Last week, the GAO (Government Accountability Office) released its fiscal year 2012 bid protest statistics. Companies files 2,475 bid protests in FY12 (fiscal year 2012), a five percent increase from FY11. GAO closed slightly more than that number, 2,495. Of the cases that were closed, 570 were decided by a GAO merit decision. The remainder were closed because the cases were settled before a decision or were withdrawn.
The bid protest process is fairly quick. All cases are decided within the 100 days allowed under the Competition in Contracting Act. Most cases are decided within 30 days.
Of the 570 cases that were decided based on merit, 106 or 18.6 percent were decided in favor of the protestor. However, this statistic does not tell the entire story. The GAO report contains an "effectiveness rate" measured by a protestor obtaining some form of relief. In FY12, the effectiveness rate was 42 percent. This rate has not changed much. It was 42 percent in FY08, FY10, and FY11 as well. Only FY09 was different at 45 percent. The effectiveness rate not only includes cases where the GAO sustained a protest but also cases where an ADR (alternative disputes resolution) process were utilized and cases where the procurement agencies offered some form of relief before the GAO made a decision on the merits of the case.
All in all, 42 percent is pretty good odds. If you have a sound basis for filing a protest and you file in a timely manner, these are excellent odds for obtaining some form of relief.