Follow these steps to get your business ready to bid on government proposals

Federal, state and local governments offer businesses the opportunity to sell billions of dollars’ worth of products and services. Many government agencies require that some percentage of their procurements be set aside for small businesses. Once you have classified your company based on the established size standards, you are ready to begin registering to do business with the government.

Follow these easy steps to obatain the registrations you need to begin bidding on government proposals.

Steps to Registering as a Federal Contractor

  • 1. Obtain a D-U-N-S Number: You will need to obtain a Dun & Bradstreet Data Universal Numbering System (D-U-N-S) Number. This is a unique, nine-digit identification number for each physical location of your business. The assignment of a D-U-N-S Number is free for all businesses required to register with the federal government for contracts or grants. Visit the D-U-N-S Request Service to request your D-U-N-S Number via the web. If one does not exist for your business location, it can be created within 1 business day.
  • 2. Register your business with the System of Award Management (SAM): You need to register your business with the federal government’s SAM–the primary database of vendors doing business with the federal government. Federal Acquisitions Regulations (FAR) require all prospective vendors to be registered in SAM prior to the award of a contract, basic agreement, basic ordering agreement or blanket purchasing agreement.

    By using SAM, you will be able to register your business size and socio-economic status while completing the required solicitation clauses and certification. By completing your required solicitation clauses and certifications, you certify that the information provided about your company and its business activities are correct. The certification information you will be asked on SAM is explained in the Federal Acquisitions Regulations, Section 52.212-3.

    SAM is also a marketing tool for businesses. SAM allows government agencies and contractors to search for your company based on your ability, size, location, experience, ownership and more. SAM also informs searchers of firms certified by the SBA under the 8(a) Development and HUBZone programs.

  • 3. Find the NAICS Codes for Your Company: You may also find that you need a North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code for administrative, contracting and tax purposes. The code classifies the economic sector, industry and country of your business. For federal contracting purposes, you will need to identify in SAM all the NAICS codes (industries) applicable to your business.
  • 4. Obtain Past Performance Evaluations: Businesses interested in getting on the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) Schedule for contracts should obtain an Open Ratings, Inc. Past Performance Evaluation. Open Ratings, a Dun & Bradstreet company, conducts an independent audit of customer references and calculates a rating based on a statistical analysis of various performance data and survey responses. While some GSA Schedule solicitations contain the form to request an Open Ratings Past Performance Evaluation, vendors may also submit an online request directly to Open Ratings.

Items Needed for Registration

Below are some items that you will need in order to complete registration processes:

  • Your NAICS codes
  • Your Data Universal Numbering System (D-U-N-S) Number
  • Your Federal Tax Identification Number (TIN or EIN)
  • Your Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) codes
  • Your Product Services codes (optional, but useful)
  • Your Federal Supply Classification codes (optional, but useful)

More About Government Contracting

Contracting with the federal government can open the door to many opportunities for your small business and can aid your business’s growth. Visit the following SBA sites for more information: