If you are interested in becoming a government contractor or supplier there are a few steps you must take prior to contacting the procurement offices. Begin by making sure all your legal matters are in order. Make sure that you are properly licensed, insured and depending on the type of business you provide, bonded. Make sure that your filing status with the IRS is correct (sole proprietorship, corporation, LLC) and make sure that your fictitious name has been registered and published.
Once you have made sure that all your legal paperwork is in order you will need to establish a DUNS number. You can do this for free by visiting the Dunn and Bradstreet website and registering for a number. The government requires you to list your DUNS number on all solicitations or when you initially register with the procurement office. This number allows the government to verify financial information about you and to issue payments.
You will need to establish your SIC codes. This is a codex system set up by the government that states what types of products and services you offer. As an example if you are in the welding business you will choose all the SIC codes related to the type of welding your company offers. Again, this is a free service that can be done on line in a matter of minutes.
When this is established you then need to check with the Small Business Administration. The SBA has different programs that you may qualify for to get a special classification when bidding for jobs. These classifications are designed to help small businesses compete with large corporations in the federal procurement market. If you do not qualify for any of these programs don’t panic. You are still able to bid on jobs if you have a DUNS and the SIC codes.
Once you have gathered all this information you will need to begin contacting different government agencies to become a part of their vendor list. Some agencies require a long application process with samples submitted or even business inspections. Others only require you to submit an information sheet and you are ready to bid on jobs. Your best bet is to start searching each and every government based website for their procurement links and follow the trails from there. Local and state governments should not be forgotten as they also place out many requests for bids.