temp and permanent) over the last 3 years? What is LSC's approximate total annual spend on staffing services?

LSC does not currently have preferred vendors for staffing services. But, we are increasingly in need of these services. LSC has approximately 135 employees. In the past year, we have used staffing services to fill approximately 5-8 temporary or permanent positions, two of which were at the management level. In the last year, we have spent approximately $90,000 on staffing service fees, including compensation for the temporary and temporary-to-permanent employees.

  1. What’s your projected staffing spend (temp and permanent) over the next 3 years? What is the anticipated total spend for this contract?

While this is difficult to project, our need for staffing services has grown each year. As such, we expect that the total value of our preferred vendor spending over the next 3 years will be approximately $300,000.

  1. What is the expected monthly volume and percent breakdown of “types of temps used?” (i.e, what %admin, %fundraising, %IT, etc) What is the expected number of new resource requests per month or per year? It would be desirable to know expected volume by category, e.g., Administrative, IT, HR, Finance, Legal, Operation, etc.

In the past year, our placement history per employment category by percent has been as follows:

  • Administrative: 30%
  • IT: 15%
  • Human Resources: 5%
  • Accounting: 10%
  • Government/Public Relations: 0%
  • Grants Management: 25%
  • Fundraising: 0%
  • Legal: 0%
  • Research/Data Analysis: 5%
  • Executive: 10%

We typically need 2-3 temps per quarter.

  1. How are temps used at LSC? (ie, used sporadically to cover hiring gaps, maternity leaves, and unexpected busy times—or to cover known busy seasons and pre planned annual campaigns/projects)

LSC typically uses temporary employees to cover hiring gaps, extended medical or other leaves of absence, and to enhance our capacity during busy times. Increasingly, LSC has been using staffing agencies to help identify qualified candidates for hard-to-fill positions, like some grants management and managerial positions. With the exception of one temporary position related to an annual conference, LSC does not have seasonal fluctuations in staffing needs.

  1. How often do you anticipate needing support?

Recently, LSC has had a steady need for temporary, temporary-to-permanent, and permanent employee support, approximately 7-10 position per year.

Recruiting

  1. Can sourcing and recruiting operations be done from India to source US-based candidates?

Because LSC is a small organization of 135 employees primarily performing grants management and supporting operational duties, including IT, accounting, and human resources functions, it is unlikely that LSC’s temporary positions could be performed remotely from India. LSC has typically been able to satisfy its hiring needs domestically, but is open to considering quality candidates wherever they originate from, so long as they have the required work authorization. LSC is unconcerned with how a staffing agency sources and recruits potential candidates, as long as qualified candidates are identified and offered.

Interviewing and Selection

  1. Will LSC staff interview candidates and make the final selection?

Yes. LSC would like to interview all candidates suggested by its preferred vendor and make the final selection as to which candidate to temporarily or permanently hire for a specific position.

Placements

  1. Are all candidates required to be US Citizen? Are candidates, such as Green Card holders, allowed?

All candidates must be legally permitted to work in the United States to be eligible for employment with LSC. United States citizenship is not required.

  1. For IT jobs, can the staffing agency source candidates with special work permits such as H1B or EAD?

Yes, as long as they are otherwise qualified for the job.

  1. What is the temp-to-perm transfer duration?

LSC has only had 2-3 temporary employees convert to permanent employees in the last few years. Of those, the average conversion time was 3-4 months.

  1. What is the Place of Performance for these services? Can LSC provide a list of potential locations where work may be performed?

With a few rare exceptions, employees will be expected to perform their work at our Washington, DC, headquarters at 3333 K Street NW, Washington, DC 20007 (Georgetown Waterfront).

  1. Will LSC provide equipment and work spaces needed for office-based positions?

Yes.

  1. What is the anticipated average length of assignment?

It will vary based on position, but in the past our temporary assignments have typically averaged about 2-5 months.

  1. Does LSC have tenure limits for contingent labor? If so, how are they enforced?

No. LSC does not have tenure limits for contingent labor.

  1. What’s the anticipated assignment(s) start date?

No particular assignment; this RFP seeks to establish preferred vendors for LSC’s future staffing needs. We plan to make preferred vendor awards by December 1, 2018.

  1. Is it possible to provide job descriptions?

We have almost 50 different positions for which we could possibly seek future temporary staffing services. In lieu of providing all those position descriptions, please review the current job announcements on our website, which should provide a good sampling of the types of positions that LSC offers, at https://www.lsc.gov/about-lsc/careers/career-opportunities. In addition, LSC typically needs temporary employees in the following employment categories: Administrative, IT, Grants Management, Accounting, Human Resources, Government/Public Relations, , Fundraising, Legal, Research/Data Analysis, and Executive Management.

