Steps to Federal Contracting. Is it Right for You

1. Decide if federal contracting is a good idea for your business. Consider factors including whether your company has enough time and resources to invest in the process. GSA’s Vendor Toolbox can help you make the decision.

2. Research the demand and pricing for your product or service within the government. Determine the demand for your products or service with the Contracting Opportunity Finder, FedBizOpps, or the GSA Forecast of Contracting Opportunities Tool. And use the Contract-Awarded Labor Category (CALC) site to get an idea of hourly labor rates in federal contracts.

3. Avoid costly errors and potential legal problems by researching the regulations and laws for federal contractors. The Small Business Administration (SBA) offers resources that can help you learn about the responsibilities of federal contractors. You can also contact a Procurement Center Representative (PCR) for assistance and counseling.

4. Create a business plan. It should include a marketing plan, staffing details, and a calculation of how much money you expect your business to gain from the contract.

5. Look up the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code for your industry. You must know your six-digit NAICS code to compete for federal contracts.

6. Determine whether your business is eligible for any special labels (set-aside types) or programs. If so, you can compete for additional contracts that are “set aside” by the government for small and/or disadvantaged businesses. You may also receive preferential treatment when competing for contracts, depending on the specific set-aside type(s) you qualify for.

7. Register for a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) code. You must have a nine-digit DUNS code to compete for federal contracts. The government uses this code to track your company’s credit record. This system is managed by Dun & Bradstreet, which is a private company. Registration is free for federal contractors.

8. Register in the System for Award Management (SAM). You must have a SAM account to compete for federal contracts. The government uses this system to store information about your business, including certifications, so it’s important to keep your SAM profile updated. Registration is free.

Finally, deep consideration should be made when choosing a surety bond agent. Your agent is only as good as the markets they represent. A good agent will have the resources of multiple sureties to determine the best possible fit and program for you. We represent 78 surety markets — ensuring you will be represented by the best possible surety for your needs. In addition, here are some of the other services we provide at no cost.

• Review of Financials – this includes analysis of financial statements (both internally and externally produced), evaluation of the company’s financial organization, practices, controls, and procedures, systems, etc. We can also help with the interpretation of accounting and tax guidelines (GAAP, FASB, FIN, etc.)

• Contract and Bond Form Review – we can also assist in negotiations and drafting of acceptable terms with obligees and principals

• Annual and Semi-Annual Information Reminders – Our staff is so efficient we don’t wait for a problem to arise or a bond to be requested to obtain information to keep your account current. We send out reminders twice a year (with follow-up reminders in between) so that we can have your account updated and ready for when you need us

• Helpful Resources – Our interactive and updated website shares articles on relevant industry topics to help keep you up to date on what’s happening

• Banking Support – We help to arrange and/or support your banking relationship(s)

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