First Steps in Government Contracting

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1. Do a readiness assessment to enter the government market: adequate capitalization, determination and patience, competitive advantage, demand for goods/services, adequate pricing/margins, effective quality systems, current business plan, bonding/insurance, computer literacy & internet capacity.

2. Get a website however simplistic, and an email address associated with your domain name. Do not use aol.com, gmail.com or hotmail.com.

3. Become a RI PTAC Client and give us your business information secured by our confidentiality agreement. Your RI PTAC eCenterDirect password will enable you to sign up for training classes and other events sponsored by our center. If you are not a RI business, click here to find your local PTAC.

4. Get an EIN number if you don’t have one from the IRS. Please do not use your social security number.

5. Determine your company’s NAICS Codes (North American Industry Classification System). Decide which is your primary NAICS Code and make note of all that apply.

6. Determine your company’s business size . "Small Business" is determined by your primary NAICS Code.

7. Determine your company’s small business category: Woman Owned, Economically Disadvantaged Woman Owned, Veteran or Service Disabled Veteran Owned, 8(a), HUBZone or Native American Owned.

8. Determine if you need “Certification” or “Verification” of your small business category. To be considered for any of the set-aside or preference groups for which the federal government sets participation goals, a business must self-certify or be certified by a third party that the business is 51% owned and operated by one or more qualifying individuals:

  • Women Owned businesses that would like to participate in the Small Business Program (WOSB) can be “certified” by following this guide.
  • 8(a) and HUBZone certification is available on-line only.
  • Veterans can verify through the Center for Veterans Enterprise.

9. Obtain a DUNS Number (Data Universal Numbering System) online or by calling Dunn & Bradstreet at (886)705-5711. You can also search their website to see if you already have a DUNS Number. Please contact D&B if any company or address information is incorrect.

10. Register in the System for Award Management (SAM) and get a CAGE Code (Commercial and Government Entity Code). Check out their help page first for information on the registration process. Once in SAM, you can register on the SBA’s Dynamic Small Business Search database. In the DSBS you will be able to add a narrative to differentiate your business.

NONE OF THESE CERTIFICATIONS OR VERIFICATIONS HAVE ANY FEES!

  • Do not pay anyone to perform any of these services. There is no requirement to purchase any services from D&B and there is no fee for a DUNS number.
  • Be cautious that you are dealing with the correct websites, especially if you “Google” them - federal government websites will end in “.gov” or “.mil” – never “.com”.
  • There are many for-profit companies posing as government entities on search engines, especially for registrations and they have paid to be at the top of these lists.