  1. Do you want the vendor to propose labor categories aligned with the requirements outlined in the RFP or will LSC provide LCATS?

The typical employment categories for which LSC needs temporary employees are:

  • Administrative: 30%
  • IT: 15%
  • Human Resources: 5%
  • Accounting: 10%
  • Government/Public Relations: 0%
  • Grants Management: 25%
  • Fundraising: 0%
  • Legal: 0%
  • Research/Data Analysis: 5%
  • Executive/Management: 10%
  1. Can you provide any clarification in terms of the level of experience needed for these positions, actual job titles, and/or job descriptions?

This will vary depending on the position, but we have had temporary employment placement needs for entry-level thru senior management-level positions.

  1. Should resumes of potential candidates be included with the proposal?

No.

  1. Do we need to provide service for all of the positions?

No. But if you specialize in a specific employment category (e.g., IT, grant management, or accounting temps), please indicate that in your proposal. LSC needs staffing agencies that provide candidates for a wide variety of positions, as well as agencies that focus on specific areas.

Working with LSC

  1. How many department heads (LSC employees) will the selected vendor(s) be dealing with?

Vendor(s) will work primarily with LSC’s Director of the Office of Human Resources and the Human Capital Manager.

  1. Is there a need for physical office location in Washington D.C. area?

No. The staffing agency does not need to be located in Washington, DC, but must serve DC and be able to source and suggest qualified candidates who are located in or nearby DC and willing to work in DC (Georgetown) during a temporary employment assignment. LSC will not pay for a temporary employee to get to or from LSC’s headquarters. But, on-site parking may be available. LSC will provide physical office space in our building for the majority of temporary and all of the permanent placement employees. In rare circumstances, LSC may allow a temporary employee to work remotely.

  1. Because LSC is a federally established, funded, and overseen, yet private and independent, 501(c)(3) grantmaking organization, please specify if the Service Contract Labor Standard with specified requirements for health and welfare, vacation and holidays applies. Are these positions Service Contract Act eligible?

No, these positions are not Service Contract Act eligible. LSC anticipates that all temporary employees will remain employees of the staffing agency and, therefore, ineligible for any of LSC’s benefit programs, including healthcare and paid/unpaid time off.

  1. When LSC speaks of replacement personnel, is this intended to mean if an employee can’t perform the role adequately, or replacement as in if an employee goes on vacation we have to provide a replacement to fulfill the job role?

Replacement personnel means if a temporary employee supplied by a staffing agency cannot perform the job adequately, LSC expects the agency to supply replacement candidates.

  1. In regards to the eighth bullet under “Overview of Services Needed,” what is the usual period of time to determine if a placement is unsuitable, thus requiring backfill?

While we have not had this issue to date, we envision two weeks would be adequate time to determine if a placement is unsuitable.

  1. Does LSC expect service guarantee? e.g. If candidate is found to be not a fit for the job in first few days service, does LSC expect certain hours not billable due to lack of performance?

LSC will select the staffing agency that provides the best overall value to LSC, including pricing discounts and service guarantees.

  1. What is the average time-to-fill rates? Are there any positions that tend to be challenging to fill?

Once LSC identifies a need for a temporary or permanent employee, we prefer to fill the position as quickly as possible. Time-to-fill rates can vary from one week to one month. We have a couple positions that have been challenging to fill due to the unique nature of LSC as a non-profit, established by Congress, which oversees federal funding.

  1. Can LSC provide any significant changes in business expected in the upcoming years that could impact labor spend or hiring volume?

No.

  1. What are LSC’s primary business drivers and current pain points?

LSC is a federally-funded non-profit that annually must be awarded a congressional appropriation to remain in operation.

  1. Are you looking for vendors to provide a manager who will be responsible for administration and oversight for temporary personnel?

No. However, it would be helpful to identify a primary point of contact for all hiring opportunities.

Pricing

  1. Please clarify what you are expecting in response for “Pricing Model and percentage rates”? Can LSC be more specific in what information it is seeking under Pricing and Pricing Methodology?

Although we recognize that your pay rate often depends on the candidate and position, we would like to know your typical pay-rate range for the following employment categories, at both the entry and senior levels: Administrative, IT, Human Resources, Accounting, Government/Public Relations, Grants Management, Fundraising, Legal, Research/Data Analysis, and Executive Management; your mark-up percentage or agency fee (i.e., overhead costs and profit margin), and if you operate on a retained or contingency payment structure. Also, we would like to know your process for establishing pay rates and what type of benefits you offer your temporary employees.

