The United States Federal Government
The United States government buys many of the products and services it needs from suppliers who meet certain qualifications. It applies standardized procedures by which to acquire goods and services. That is, the government does not purchase items or services in the same way in which private companies might secure business. The procedures used by the government can be found in the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR).
What is FAR?
The FAR is a standardized set of regulations employed by all federal agencies in making purchases. It provides procedures for how to maneuver in the procurement process. It takes you through the need for the product and service to the award of the contract.
As of 2001, the United States Federal Government began to utilize Federal Business Opportunities (FedBizOpps) to list all procurement opportunities expected to exceed $25,000. FedBizOpps is how the government communicates its buying specifications to potential contractors.
The specifications are quite exact for most of the products and services that government agencies buy on a regular basis. Your contract will contain extremely precise specifications that must be followed meticulously. In fact, the specifications-which describe the government’s requirements were contained in the invitation for bids or requests for proposals on which you based your bid or proposal.
If your company is awarded a contract, you are bound to deliver the product or service described in the specifications. A company is bound by the terms of these specifications, as well as the basic specifications. Failure to deliver a product meeting these terms will result in the termination of your contract for default. So, it is extremely important to understand all specifications before bidding on a federal contract. The government prefers contractors that are reliable and pay attention to the smallest details.
The United States Government Is A Very Powerful Client With Deep Pockets
The Federal government usually spends around 500 billion dollars a year on goods and services. This makes the U.S. government an extremely attractive client. There are few other organizations with this type of spending power and clout.
The government also tends to buy goods and services in bulk. If your business has the infrastructure to handle large orders, then the government can help you grow substantially at an accelerated pace.
Government agencies also buy goods and services in large quantities. Large orders can be a double-edged sword for small businesses. However, if managed correctly, they can help you grow substantially and rapidly.
Small Businesses Are Given Special Consideration When It Comes To Government Contracts
In many markets, small businesses are often outcompeted by larger organizations that often have access to almost unlimited resources. This set aside actually might increase a small business’s chances of winning a lucrative bid.
The federal government is required to set aside at least 23 percent of its total spending specifically for small businesses. Several small businesses have made a fortune just on federal government contract awards.
The Federal Government Offers Great Opportunities For Many Types Of Businesses
The government actually designates a portion of the contracts for women-owned small businesses, small disadvantaged businesses, companies within historically underutilized business zones (HUBZone), and service-disabled, veteran-owned small organizations. This allows for underserved groups to have a real chance to get awarded lucrative government contracts.
What Information Does A New Business Need to Register For SAM?
It is important that a business understands the government classification system which includes the following codes:
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 group products into logical families for supply management purposes. They are also used to classify government standards documents into categories, for easy management. FSC codes are grouped by Federal Supply Group (FSG) numbers.
CAGE Code (Commercial and Government Entity)
This code is five characters and unique to your business. It’s basically your ID code, and government agencies will identify your business using this code. It is a bit like a social security number for your business. If your business includes more than one facility, then you will need multiple CAGE codes. Each location must have its own unique code, and each location must be registered separately with SAM.
Registering With The SAM Directory Also Has Other Important Advantages
You must register with the SAM directory in order to apply for government grants.
A grant gives you government funds ideas and projects to provide public services and stimulate the economy. Grants support critical and innovative initiatives and can be found in the Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA).
A grant is different from a loan in that it is money that your business does not have to pay back. So, registering for the SAM directory actually gives you access to free money!
How Do You Get Started Working With The Government?
SAM stands for System Award Management.
In order to do any business with the federal government, you must register your business in the System for Award Management. The government will not hire any type of business that has not registered in the SAM directory.
We have an article on our site, Everything You Need to Know About SAM for Small Businesses, that gives you important information about this process.
As a smart entrepreneur, you have already used our site to register in the SAM directory. Congratulations on taking this important first step to become a government contractor.