Doing Business with the Federal Government – where do I start?
- Conduct market research to find out which government agencies buy what you sell. Search the following sites www.beta.sam.gov and www.usaspending.gov to see what the government is buying now and what they’ve bought in the past. For a more detailed data-set, you may also be interested in Federal Procurement Data System.
- 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. Note that the DUNS numbers are also known as a Unique Entity Identifier.
- 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. SAM is free. Do not pay to get into www.SAM.gov.
- 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
Doing Business with the Federal Government – what else should I know?
Selling to the federal government is very different than selling to the State/Local governments or in the commercial sector. One of the main differences is the rule book; The federal government follows the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR). You’ll notice federal solicitations will heavily reference the FAR. Understanding these clauses and how they impact your pricing and ability to comply with a subsequent contract is essential. PTAC can help!
- 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!
Cyber Security – DFAR 252.204-7012 Compliance
Defense contractors are now required to comply with cyber security requirements outlined in NIST 800-171. For an overview of this requirement, cyber security template and self assessment handbook, our PTAC Colleagues at Georgia Tech Procurement Technical Assistance Center have produced some quality resources. Click here. For further questions on compliance, contact your local PTAC office today. In 2020, Defense contractors at all level of the supply chain will need to be CMMC certified: Cyber-security Maturity Model Certification.
Other Helpful Links
Defense Internet Bid Board System – Search, View, Submit quotes for Defense Logistics Agency items of supply.
ASSIST – The office source for Department of Defense Specifications and standards
Department of Defense Office of Small Business Programs – Learn more about how the Department of Defense buys from small and diverse businesses.
R&D Funding – Do you have an innovative solution and need seed funding to further your research, proof of concept, or prototype? You may be interested in one of many programs the federal government has. Programs include, but are not limited to, Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and DoD’s Rapid Innovation Fund. Contact your PTAC to learn more.
Doing Business with State/Local Governments - Where do I start?
Washington State Government has some centralized purchasing through the Department of Enterprise Services (DES). This link outlines vendor registration requirements, rosters, and more.
WEBS for Vendors – The Washington Electronic Business Solution for Vendors offers solicitation listings from state agencies as well as institutions of higher education and local government agencies.
MRSC Rosters – MRSC offers roster services for local governments around the state. With over 500 public agencies participating, businesses offering small public works, consulting or goods and services should explore MRSC’s services.
Washington State Department of Transportation posts valuable market information on their website.
OMWBE – The Office of Minority Women Business Enterprises provides certifications for women, minority as well as the DBE/SBE (Disadvantage Business Enterprise / Small Business Enterprise) certifications which are valuable if the business is pursuing federally funded transportation work.
Washington Department of VA – offers a Veteran Owned Business certification for firms in Washington that are owned by a veteran.
“Below are links to various procurement sites across the state.
Contact your local PTAC counselor to sign up for Bid Match! You can sign up to receive local, state, and federal government bid solicitations in your email daily. Our Bid Match database monitors hundreds of procurement websites and sends you daily listing of Bid opportunities that match what you do. Sign up for a free 30 day trial here. After the 30 days, the fee is $165 for a 12 month subscription.