Beneficial Government Websites
These links will provide you with the ability to:
- Access Government databases and search result display options
- GSA schedule industry categories, SIN’s and registered business information
- Industry classification & product and service code details
- Registered business profiles, award history and contact information
- Educational and beneficial information about contracts and grants
- Award history for businesses, departments, agencies and sub-agencies
- An overall understanding of the Government, and how contracts and grants are awarded
Doing Business with the Government
Businesses can provide their services or sell their products to government entities. In this section you can find types of opportunities, assistance available, tips and resources for doing business with these types of governments.
Many federal agencies have a dedicated office to help small businesses search and compete for contract opportunities within the agency. These offices are known as either an Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) or an Office of Small Business Programs (OSBP). They may hold informational trainings and outreach events or provide contact information for businesses to use to ask questions about contracting with their agencies.
Each Tribe is a sovereign nation and governs its own rules and regulations regarding businesses. Many Tribes have a Tribal Employment Rights Ordinance (TERO) office. Most contractors and employers operating within a Tribe’s jurisdiction are required to follow TERO requirements.
State & Local Opportunities
Navigating the vast state and local contracting market effectively is key to being successful, whether you are an experienced contractor or a new entrant. States, cities and counties direct over $3 trillion in annual spending, employ more than 19 million people and oversee massive operations in public safety, health care, education, finance and transportation. While there is no shortage of opportunity to sell to government, finding government contracts to bid on is no easy task.
There is a huge variance in purchasing practices among states, and even among counties or cities within the same state. Each year, the government awards hundreds of billions of dollars in federal contracts to businesses to meet the needs of federal agencies and the military. The government’s goal is to award at least 23 percent of those contracts to small businesses.
What is SAM (System for Award Management)?
The System for Award Management (SAM) (https://www.sam.gov) is a government run site that serves as a central registration point for government contractors.
While federal contract opportunities have varying requirements, there is a core set of data that is required across the board. Instead of repeatedly submitting the same company information with each bid, the government created procurement systems for companies to submit required information through one source. SAM was launched around 2012 and consolidates the following legacy systems:
- Central Contractor Registration (CCR)
- Online Representations and Certifications Application (ORCA)
- Excluded Parties List System (EPLS)
Do You Need to Register on SAM.gov?
Any company that would like to do business with the federal government, or needs to report subcontract information, must register on System for Award Management (SAM). SAM.gov registration is also a requirement for companies that want to obtain a GSA Schedule Contract.
The SAM registration process can be broken down into these four categories:
- Core Data: Company Name, DUNS, CAGE code, TIN, General & Financial Information
- Assertions: Type of Goods/Services, Company Size
- Representations and Certifications (Reps & Certs): Small Business Size Status, Acceptance of Common Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Clauses and Defense
- Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) clauses – Points of Contact
North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) Code(s)
NAICS codes are used to classify products and service offered by companies. You can search for the appropriate NAICS code by keyword on the Census website.
Commercial and Government Entity (CAGE) Code
If you do not already have a CAGE Code one will be assigned to you by the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) after you complete your SAM registration.
Your SAM registration is valid for one year and must be updated on an annual basis. There are third-party companies that assist with the SAM registration process for a fee. However, it is important to note, a company can register on SAM.gov without outside assistance and for no cost.
These registration portals are usually easy to find, and their instructions are clear. Let’s look for one together. Let’s say we live in the sunny state of Florida, where Select GCR is headquartered. Let’s open a browser and search for the portal and information that we need. If you are searching for a city or county, it is recommended you put the state name in the search to prevent duplicates from another state showing up in your search. The search we use is “(State Name) Supplier Registration”, and you’ll get results that look like this:
What is FEMA and how does it work?
FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) mission is to support the citizens and first responders to promote that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.
What is the purpose of FEMA?
Overview: Located within the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is responsible for coordinating the federal government’s response to natural and manmade disasters.
