Take the Steps to Federal Government Contracting
The U.S. Government is the single-largest purchaser of goods and services in the world, awarding more than $500 billion in contracts annually.
By its own standards, the government tries to set aside 23% of those contracts for small businesses.
But before your small business can become a federal contractor, you need to complete several steps, Val Coleman of the Office of Government Contracting writes in the Small Business Administration blog.
The first step, she said, is to determine whether the products or services your company offers are in demand.
“Use resources such as usaspending.gov and agency recurring procurement forecasts to conduct market research and gauge whether the federal government is currently buying your products or services,” Coleman writes.
The next steps for your small business are:
- You must have a Dun & Bradstreet identification number to bid on government contracts.
- You must know your North American Industry Classification System code.
- You must meet size standards.
- You must register with the System for Award Management, a database government agencies use to find contractors.
After you fulfill these basic requirements to become a government contractor, the next step is to determine the types of federal contracts for which your business qualifies.
- Competitive set-aside contracts and sole-source set-aside contracts. A competitive set-aside contract is reserved for small businesses and open to competition. A sole-source set-aside is also reserved for small businesses but can be issued without a competitive bidding process under special circumstances, such as only one business can fulfill the contract. Some set-asides are open to any small business, while some are open only to small businesses that participate in SBA contracting assistance programs.
- Joint ventures. Two or more small businesses can team to form a joint venture. Small businesses that take part in the All Small Mentor-Protégé program can also form a joint venture with a mentor, which can be a large business.
- Subcontracting. Some government contracts require large companies to subcontract with a small business, which creates more opportunities for small businesses to get involved in federal contracting.
For more information, consult the SBA’s Small Business Contracting Guide.
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