In your search for customers, have you ever considered the government an ideal customer? Maybe not, but the government is required to follow rules that promote the existence and success of American small businesses.
Getting government contracts for your small business is a smart financial decision as long as you can make it through the application process.
Any small business owner who has worked under a government contract can tell you: It’s a strict and rigid process, but the ends justify the means. It’s steady money that is always paid on time, never bargained down, and you agree to do work that is consistent and exactly as described.
Why does the government support small businesses?
Small businesses around the nation are chosen to fulfill government contracts for various products, services, and needs. The Small Business Administration lists a few of the reasons our government steps in to protect small businesses:
- To ensure small businesses remain viable next to larger competitors
- To tap into small business innovation and what’s new on the market
- To support small business, which is a driving force in the U.S. economy
- To encourage and expand job creation
- To give more opportunities to disadvantaged groups and areas
These objectives are what drive government agencies to set aside money to be spent only at small businesses and disadvantaged businesses. They don’t buy things they don’t need from any small business that is struggling, but they list what they’ll need to buy and find small or disadvantaged businesses to source those services or items from.
How can you get government contracts for your small business?
If you want to be one of the businesses considered for these government contracts, there is a series of steps you’ll need to take. Additionally, only certain types of small businesses are considered for government contracts. Small businesses that qualify to apply for government contracts should be:
- For-profit business
- Meets small business size standards for NAICS code of contracted tasks
- Registered for System for Award Management (SAM)
You must meet the small business size standard listed for the NAICS code that the contracting officer assigns to the contract tasks.
This code might not be the same code as your main business activity, and that’s okay. As long as you meet the size standard and agree to fulfill the contract requirements as described, you can apply for the contract. Government contracts for your small business have to ensure your business is small enough to be considered a “small” business before they hire you to fulfill the contract.
Registering for SAM
The Federal Government’s System for Award Management (SAM) replaced two former programs, the Central Contractor Registration (CCR) and the Online Representations and Certifications Application (ORCA), which were required to be considered for contracting positions in the past. The change took place in 2012.
You’re not required to register with SAM if your business is subcontracting with other companies, but it’s recommended that you do it anyway. Being registered with SAM enables larger government contractors to find your business and reach out about related contracts and needs. You can include the NAICS codes for the industries you work with or are interested in taking contract work in.
How do you find your business’ NAICS code?
Your NAICS code can be found on the U.S. Census Bureau website here. The list is huge, so using a single word as your search term will yield the most broad results if you’re unsure which category your business fits under. You can easily narrow it down from there.
How do you see if your business qualifies as “small?”
Additionally, government contracts for your small business require that your business be:
- Operated for profit
- Independently owned and operated
- Based in the U.S.
- Making significant contributions to the U.S. economy
As long as your business meets those criteria, you are free to apply for any relevant opportunity you see listed. Now, you’re ready to register with SAM and start looking for government contracts for your small business. It could be the start of a new era at your company.
If you provide consistent services or products at a good value, the government can be your most loyal customer year after year.