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Doing Business with Government Agencies

Government Contracting 

The government space is very large.   You have state and federal governments as well as local governments such as cites and counties. Understanding how these different entities operate is the first step to leaning how you can sell your products or services to them. 

Below are some common questions that you might have. Your PTAC advisor is available to help you along the way. 

 
 
The government space is very competitive. It is best to start with a basic business plan,  a marketing plan, and your financial systems in place. You may want to begin the process by asking some hard questions and being honest with yourself:
  • Which government  agencies buy what I have to offer?
  • Do they buy from companies like me?
  • Can I show past performance?
  • Where are you in your business development?

 

The federal government purchases from business of all sizes, located throughout the country, for all types of services – from dry-cleaning services to disaster recovery. Look for opportunities that you are interested in and see what company was awarded the last contract and the terms – you can search www.usaspending.gov or www.beta.SAM.gov for recent awards.

You will be registering in federal databases, locating an opportunity to bid on, then submitting and winning a contract. The basic steps are:

  • Obtain a UEI – unique entity identifier. Currently that is obtained through Dun and Bradstreet, known as a DUNS  number
  • Find your NAICS codes
  • Register with the System for Award Management (SAM)
  • Search solicitations
  • Submit a bid 

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. Note that the DUNS numbers are also known as a Unique Entity Identifier.

Companies who want to do business with the Federal Government are required to be registered in the Systems Award Management database. (SAM). SAM is free. Do not pay to get into www.SAM.gov.

North American Industry Classification System codes (NAICS) are industry codes used by federal and state governments. You are required to assign your business services or products a NAICS code when registering in SAM. You can find your code HERE

Defense contractors are now required to comply with cyber security requirements outlined in NIST 800-171.  In 2020, Defense contractors at all level of the supply chain will need to be CMMC certified: Cyber-security Maturity Model Certification.

The Defense Internet Bid Board System (DIBBS) is a portal where suppliers can search for, view and submit quotes for the Defense Logistics Agency

You can learn about selling to the state on the Department of Enterprise Services website.  

The Washington Electronic Business Solutions (WEBS) is the state procurement portal

The Washington State Office of Minority and Women’s Business Enterprises administers the state certification program. The purpose of this program is to maximize the opportunities for the minority and women business enterprises (MWBEs) to participate in public works projects and to provide goods and services to state agencies and educational institutions. Bona fide minority and women owned business can participate in the state program by becoming certified by OMWBE. OMWBE also processes applications for certification for the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program.

Many local governments use rosters for smaller jobs (under $350,000, public works jobs mainly). The MRSC Roster is one of the largest used rosters in the state. 

There are too many cities and local governments to list them all here.  You can find your local city procurement policies on their city website.

Here are a few examples:

City of Everett
City of Kirkland
City of Tacoma
City of Seattle 
City of Spokane
City of Vancouver
King County
Kitsap County
Snohomish County
Whatcom County

Municipalities

Community Transit
Pierce Transit
Sound Transit
Port of Seattle
Port of Tacoma
Port of Vancouver

Create marketing materials geared toward government agencies such as a Capability Statement. 

Find out if the agency has a Small Business Liaison (SBLO) who you can reach out to.

Meet with PTAC to determine best strategy. 

Other Resources

There are many free local resources that can help you get your business ready before you get into government contracting. Below is a list of additional assistance you will want to be aware of

 
 

SCORE volunteers are available to help you set up your business. 

SCORE is a Resource Partner with the U.S. Small Business Administration, and provides free and confidential small business advice for entrepreneurs.

The Office of Women’s Business Ownership is an integral component of Entrepreneurial Development’s network of training and counseling services. It oversees a network of Women’s Business Centers. The centers are designed to assist women achieve their dreams and improve their communities by helping them start and run successful businesses, regardless of social or financial disadvantage, race, ethnicity or business background

The Washington Small Business Development Centers (WSBDC)  provides one-on-one, confidential assistance at no charge for businesses. They provide counseling for management and technical business affairs such as:

  • starting, purchasing or selling a business
  • choosing and incorporating new technology
  • financial management
  • business plan development
  • market plan development
  • business research

Washington Labor and Industries can assist business owners in understand employee / employer related questions. 

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