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 certify your business as small and obtain the registrations you need to begin bidding on government proposals.
Steps to Registering as a Federal Contractor & Certifying Your Business as Small
1. Obtain a D-U-N-S Number
You will need to obtain a Dun & Bradstreet 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 register or read a quick overview here.
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. This registration is sometimes referred to as "self-certifying" your small business. 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 purchase agreement.
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 that you will be asked on SAM is explained in the Federal Acquisitions Regulations, Section 52.212-3 https://www.acquisition.gov/far/current/html/52_212_213.html Offeror’s Representations and Certifications - Commercial Items
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. Read Identifying Industry Codes for more information.
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 upon 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 of the items that you will need in order to complete registration processes.
Your NAICS codes
Your Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS)
Your Federal Tax Identification Number (TIN or EIN)
Your Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) codes
Your Product Service 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' growth. Visit the following pages for more information:
References on this page to the System for Award Management (SAM) will go into effect on July 29, 2012 until then please continue to use the Central Contractor Registration (CCR), and the Online Representations and Certifications Application (ORCA), to register your business with the government. SAM will replace CCR & ORCA on July 29, 2012. For more information on SAM visit www.sam.gov. If you or your customers require any assistance (troubleshooting, data concerns, general information, etc.) with SAM contact the Federal Service Desk at fsd.gov or by telephone at 1-866-606-8220.