How Do I Register as a Federal Contractor?

You know you're ready for your business to compete for federal contracts, but you don't know how to navigate the red tape involved. These steps break down the various requirements involved in becoming and staying a federal contractor. 

  1. Make sure your business entity has been formally set up at the state or local level.

  1. Get a DUNS number: A Dun & Bradstreet (DUNS) number is a unique nine-digit identification number for each physical location of your business. All businesses that receive federal grants or contracts are required to have and maintain a DUNS number.

  1. Get your North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes. These codes correspond with the products and services that you are selling. 

  2. Find out if you qualify as “small” at the SBA: https://www.sba.gov/size-standards/.

  1. Register your business in the federal government’s System for Award Management (SAM). SAM is a database that government agencies search to find contractors. (Tip: Your customer will see your profile, so make sure it looks nice.)  

  1. Stay compliant: You must comply with all laws and regulations. The federal government's purchasing process is governed by the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR).

  1. Just registering is not enough—remember you need to market your goods and services just like you would to any other customer. Network and research who needs you!

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