Selling to the Government in 4 Easy Steps
Are you new to government contracting? We have a simple guide for you.
Table of contents
STEP 1: Check Out NAICS Codes
You need to figure out which North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code(s) you want to use when you register. This code will classify your business based on the specific items you offer. In most cases, your business will have one primary NAICS code, however, if you provide multiple services or products, you may have more than one code. To identify your NAICS code, the textbook answer is to go to https://www.census.gov/naics and try to narrow down from there.
To be honest, it's pretty confusing if you're new to this. Here's another thing you can do as a guide:
- Go to SAM.gov and just do a search for the kinds of stuff you do; computer system engineering, custodial services, making lock washers, whatever. Invariably a list of contracts or solicitations will come up.
- Click into a few, see if any are similar to what you do, and if so look at which NAICS codes are listed
Chances are pretty good that all of your services will fall under the same 2 and 3 number category, its when you drill down to the 4th, 5th, and 6th number that things get complicated. Don't worry, you'll get he hang of it.
STEP 2: Check Out Set Aside Size Standards
The government reserves many contracts for small businesses. To see if your business fits the "small" criteria for government contracting, use the SBA’s Size Standards Tool. https://www.sba.gov/size-standards/ They’re based on NAICS codes, so you need to know your NAICS first.
STEP 3: Register with SAM
To qualify for government contracts, you must register your business in the federal System for Award Management (SAM) at https://sam.gov/content/entity-registration. You need your NAICS codes and your set-asides before you jump in here, so do those first.
STEP 4: You're All Set
Once you have a final SAM registration you can technically start bidding on government contracts. In reality actually winning contracts is very competitive and there is a lot to learn about doing it well.