  1. In the section “Pricing and Pricing Methodology,” what kind of travel costs would you like us to include in the pricing model and percentage rates? You have noted that travel and transportation costs are to be included in the pricing. Is this regarding our employee travel? If so, what is the anticipated amount of travel? Is it within 50 miles of the placed location or overnight travel?

We do not expect our staffing services preferred vendors (or their suggested temporary employee candidates) to perform any required travel, but if they do, LSC reimburses for necessary and reasonable actual expenses upon presentation of receipts per our Business Travel Policy, which is similar to the Federal Travel Regulation.

  1. Would pricing from our approved GSA schedule 736 suffice? Are we to use our GSA 736 Schedule pricing? Or for pricing, are you simply going to use labor categories on our GSA schedule and we can offer percentage discount?

We are open to whichever pricing scheme offers LSC the best overall value. We will let you decide if your fair market pricing or GSA Schedule pricing is best suited for LSC’s opportunity. If you believe your GSA pricing schedule is more competitive, please specifically reference your GSA pricing levels in your proposal so that we don’t have to search the GSA Schedules for it. If you will offer LSC discounted pricing, please specifically describe the discount terms.

  1. We can provide markup percentage over hourly pay rate for each category of job that is inclusive of all costs. We can also provide terms for temp-to-perm, permanent and replacement. However, to provide actual hourly pay rate and corresponding bill rate we require following information: A) Job Description B) Years of experience.

At this point, we are looking for general pricing estimates for employment categories, not exact pay rates for specific positions. Please provide your typical pay rate range and mark-up percentage rate for each employment category that includes all costs.

  1. What GSA or discounted rate is LSC expecting? Since we are not on GSA schedule, can LSC provide additional information regarding GSA or discount rates? Is the selected vendor required to be on GSA schedule? Is bidding for this opportunity limited only to GSA Schedule contractors? Or is GSA Schedule pricing simply preferred? In your RFP you indicate that preference will be given to vendors offering GSA or discounted rates. Since GSA rates are sometimes subject to prevailing labor rates, is LSC expecting to enforce minimum rates for any of the various labor categories?

LSC does not require its preferred vendors to be on a GSA Schedule and is not using GSA pricing as the minimum pricing standard; we are looking for vendors, from wherever they hail, who will provide LSC with the best overall value. We leave to potential staffing agency candidates to determine whether their fair market or GSA pricing provides LSC with best value. We will not consider staffing service companies that have been barred from a GSA Schedule, however. In addition, we do not expect to enforce minimum rates for any of the employment categories for which we typically need temporary employees.

  1. If government-mandated costs or expenses are enacted during the contract term, will respondents be allowed to request rate increases to cover these higher rates?

We’re not sure what kinds of “government-mandated costs or expenses” to which you are referring but, no, once LSC and the successful staffing agency sign a preferred vendor contract for a 3-year term, we expect that quoted pricing to be valid for the contract duration.

  1. Do we use the SCA model for employee compensation?

No, we do not use the Service Contract Act (SCA) model for employee compensation, as it is unlikely that any of our temporary employment needs would be subject to the SCA.

The staffing industry typically works on a markup percentage based on the employee pay rate. Who determines the employee’s pay rate, us or you?
A. It depends on the position and LSC’s staffing need, but our experience with staffing agencies to date has been that they suggest a pay rate and LSC will inform them if the proposed rate is within our customary pay schedule.

  1. What is LSC’s current range of rates for the classifications listed in the solicitation?

LSC’s salaries are competitive with nonprofits of our size. Per statute, no LSC employee may be paid more than Level V of the Executive Schedule plus locality pay, currently about $180,000/year. Salaries at LSC range from $37,000 to $175,000.

  1. Is there a Managed Service Provider (MSP) and/or Vendor Management System (VMS) involved? If so, what is the MSP and/or VMS fee?

No. But LSC does use the expense management software Concur to reimburse temporary employees for necessary and reasonable expenses.

  1. If there is no MSP or VMS, does LSC have a portal to approve time cards for temporary staff? If no such portal, do you require the vendor to provide such a portal?

LSC expects the vendor to have its own timekeeping system for the temporary employees it provides. LSC would use the vendor’s system to approve timecards for temporary staff.

  1. Does LSC envision paying with a Purchasing Card?

No.

  1. What is LSC’s expected invoicing schedule (weekly, bi-weekly, monthly)?

LSC’s prefers a weekly invoicing schedule for staffing services, but we are happy to work with the selected vendors on a different invoicing schedule if that is preferable.

