Small businesses interested in pursuing federal contracts have many options available to represent their company to potential buyers, to research the federal marketplace for available opportunities, and understand the competition. To prepare your business for federal contracting opportunities, it is important for you to understand these resources.
System for Award Management
If you are ready to bid on federal contracts, it’s necessary to submit your business profile to the primary database that federal agencies use to locate contractors. To send your business "resume" to the government, register a business profile with the System for Award Management, also known as SAM. Agencies can search for your business based on several factors, including capabilities, size, location, experience and ownership.
Dynamic Small Business Search
The Small Business Administration maintains the Dynamic Small Business Search (DSBS) database. As a small business registers in the System for Award Management, there is an opportunity to fill out your small business profile. The information provided populates DSBS. DSBS is another tool contracting officers use to identify potential small business contractors for upcoming contracting opportunities. Small businesses can also use DSBS to identify other small businesses for teaming and joint venturing.
FedBizOpps: Federal Business Opportunities
Federal business opportunities for contractors are listed at FedBizOpps: Federal Business Opportunities. Federal agencies are required to use this site to communicate available procurement opportunities and their vendor requirements to the public and interested potential vendors for all contracts valued over $25,000.
Many government agencies establish government-wide contracts, which simplify the procurement process for federal agencies by allowing them to acquire a vast array of products and services directly from commercial suppliers.
The largest government-wide contracts are established by the U.S. General Services Administration under its GSA Schedules Program. State and local governments also use the GSA schedules for purchasing goods and services, so becoming a GSA schedule contractor can be beneficial at all levels of government. Learn more about the program and find out how your small business can get on a GSA Schedule.
Federal Procurement Data System
Federal Procurement Data System – Next Generation is the repository of all federal contracting data for contracts in excess of $25,000. With this system, you can learn the following about federal contracting opportunities and increase your market capability:
- Which agencies have contracts and with whom
- What agencies buy
- Which contractors have contracts
In addition, there are over 50 standard reports you can run, as well as specialized reports that allow you to request information using over 160 customized fields.
USASpending.gov is your source for information about government spending through contracts awarded by the federal government. The website is a searchable database that contains information for each federal award, including:
- Name of the entity receiving the award
- Amount of the award
- Transaction type and funding agency
- Location of the entity receiving the award
- Unique identifier of the entity receiving the award
This information can be used to help you identify procurement trends within the federal government and potential opportunities.
Many federal agencies have what is known as an Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) or an Office of Small Business Programs (OSBP). These offices work within their agencies to identify opportunities to incorporate small businesses as vendors to their agencies. Each agency releases a forecast of anticipated procurement activities that includes potential small business opportunities. Once you have reviewed an agency forecast and used systems like FPDS and USASpending.gov to discern if there may be opportunities at a specific agency, it can be beneficial to reach out to the OSDBU to build a relationship with the agency. Additionally, each OSDBU holds trainings and events to help small businesses identify if there are opportunities with the agency. To learn more about OSDBUs and events, visit www.osdbu.gov.