Linda's Small Business Corner: Steps to Doing Business with the Federal Government


Doing business with the Federal Government as a Small Business may see daunting, but the reality is that it is in some ways easier than securing Private Company business.

Federal Contracting, as in with any government agency, is pretty standardized, but if you are a small business or qualify as any of the special "Set Aside" groups, you're odds of getting a contract are quite good.

We've gathered the pertinent steps and guidelines from for you below, now all you have to do is get started! We are here to help you, so if you get stuck, email us and we'd be glad to help. Contact us

Getting Started as a Contractor

Qualifying as a Small Business

You may take it for granted that your company is a "small business." The distinction is important if you wish to register for government contracting as a small business. To be a small business, you must adhere to industry size standards established by the U.S. Small Business Administration. As you register as a government contractor in the System for Award Management (SAM), you will also self-certify your business as small.

The SBA, for most industries, defines a "small business" either in terms of the average number of employees over the past 12 months, or average annual receipts over the past three years. In addition, SBA defines a U.S. small business as a concern that:

  • Is organized for profit

  • Has a place of business in the US

  • Operates primarily within the U.S. or makes a significant contribution to the U.S. economy through payment of taxes or use of American products, materials or labor

  • Is independently owned and operated

  • Is not dominant in its field on a national basis

The business may be a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, or any other legal form. In determining what constitutes a small business, the definition will vary to reflect industry differences, such as size standards.

Make Sure You Meet SBA Size Standards

Because all federal agencies must use SBA size standards for contracts identified as small business, you need to select NAICS codes that best describe your business and then determine if the business meet size standards for the selected NAICS codes. Use our Size Standards Tool to find out if you qualify as a small business. Once you have determined you are indeed a small business, you can then certify your business as small by registering as a government contractor. Click Here for complete information from the SBA on determining size requirements per industry.

Determine Your NAICS Code

The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) classifies business establishments for the purpose of collecting, analyzing, and publishing statistical data related to the U.S. economy. You can (and should) select more than one NAICS Code. Be thorough in your research as this is what the government will use to see if you are qualified to bid on a project not.

If you are a Woman Owned Business or believe you qualify as an "Economically Disadvantaged Woman Owned Business" make sure you select codes from within these lists as well. This will give you access to special government set asides meant to give you an extra edge against big businesses.

Click Here to identify your NAICS Codes.

Get a D-U-N-S Number

Before you can bid on government proposals, you need to obtain a Dun & Bradstreet, or D-U-N-S, Number, a unique nine-digit identification number for each physical location of your business.

Before you can bid on government proposals, you need to obtain a Dun & Bradstreet, or D-U-N-S, Number, a unique nine-digit identification number for each physical location of your business. D-U-N-S Number assignment is free for all businesses required to register with the federal government for contracts or grants.

What do I need to get my D-U-N-S Number?

When registering for your D-U-N-S Number, you will need the following on hand:

  • Legal name

  • Headquarters name and address for your business

  • Doing Business As (DBA) or other name by which your business is commonly recognized

  • Physical address, city, state and ZIP Code

  • Mailing address (if separate from headquarters and/or physical address)

  • Telephone number

  • Contact name and title

  • Number of employees at your physical location

  • Whether you are a Home-Based Business

How do I get my D-U-N-S Number?

Good news! Getting your D-U-N-S Number is easy. Visit D-U-N-S Request Service to obtain more detailed instructions on applying for your D-U-N-S Number.

Register for Government Contracting

Once you have classified your company based on the established size standards, you are ready to begin registering to do business with the government.

You need to register in SAM - the System for Award Management. This is how you will eventually get paid and the final stop to registration.

Registering to do business with the Federal Government can open a lot of doors for you; but first you must take the steps to get registered. Go to SBA.Gov for more information on how your business can benefit from registration and special set aside programs.

#SBA #federalbids #smallbusiness #certifications #federalbusiness

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