Contracting

  1. Please provide a copy of the LSC Staffing agreement.

Please review this link for a sample LSC agreement for temporary staffing services. This is provided only as an example of LSC’s preferred contracting terms and agreements.

  1. Will respondents be disqualified or adversely impacted during the evaluation process if they were to submit contract exceptions to LSC?

Respondents will not be disqualified if they take exception to LSC’s preferred contract terms; it is one of multiple factors we will consider in the evaluation process. But a respondent that takes exception to LSC’s preferred contract terms will likely be adversely affected; LSC has been clear that it will give preference to those staffing service companies that accept its preferred contracting terms.

  1. Could you please clarify the following statement under “Willingness to accept LSC’s contractual terms, “LSC prefers contracts that provide reasonable attorney’s fees in the event of a dispute…”

We’re not interested in contracts that follow the British rule that ‘loser pays fee.” We prefer contracts that follow the American rule where each party pays its own attorney fees regardless of the outcome. Everyone pays their own but if party insists on loser pays, it must be reasonable (can’t be a percentage).

Preferred Vendor Status

  1. How many preferred vendors are there currently? How many current staffing vendors are in the preferred program? Which vendors?

None. LSC does not currently have preferred vendors for staffing services.

  1. How many contracts will be awarded?

No set number, but LSC would ideally like to establish at least 3 preferred vendor relationships to assist with our staffing needs.

  1. Does the preferred vendor status mean that all positions will go to all vendors (like a BPA) or how is it determined which vendor gets which positions and how often? When a request for employees is presented, is it presented to all vendors?

We anticipate that we would send staffing opportunities to all our preferred vendors who provide general staffing services or specialized staffing services applicable to the staffing opportunity in question (e.g., IT opening would be sent to staffing agencies supplying temps for all employment categories as well as those that specialized only in IT temps). LSC would then select the agency who offered the most qualified and best fitting candidate.

  1. If applicable, who is the incumbent for these services and for how long have they served the Legal Services Corporation in this capacity?

LSC does not currently have a preferred vendor for staffing services but has previously used Robert Half, Careers in Nonprofits, Beacon Hill, and The Midtown Group, among others.

  1. Will the existing temporary staff be migrated from the current vendors to new vendors or will they remain on service with current vendors or will they be replaced by new vendor resources?

This contract is for future staffing needs only. Existing temporary staff will remain on service with current vendors.

RFP Process

  1. What is the anticipated award date?

Initially the anticipated award date was November 16, conditional upon finalizing contract terms. But we have extended the deadline due to the delay in providing these Q&As, so the RFP Schedule deadlines, including award date, have been extended by one week. The new anticipated award date is November 26.

  1. Would LSC accept electronic (email) proposal submission? 

As stated in the RFP, all proposals MUST be emailed, and 3 hard copies mailed, to

Zoe Osterman, Staff Attorney
Legal Services Corporation
3333 K Street NW
Washington, DC 20007
  1. Does the information requested for Pricing and Pricing Methodologycount against the 5 page limit? 

No.

  1. Does the Cover Page, Table of Contents, and Cover Letter count against the 5 page limit? 

No. We are mostly interested in the substance of your proposal, not its packaging. Proposals that are specifically tailored to our identified needs are greatly appreciated and preferable. The quicker you get to the point, and the less boilerplate language included, the better. Any proposal that requires a table of contents likely does not meet our definition of “concise and well organized.”

  1. On Page 5, under Firm or Key Personnel Qualifications,we are requested to provide examples of experience and expertise in these areas, samples of comparable work. Is this information we provide counted against the 5 page limit?

No.

  1. Referring to page 4 in the “Proposal Requirements” section, “All proposals must be concise (5 pages or less), not including resumes, brochures, and samples of successful placements…” Are we correct to believe that “samples of successful placements” pertains to the References section?

Yes.

  1. References requirement—Does LSC want a description/summary of the work performed along with the full contact information like in a past performance section, or may we include the description/summary in our Sample of Successful Placements, not included in the 5 page maximum, if our references are also being used for that section?

You may include it in your “Sample of Successful Placements” section, not included in the 5-page maximum, but remember that we are truly looking for CONCISE submissions, so please summarize your samples as much as possible. The idea is to make this easy for us to review and compare to others; lengthy, boilerplate submissions do not accomplish that directive.

  1. Do you want sample resumes of placements in key areas? How many resumes would give you a good sample?

A couple resumes for each of these employment categories (Administrative, IT, Human Resources, Accounting, Government/Public Relations, Grants Management, Fundraising, Legal, Research/Data Analysis, and Executive Management) would be helpful, but are not required.