Getting Started (Part III) Last time we explored whether government contracting was good for your business and we looked at each of the markets. Once we determined we had what it took, we looked into each entity of the government to see if they bought what we sold. In most cases, that answer is going to be yes, but it is important to know when the potential opportunities will be available and who specifically will be issuing the solicitation.
So, today, we are going to look at how to get started at the level you have selected. Let’s start with the most difficult one, the federal government. You will need several things to start: DUNS # (Its free, don’t pay for it) http://fedgov.dnb.com/webform/displayHomePage.do;jsessionid=81407B1F03F2BDB123DD47D19158B75F There is also an option to buy a program through Dun & Bradstreet that helps your company build its credit (this is the option that has a fee associated with it) CAGE Code (once you get your DUNS, you can apply for the CAGE Code) Create a new individual account in http://www.sam.gov and once you have that, apply for a CAGE Code. This will take a couple of days. You must have a bonafide office, even if it is at home. Executive Suites do no work for business addresses. Once you have your CAGE Code, you can log back into Sam and start the registration process. You will have to determine one other thing and that is your NAICS Codes which can be found here. The more you select, the easier it is to be eligible for opportunities. Type in as many keywords that you can that describes your business. Hint: write down these keywords and store them. They will come in very handy over the next several years and you may even use them for your website. To get your NAICS Codes, click here: http://www.census.gov/eos/www/naics/ SAM Registration (System for Award Management). This is the federal governments all if one registration for them to see if your company has dotted the I’s and crossed the t’s.
But, there still is one more step, in order for the Contracting Officers, PEO’s, Program Managers, and Small Business Specialist to find you, you must also complete the SBA’s Small Business Dynamic Search. This is not required, but companies that have done it are more easily identified when the contracting officers do their market research. That site can be found here: http://dsbs.sba.gov/dsbs/search/dsp_dsbs.cfm Now, after a good day’s work, you are ready to be found by the federal government.
If your market determination was for state opportunities, then you must do a whole other set of inputting. Let’s use California for example. For another year or so, this will work as the State is moving to FI$CAL instead of: http://www.dgs.ca.gov/pd/Home.aspx and click on doing business with the state. Each of these registrations will ask about certifications which we will cover in Part IV.