Everything You Need to Know About SAM for Small Businesses

What is the Sam Directory?

Uncle Sam combined with American Flag
I want you to get a lucrative contract deal with the government

SAM stands for System Award Management.

Why does my business need to register for the SAM Directory?

To do any business with the federal government, you must register your business in the System for Award Management directory. The government will not hire any type of business (large or small) that has not registered in SAM directory.

The SAM Directory is a great source of revenue.

What if I told you that there is a large revenue base for your business that is often untapped in many areas and therefore might have very little competition in your field?

You might be wondering if this magical source of revenue lives in the land of rainbows and unicorns. The good news is that this is nothing more or less than the United States Federal Government, one of the largest, most powerful purchasers of goods and services in the entire world. Our Federal Government provides a lucrative business opportunity that no business can afford to ignore.

Can a small business hope to compete for federal government contracts?

The Federal Government is required to reward a certain amount of its contracts to small businesses. Last year the Federal government awarded 25% of its contracts to small businesses.

In 2018 the U.S. Small Business Administration announced that the Federal government awarded a total of $105.7 Billion worth of contracts for goods and services to small businesses. This marks the first time that more than 100 billion dollars have been rewarded to small businesses and marks a 5 million dollar increase from the previous year.

Small Businesses are Thriving with the Government

The following facts are also very enlightening:

  • In FY18, the federal government exceeded the service-disabled-veteran-owned small business and small disadvantaged business goals and the prime contract dollar awards in all small business categories increased from previous years.
  • The federal government also exceeded its subcontract goals for awards to small businesses and women-owned small businesses and awarded more than 79 billion dollars in subcontracts to all small businesses.

The federal government has been exceeding its goals for contracting to many groups of small business owners that have been formerly overlooked as evidenced by this chart:

SBA chart
Percentage of small businesses that received Federal contracts.

What government agencies are incorporated into the SAM Directory?

Assistance Program Catalog

  • CFDA – Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance

Award Management

  • FBO – Federal Business Opportunities
  • FPDS-NG – Federal Procurement Data System-Next Generation
  • eSRS/FSRS – Electronic Subcontracting Reporting System/FFATA Subaward Reporting System

Entity Management

  • CCR/FedReg – Central Contractor Registration/Federal Agency Registration
  • ORCA – Online Representations and Certifications Application

Performance Information

  • EPLS – Excluded Parties List System of the General Services Administration (GSA), discontinued November 21, 2012
  • PPIRS/CPARS/FAPIIS – Past Performance Information Retrieval System/Contractor Performance Assessment Reporting System/Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System

Wage Data

  • WDOL – Wage Determinations Online Performance Information
You’re on your way!

The SAM Directory makes things very convenient.

SAM has conveniently combined the many government agencies into one directory. Registering for the SAM directory makes sure that your business is being seen and noticed by a large group of Federal Agencies. This system has efficiently streamlined contracting for both the government and the individual businesses.

When government procurement agencies are casting their search net for companies to send their proposals, your company being a registered entity in the SAM directory makes sure that you will be in their sightline.

What do I need to register for the Sam Directory?

You will need the following :

  • A Data Universal Numbering System or DUNS from Dun and Bradstreet
  • Your Tax Identification Number or TIN
  • A Social Security Number if you are a Sole Proprietor.

What is a DUNS Number?

The Data Universal Numbering System—or D-U-N-S number—was created and copyrighted in 1962 by Dun & Bradstreet. It is a unique nine-digit identifier that has become the standard numbering system to identify businesses across the globe. You can compare the DUNS number as a social security number for your business.

Any contracting opportunity in the System for Award Management (SAM) will require a DUNS number to apply.

What is the difference between a DUNS number and a Federal Tax ID number?

A DUNS number is used for business credit reporting purposes, whereas an EIN is issued by the IRS and used for tax identification purposes.

Are there any other advantages to registering for the SAM Directory besides government contracting opportunities?

A business has to be registered with SAM before they can begin to apply for valuable federal grants.

What is a Federal Grant?

A grant is a way the government funds your ideas and projects to provide public services and stimulate the economy. Grants support critical recovery initiatives, innovative research, and many other programs listed in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA).

First steps to getting a grant.

The following are the steps to apply for a grant:

  • Step 1: Obtain a DUNS Number
  • Step 2: Register with SAM
  • Step 3: Register with Grants.gov

Is there any other information that I should be aware of to take full advantage of what is offered by registering for the SAM Directory?

It is important that a business understands the government classification system which includes the following codes:

  • PSC
  • FSC

What is a NAICS number?

NAICS is a six-digit code that stands for the North American Industry Classification System. Many federal agencies post contracting opportunities using the NAICS codes. The NAICS is used as an internal reference that quickly describes what a business does. You want to make sure you have the correct NAICS number to qualify for as many contracting opportunities as possible.

What is the PSC number?

PSC stands for Product Service Code and is primarily used by the Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS) and the General Services Administration (GSA). They are used to describe the types of products, services, and research and development purchased by the federal government.

What is an FSC Code?

Federal Supply Class (FSC) codes are four-digit codes that are used to group products into logical families for supply management purposes. These codes are also used to classify government standards documents into categories, to help manage them more easily. FSC codes are grouped by Federal Supply Group (FSG) numbers.

What can I do to make registering for the SAM directory as easy as possible?

All this information can seem quite daunting. We understand that as a small business owner, you have a million things to accomplish on any given day and might not have the time needed for this process. However, you also do not want to miss out on the honey hole of opportunities provided by the federal government. It is important that you get registered into the SAM directory as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Let us handle all the hard work.

That is why it is a great idea to let us help you register at SAM Directory. We understand the importance of proper SAM registration and take this confusing process off your hands completely. Our website can make sure you are registered in as little as two days.


If you still have questions, we at SAM Directory will be more than happy to guide you through this often bewildering maze of registration. The consultation is free and you have nothing to lose.


Remember, registering for the SAM directory gives a business automatic entry into the extremely lucrative marketplace of the federal government. It is also a crucial step for applying for rewarding government grants that can help your business reach its full potential.  Let us, the professionals at SAM Directory, make sure that you do all that is needed to not miss out on this important opportunity. We will make certain that your application is processed quickly and efficiently so you can start being a federal contractor as soon as possible. We remove this hassle so you can go about the important mission of running your company.

Small businesses are the lifeblood of the economy. They are often key sources of innovation and research. The mom and pop shop has been part of the landscape and American dream since the beginning of this great nation. The federal government can help you achieve your business dreams. Let us help you take this vital first step on the pathway to success.


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