Technical bids in advance of TfL's reverse auction were submitted to the client this week. They include rates for whichever of the 10 sectors consultants are bidding for.
The rates are built up from staff charge-out rates, overheads and profit margins, and are manipulated to calculate an average rate.
This will then be used to rank consultants against each other in the online auction.
If consultants drop their rates during the auction they are given two days to decide where to slash costs.
Alongside the rates consultants were asked to submit discounts that could be offered depending on the volume of work won and how quickly they are paid.
But onsultants e confused about how the discounts will be applied.
'We would be happier bidding if the whole process was meaningful, but so much about this is unclear, ' said one senior consultant who is in charge of submitting the company's bid. 'It is unsatisfactory.'