Before and after a disaster strikes, FEMA needs help from registered vendors (businesses), that provide products or services that can be used for disaster recovery. A decade after Hurricane Katrina hit, there were still contracts being written for relief work. With that in mind, there are plenty of opportunities in this sector of government contracting. To gain access to these opportunities, while registering for System for Award Management (SAM), the entity will check that they can help in a time of need (disaster recovery). Additionally, a business can take additional steps to register directly with FEMA as a viable option to provide products or services.
Emergency contracts are a great way for a business to work within the federal space. There are a few reasons – first, and most obvious, these type contracts are profitable. The second reason is that they lay your foundation for success in the federal marketplace. When you complete a FEMA contract, you develop a past performance rating. Having a great past performance rating makes it more likely that you will win more and more contracts in the future.
Remember, winning an emergency contract isn’t just about being registered. You need to know how to identify which opportunities are right for your business. You also need to know who in the government you need to contact to land these opportunities.
The Dynamic Small Business Search (DSBS) is a database created by the Small Business Administration (SBA) where contracting officers search for small businesses who are registered in System for Award Management (SAM). Businesses registered in SAM are eligible to do business with the federal government.
Contracting officers search DSBS when they’re looking to hire a small business vendor to fulfill contracts that are under $25,000. A registered business must make sure their profile is properly filled out to maximize their chance of getting a NO-Bid contract.
The business information listed in DSBS includes:
- Government Certifications
- Assurance Standards
- Ownership Set-Asides
- Employees & Revenue
- Services & NAICS Codes
- Capabilities &Certifications
- Insurance Bonding Levels
- Past Performance
The information listed in the Dynamic Small Business Search is a combination of data pulled directly from your SAM registration and information manually added inside the DSBS database.
Importance of the DSBS:
Contracting officers in the United States are required to spend 23% of their contracting dollars on small businesses. Sometimes, when a contracting officer needs a small business to fulfill a contract, they will use the DSBS to find that business.
Your Dynamic Small Business Search profile:
- Confirms your eligibility for small business set asides
- Makes clear that your business is small and/or owned by a socioeconomic group
- Gives information about your company to prime vendors looking for subcontractors
Contracting officers looking for specific registered businesses use the DSBS to identify profiles in the following socio-economic categories:
- Women-Owned Small Business
- Economically Disadvantaged WOSB
- 8(a) Socially & Economically Disadvantaged
- Veteran-Owned Small Business
- Service-Disabled VOSB
The DSBS profile is set up when processing your SAM registration. Many businesses skip this step in their registration, which hides them from the public search. When contracting officers want to find businesses who are registered to do government work, they search via the DSBS.
As a vendor, you can use the DSBS to research competition or find subcontractors. The bottom line – the DSBS is the yellow pages for contracting officers, and you want your business listed.
The Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS) is a single source for US government-wide procurement data. FPDS is the current central repository of information on Federal contracting and provides detailed information on all contract actions. The Executive departments and agencies award over $800 billion annually for goods and services. The system can identify who bought what, from whom, for how much, when and where.
Government agencies are responsible for collecting and reporting data on federal procurements through the Federal Procurement Data System.
The federal government uses the reported data to measure and assess the impact of federal procurement on the nation’s economy, learn how awards are made to businesses in various socioeconomic categories, understand the impact of full and open competition on the acquisition process, and address changes to procurement policy.
Contracting Officers (COs) must submit complete reports on all contract actions, as required by the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR).
What is USA spending?
USAspending.gov, available at http://www.USAspending.gov, is a government source for data on federal awards by state, congressional district (CD), county, and zip code. The awards data in USAspending.gov are provided by federal agencies and represent contracts, grants, loans, and other forms of financial assistance.
The Bureau of the Fiscal Service of the U.S. Department of Treasury developed and operates USAspending.gov. This site was developed in accordance with the DATA Act, which was led by Treasury in coordination with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and federal agencies.
