In Fiscal Year 2020, the federal government exceeded its small business federal contracting goal for the eighth consecutive year, awarding 25.6 percent in federal contract dollars to small businesses totaling $143.4 billion, an increase from the previous fiscal year of nearly $14 billion.
System for Awards Management (SAM)
The System for Awards Management is a one-stop shop for numerous federal related procurement functions. Any entity wishing to do business with the federal government under a contract or applying for federal grants must be registered in the SAM. Your business can also be self-certified as a Small or Small Disadvantaged Business in the SAM registration process. Completing the online registration can take some time depending on the size and complexity of your company.
Check out some helpful guides HERE.
Getting Started Checklist
Before you begin registration you will need required information about your business available for reference:
1. Unique Entity Identifier
If your business is already registered, or if you register for the first time, your business will receive a UEI, or Unique Entity Identifier, by the SAM.gov system as part of your registration process. The UEI replaced the use of DUNS numbers in SAM.gov’s system in April of 2022.
Before registering for the first time, it’s a good idea to ensure your information for your company is up to date in the Secretary of State business listing where you registered your company before registering for a UEI. You can find California’s SOS site here. Check the company name and physical address for accuracy. If there is an error, update your information with the Secretary of State. This will help prevent validation issues which can result in significant delays.
Once you log into SAM, click on “Workspace”, then on “Get Started” or your business’s “Entity”, it may ask you to “Validate” your entity before proceeding. If your business cannot be found in the database that SAM.gov uses, or if the information they have doesn’t match what you’ve entered, you’ll need to submit a validation request “Incident” in SAM.gov which connects to the Federal Service Desk (FSD). To this incident you will need to attach documentation that proves your business information. See HERE for details on acceptable documents.
For answers on how to validate your entity and get your UEI see HERE.
2. Tax ID Number
A Taxpayer or Employer Identification Number (TIN or EIN) is an identification number used by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in the administration of tax laws.
For sole proprietorships, we recommend a unique EIN for your company, not your social security number. If you have a DBA (doing business as) name for your sole proprietorship it will not be used for tax purposes. All businesses domiciled in the U.S., including sole proprietorships, are eligible to request an EIN from the IRS here.
3. NAICS and FSC Codes
The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) categorizes products and service codes by industry sectors. These are mandatory 6 digit codes that identify what type of activity an entity performs, as well as the type of product or service offered. Your NAICS codes are also used to determine if you are a small business (see #5 below). To find your NAICS code(s), visit: http://www.census.gov/naics or apply for APEX Accelerator (formerly PTAC) services for assistance.
FSC Codes are optional 4 digit codes included in the Product Service Code (PSC) list found in the Assertions section of a SAM entity registration. To locate the right one for your entity, go to FSC Codes.
4. Other business information
Including your Bank Account and Routing numbers.
Getting registered in SAM is just the beginning of your federal contracting journey. The majority of your time and effort will be spent marketing your business to agencies, doing marketplace research, finding opportunities, and preparing proposals. For more information, review the resources below.
Remember: this can be a daunting process. But that’s why we’re here. If you’d like more guidance on how to approach the federal contracting landscape, please reach out to your Procurement Specialist or apply to be a client.
Learn more about contracting with the Federal Government:
Learn more about Federal Certifications here.