Over the last 5 years, the federal government has spent around $540 billion each year towards federal government contracts, according to data on the USA Spending website. As the fiscal year closes, many procurement officers rush to spend the last of their budgets. This makes August and September an excellent time for contractors to search for and bid on new contracting opportunities. There are currently 32,700 available solicitations up for bid onFedBizOpps. Only properly registered government contractors are allowed to submit their bids to win these contracts.
Federal regulations throughout the years have helped to increase participation in federal contracting by small businesses and underrepresented demographics. Currently, the federal government’s small business prime contracting goal is set at 23% of all contracting dollars. This amount also includes set aside contracts for Women-Owned Small Businesses (WOSB), Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses (SDVOSB), and Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUBZones).
In order for businesses to participate in government contracting, federal acquisition regulations require that they first register in the System for Award Management, or SAM. This database of federal contractors replaced the now defunct Central Contractor Registration and Online Representations and Certifications Application systems in July of 2012. Users who were previously registered with CCR and ORCA must migrate their registration to SAM in order to remain eligible for federal contract and grant awards; businesses new to government contracting must complete their new registration with SAM.
Every vendor’s SAM registration must be complete and accurate in order to be valid. Missing or incorrect information can lead to problems and delays when competing for contracts. A single typo in SAM can be the difference between success and failure. Unfortunately, SAM registration is like many other government systems – complicated and time consuming. Between learning how to complete registration and the actual registration process itself, it can take weeks before a new contractor is even eligible to place their first bid.