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Small Business Resources

How To Apply For Government Contracts

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Are you a small business owner looking for help working with the federal government? But are not really sure where to start? This article provides owners of small businesses the help they may need to accomplish before working with the federal government.

Step 1 – Business Formation – Selecting the Best Legal Structure

If you haven’t already done so, you must file formation paperwork. It can be with your local city, county, and state to be a legal business. The most common legal structures are sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability, company and corporation. Each of these legal structures has different annual requirements at the local, state and federal levels. So it’s important to be aware that you are following them.

Not following requirements can potentially lead to fines, lost contracting opportunities due to inability to provide required paperwork. Even the state administratively closing down your business. Some of the most common requirements include:

  • State annual reports,
  • Meeting minutes,
  • Stock certificates,
  • Bylaws,
  • Operating agreements,
  • Tax returns

These legal documents and there supporting fellows are frequently requested when seeking to engage in government contracts or applying for certification. Without having these correct documents in place, the gate is closed before you even start your journey. So starting on the right foot is key to your long-term success.

To enter the world of government contracting, it’s all about the paperwork. Following rules, and demonstrating that you offer quality goods or services.

Step 2 – Apply for a D-U-N-S Number

The Data Universal Numbering System or D-U-N-S® Number is the proprietary means of identifying business entities on a location-specific basis. The user account number remains long after even if it closes or goes out-of-business. It remains with the company location to which it has been assigned. It provides a D-U-N-S Number, a unique nine digit identification number, for each physical location of the business. This number also “unlocks” a wealth of value-added data associated with that business, including:

  • The business name,
  • Physical and mailing addresses,
  • Tradestyles (“doing business as”),
  • Principal names,
  • Financial, payment experiences,
  • Industry classifications (SICs and NAICS),
  • Socio-economic status,
  • Government data

Remember, it’s critical to have a legitimate physical address location (home offices are acceptable). Because the business will not be able to complete the next step if it uses any mail forwarding location. The following are considered mail forwarding locations:

  • Mobile office,
  • Shelf company,
  • United Parcel store,
  • FedEx store,
  • Mailbox rental,
  • Certain business incubator locations as its valid physical address.

After registering for a DUNS Number, the business will be listed in the Duns & Bradstreet database and the business’ credit information will be available to banks and other companies.

Step 3 – Create a SAM Profile

The Systems Award Management (SAM) is the primary registrant database for the U.S. Federal Government. SAM collects, validates, stores and disseminates data in support of agency acquisition missions. Including federal agency contracts and assistance awards. It’s critical to all businesses that want to work with the federal government. The reason being without an active SAM profile, businesses cannot be paid. Making registering with SAM a must for government contracts.

Being a popular agency, it will be reviewed by government agencies or contractors to locate businesses. Based on their abilities, size, location, experience, and other attributes. Giving huge benefits to any SAM user.

SAM registration has made significant shifts in 2018 to protect business data, accounts, and information from less scrupulous telemarketers. This was achieved by creating newer and safer methods. These methods ensure only business owners and those designated by them through affidavits to access the individual business profiles.

Step 4 – Bid as a Government Prime Contractor or Subcontractor

There are two popular websites used by the majority of small businesses that are looking to work with the government:

SubNet: The Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Subcontracting Network System bridges the gap between businesses. Specifically businesses seeking small businesses. Also small business seeking contracting opportunities. This is a great way to get your feet wet in government contracts without all the exhausting hours of RFP (Request for Proposal) instructions.

FedBizOpps: This federal website is designed for overall United States procurement solicitations to the public. It is the key repository for collecting and distributing new work. Each business owner is required to provide his or her email address. The reason being to search potential listings and will be able to read through the RFP instructions prior to bidding on any work. Most RFP listings on the website will only last a few weeks, so it is critical to visit often and complete bids promptly to be considered for work.

The GSA Schedule

This is basically a formal agreement to sell products and/or services from your business organization to different government departments. As per the many terms outlined and administered by the U.S. General Service Administration.

The GSA Schedule or contract contains important information, such as:

  • Your contract number,
  • The Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) clauses governing the contract,
  • The duration of the contract,
  • A succinct description of the goods or range of services that your organization offers,
  • The maximum rates of your products or services,
  • As well as various other items that may be deemed necessary for the successful conclusion of the contract.

The GSA Schedule is also referred to as a GSA Contract. Once a GSA contract has been made. It will help to facilitate the order process. This is because government agencies will now use the information present in the GSA Schedule to order from your firm or company.

Multiple Award Schedule Contracts

The GSA website defines GSA schedules as

  • A government-wide, indefinite quantity indefinite delivery, (IQ/ID)
  • Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) contract/s

It is considered ‘government-wide’ due to the fact that once you have qualified, you will be able to apply the contract government wide. Allowing you to work with many different federal agencies. Here, ‘indefinite quantity Indefinite delivery’ is taken to mean that the contract is open-ended.

The average GSA contract lasts five years and can be renewed up to 20 years. Multiple Award Schedule denotes the fact that it is possible for multiple business entities to apply for the same contract.  


Working with the federal government can be challenging and rewarding for small businesses. Keep the above steps in mind before starting to work with the government.

Our consultants will help you understand the complexity of the GSA registration process. Determine the appropriate schedule(s) and discuss the mandatory seminars. The certificates required in order to initiate the contractor registration process. We will help you identify all of the necessary registrations and documentation. Also the supporting statements needed to process the application. We will upload the application and supporting documentation into the GSA Federal Acquisition Service online system (e-Offer).

If you need expert help and guidance that can assist you in determining and subsequently obtaining the proper schedule for your small business, we can help. If you have any questions and queries regarding your eligibility, you can contact us at, where we have highly qualified experts ready to guide you through the complex GSA process.