Within the USAspending.gov website users can take advantage of such features as:
- Spending Explorer – Search budget function, Agency, Object Class
- Advanced Searches – Search year, award type, agency, location, recipient, recipient type, award amount, award id, CFDA program, NAICS code, PSC, type of contract pricing, type of set aside, etc.
- Search Profiles – Agencies, Federal Accounts, State, Recipient
- Download Center – Award Data Archives, Custom Award Data, Customer Account Data, Agency Submission Files, API and Data Dictionary
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is a United States government agency that provides support to entrepreneurs and small businesses. The mission of the Small Business Administration is “to maintain and strengthen the nation’s economy by enabling the establishment and viability of small businesses and by assisting in the economic recovery of communities after disasters”. The agency’s activities are summarized as the “3 Cs” of capital, contracts and counseling.
SBA helps lead the federal government’s efforts to deliver 23 percent of prime federal contracts to small businesses. Small business contracting programs include efforts to ensure that certain federal contracts reach woman-owned and service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses as well as businesses participating in programs such as 8(a) and HUBZone.
SBA has at least one office in each U.S. state. In addition, the agency provides grants to support counseling partners, including approximately 900 Small Business Development Centers (often located at colleges and universities), 110 Women’s Business Centers, and SCORE, a volunteer mentor corps of retired and experienced business leaders with approximately 350 chapters.
These counseling services provide services to over 1 million entrepreneurs and small business owners annually.
The SBA provides several programs to help small businesses win federal contracts.
Participating in these programs helps small businesses:
- Win a fair share of federal contracts
- Qualify for exclusive set-aside and sole-source contracts
- Partner with established contractors to win contracts
- Get business mentoring and education to learn how federal contracting works
The SBA provides the following programs and provides support to the:
Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contracting Program
The federal government’s goal is to award at least five percent of all federal contracting dollars to women-owned small businesses each year.
Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Program
The federal government’s goal is to award at least three percent of all federal contracting dollars to service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses each year.
8(a) Business Development Program
The federal government’s goal is to award at least five percent of all federal contracting dollars to small disadvantaged businesses each year.
All Small Mentor-Protégé Program
Your small business can learn from an experienced government contractor through the mentor-protégé program.
The federal government’s goal is to award at least three percent of all federal contracting dollars to HUBZone-certified small businesses each year.
Natural Resource Sales Assistance Program
The government sells large amounts of natural resources and surplus property. The SBA works with federal agencies to channel a fair share to small businesses.
An online source for the latest contract award information for GSA Schedules. Research schedules, industry categories and SIN’s (Special Item Number) for detailed information about each. Search businesses on a GSA schedule and view their T & C’s, pricelists and company information.
GSA Advantage is the Federal Government’s premier online shopping superstore that provides access to thousands of contractors and millions of products and services. Its mission is to provide a streamlined, efficient purchasing portal for federal agencies to acquire those goods and services needed. The purpose in creating this service was threefold. First to reduce the time, cost and bureaucracy in purchasing goods and services, second to ensure that competitive pricing was obtained and third is to verify contractors are qualified to sell to the federal government.
GSA Advantage! is a very strategic tool for any GSA Certified company offering products. This is because federal buyers can purchase on this web-based system with a government purchase card without research. Many Purchases take place on the GSA Advantage! website long before the need is posted publicly, so the benefit of having this early touchpoint is invaluable. For Service providers, the benefit of GSA Advantage! is as a search engine. Many Federal buyers will go to the GSA Advantage! website catalog to search for Contractors to bid on their projects, again this takes place before the need is publicly posted.”
The list below provides a high-level summary of categorized products and services found on the GSA Advantage!® Website.
