Doing Business with the Government – where do I start?
- Get a computer (or access to one) & get on the Internet! More and more government business is being conducted online. Even if you don’t have your own website, you must at least have an email address.
- Conduct market research to find out which government agencies buy what you sell. Search the following sites www.fbo.gov , www.usaspending.gov , or fedbid.com to see what the government is buying now and what they’ve bought in the past.
- Find or request your DUNS (Data Universal Numbering System) number. The D&B D-U-N-S Number is a unique nine-digit identification sequence which provides unique identifiers of single business entities, while linking corporate family structures together. You can request a DUNS number online by clicking here. There is no charge to get a DUNS number.
- Find out your NAICS (North American Industry Classification System) codes. These are codes that describe what your business does. Be sure to keep these codes handy, as you will need them when filling out Government registrations or searching for bids.
- Register with the System for Award Management (SAM). Companies who want to do business with the Federal Government are required to be registered in SAM. If your company was previously registered in the Central Contractor Registration (CCR), your information may already be in in SAM. You will just need to set up a SAM account and ensure the information transfers accurately.
- If you need help with any of the above steps contact your local Washington PTAC counselor, if you’re outside Washington State you can find the PTAC serving your area at www.aptac-us.org
- IRS Small Business & Self Employed Tax Center. This section offers a broad range of resources across federal and state agencies, as well as industry/profession specific information for self-employed entrepreneurs, employers and businesses. You will also find links to starting and operating a business, employment taxes, business-related forms and publications, and online learning options.
- Most Federal agencies have staff specifically assigned to assist small businesses. Find out if the agencies you want to do business with have a Small Business office you can contact for assistance. This website is a great place to start.
- Defense Logistics Agency – Learn about the Procurement Technical Assistance Program (PTAP) – the national program of PTACs
- Small Business Administration (SBA) Portland
- Small Business Administration (SBA) Seattle
Tips to Remember
- Always keep copies of applications you have completed. Be sure you write down the dates you submitted the applications on the copies.
- Always write down and keep any passwords, registration numbers, and MPINS. These can be very hard to replace if you lose them!
- Don’t hesitate to call the help lines on websites if you have questions. Once again, keep track of who and when you called.
- If you call a help line and aren’t satisfied with the person you are talking to, document the call, hang up, call back and talk to someone else.
- Keep documentation of everything! You may need it in the future.
- Contact your PTAC counselor at any time!