The U.S. government is the largest purchaser of goods and services in the world. This provides hundreds of billions of dollars worth of opportunities available for companies to contract with the government. Contracts are not exclusive to large corporations. Federal law requires at least 23% of all federal contracts be awarded to small businesses. Bidding on government contracts may be overwhelming making, small businesses less likely to enter the government contracting market.
Small businesses must first legally qualify as a small business and register as a government contractor before they can bid on contracts with the federal government. Below you will find the necessary steps to becoming a government contractor.
Assess Your Business
A Dun & Bradstreet (DUNS) number is required to bid on government proposals. A DUNS number is a nine-digit i.d. number designated for each physical location of your business. Visit this website to apply for a DUNS number.
Your products and services will need to be matched to a North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code. These codes classify businesses based on products or services they supply. Businesses have multiple NAICS codes if they sell multiple products and services. NAICS codes are found here.
Small businesses must meet size requirements set by the SBA. These standards define the maximum size the business can be to qualify as a small business under a government contract. Size standards can be found at: https://www.sba.gov/size-standards/
Businesses must register with the government’s System for Award Management (SAM). SAM is a database that agencies use to find contractors. It gives government agencies assurance your business is eligible for contracts reserved for small businesses. It also allows your business to indicate whether it is eligible for contracts reserved for disadvantaged, women-owned, veteran-owned, or located in an underutilized area.
In order to be eligible for government contracting, businesses must comply with laws and regulations. Such rules and regulations can be found here. Regulations that encompass government contracting programs for small businesses are listed in Section 13 CFR 125 here.
How to Bid on a Government Contract
- To find a federal contracting opportunity search the Contract Opportunities Search Tool here.
- Respond to solicitation not presolicitation. Consult the Common Federal Contracting Terms glossary if you need help understanding contracting terms. The glossary can be found here.
- Do not be afraid to reach out to the agency contact person listed in the solicitation. The contact person or Procurement Center Representative can answer your questions regarding the solicitation.
- Submit the requested forms, past performance, and pricing information in the appropriate format detailed in the solicitation.
Once an Offer is Submitted
The government takes between 30 to 120 days to review submissions. Some of the factors contracts are awarded on include the following: technical acceptability of the proposal; past performance references; and pricing and terms of the proposal. After the proposal is reviewed, the government lets offerors know whether their proposals have been accepted or rejected. They sometimes also may schedule a meeting to negotiate terms or request more information.
If you have not received a response from the government within three months, reach out to the solicitation’s contact person for more information. If you believe your proposal has been incorrectly rejected, get legal help. An attorney may help you get what is rightfully yours.
Additional information on government contracts can be found here. For additional help with government contracts, contact Whitcomb, Selinsky, PC at (866) 476-4558 or book a free assessment below.