Steps to Doing Business With the Government
- Look locally. Contact your city and county public works departments to find out how they publish bid opportunities.
- The Oregon Government Contracting Assistance Program helps small businesses navigate the government contracting process. Go to https://bizcenter.org/government-contracting-assistance
Even if you are not certified, register on SAM. The federal government uses SAM (System for Award Management). You can register at https://www.sam.gov/. You can do a search on existing registered businesses at http://web.sba.gov/pro-net/search/dsp_dsbs.cfm.
Look for large opportunities and sign up for email notifications. Federal opportunities for $25,000 and more can be found at https://www.fbo.gov.a
Look for sub-contracting opportunities. The government bid process can take six months. It is often faster to find sub-contracting opportunities with companies that have already received a government contract. You can find federal sub-contracting opportunities at http://web.sba.gov/subnet/search/dsp_search_option.cfm.
Network and market your business to find opportunities under $25,000. All purchases under $100,000 are supposed to go to small business. Federal agencies use credit cards for purchases of $2,500 or less. For purchases between $2,500 and $25,000, they must obtain quotes from at least three vendors.
Use small business liaisons. Federal agencies have small business liaisons who help small businesses with the procurement process.
- Self-certifications: The federal government recognizes small businesses (SBE), women-owned (WBE), and disadvantaged (i.e. minority) businesses (SDB). The SBA has established two widely used size standards for small business:
- Fewer than 500 employees for most manufacturing and mining industries, and
- Less than $7 million in average annual receipts for most nonmanufacturing industries.
- There is no formal certification process, but on request, you need to provide proof that you satisfy the size and for WBE and SDB’s the ownership requirement.
- HUBZone businesses. If your business is located in a low-median income or high unemployment area, you may be eligible for preferential bidding on federal projects. Go to http://www.sba.gov/content/applying-hubzone-program to see if you are in a HUBZone.
- SBA 8(a) program for minority businesses. The SBA 8(a) program provides direct help in obtaining federal contracts. Participants must have been in business at least 2 years and have non-businesss and non-home assets less than $250,000. For more information, visit http://www.sba.gov/content/8a-business-development. To apply, visit https://sba8a.symplicity.com/applicants/guide.
- US Department of Transportation recognizes veteran-owned small businesses. For more information, visit http://osdbu.dot.gov/about/customers.cfm#VOSB.