- Building & Industrial
- Electronics & Technology
- Facilities & Supplies
- Furniture & Furnishings
- Law Enforcement, Fire & Security
- Office Equipment
- Office Supplies
- Office Supplies & Equipment FSSI – Scientific & Medical
- Tools, Paint & Recreational
- Vehicles & Equipment
- Energy Services
- Environmental Services
- Facility Management Services
- Furniture Services
- Human Capital Services
- Office Services
- Professional Services
- Security & Law Enforcement
- Technology Services
- Training Services
- Transportation Services
- Travel Services
- Vehicle Buy/Lease Services
However, there was one caveat – these items had to be purchased for the purpose of facilitating recovery from a major disaster declared by the president, or to facilitate recovery from terrorist, nuclear, biological, chemical or radiological attacks. This has allowed state and local government entities to purchase products and services using GSA Advantage!® under both the Cooperative Purchasing program and the Disaster Recovery Purchasing Program.
Thousands of GSA contractors offer many services and labor categories to provide federal agencies with a customized order. Because of the wide range of services that can be requested, customers can browse GSA Advantage!® for their desired service and review a range of GSA Schedule contractors who offer those services.
Key terms can also be used in the Search field; or if seeking a local service, customers can search by city or state to find contractors in their local area. At that point, the federal agency may request a quote or may make an offer to contractors for the desired service. This process expedites how business is done, like the way an individual would order a product online through sites like Amazon or eBay.
The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) is the standard used by Federal statistical agencies in classifying business
establishments for the purpose of collecting, analyzing, and publishing statistical data related to the U.S. business economy. The online NAICS search tool is a valuable resource for businesses, researchers, and policymakers seeking to identify and classify industries within the United States, Canada, and Mexico. This user-friendly tool allows users to search for specific industries by entering keywords, codes, or descriptions, providing a comprehensive and standardized framework for categorizing economic activities. The tool enables quick and efficient access to detailed information about industries, facilitating market research, economic analysis, and data comparison. With its intuitive interface and regularly updated database, the online NAICS search tool plays a crucial role in enhancing precision and consistency in industry classification, promoting better understanding and communication within the business community and government agencies alike.
PSCTool.us is a valuable online resource that simplifies the process of discovering relevant Product and Service codes by integrating NAICS codes and keywords. This user-friendly tool streamlines the classification and identification of specific products and services within the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). By inputting relevant keywords and NAICS codes, users can swiftly navigate through the database to uncover precise matches, enabling efficient and accurate categorization. This capability proves invaluable for businesses, researchers, and policymakers who require a comprehensive understanding of industries and their corresponding product and service classifications. PSCTool.us acts as a bridge between NAICS codes and user-defined keywords, facilitating a seamless exploration of the intricate landscape of economic activities and fostering enhanced comprehension and accessibility in industry classification.
USA.gov serves as a comprehensive gateway for market researchers, providing a centralized platform to access information from various U.S. government departments and agencies. As a one-stop resource, USA.gov facilitates efficient market research by offering easy navigation to a plethora of government-related data. Additionally, USA.gov serves as a valuable tool for staying up-to-date on government news and announcements, ensuring that researchers are informed about policy shifts and other critical updates that may impact their areas of interest.
Contact information for U.S. federal government departments and agencies including websites, emails, phone numbers, addresses,
Securing grant money for small businesses is a process that demands careful consideration and diligence, contrary to the misconception that it is easily attainable. While legitimate grants do exist to support entrepreneurs, the landscape is rife with fraudulent schemes promising “free money” to unsuspecting small business owners. These scams often prey on the eagerness of individuals seeking financial assistance, requesting upfront fees or personal information in exchange for false promises of grants. It is crucial for aspiring entrepreneurs to exercise caution, thoroughly research potential grant opportunities, and be wary of red flags such as unrealistic guarantees or requests for payment. Genuine grant opportunities typically involve a competitive application process and adherence to specific eligibility criteria. Navigating this terrain requires a discerning eye to distinguish between authentic opportunities and deceptive schemes that can undermine the financial stability of small businesses.