Small Business Government Contract

The United States government spends over $4 trillion per year with large and small businesses. While the government places extra emphasis on awarding its contracts to small businesses in general (about a quarter of all contracts), there are also set-aside contracts for small businesses owned by women, minorities and veterans, including military personnel with disabilities. Paul Karch, president of SelltoGovernment.com, which helps small businesses earn government contracts, said that the application process is a lengthy one, so now is the time for small businesses to start laying a foundation. If you’re launching a small business or want to start landing government contracts as an existing small business owner, read on to learn how you can take advantage of these special opportunities.

The first step is to identify what you want to sell, using the codes of the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). Those codes are listed on the North American Industry Classification Systems Association’s website. The codes classify the economic sector, industry and country of a business. Be aware that you may need to have several NAICS codes, depending on your product offering or service capabilities, so look carefully. Make sure that your business has that NAICS code, because it’s one of the first things that the government will look at to determine your eligibility as a government contractor; contracts aren’t awarded without one.

The Small Business Administration also recommends that businesses interested in securing a federal contract obtain a free Dun & Bradstreet D-U-N-S Number — which is a unique, nine-digit identification number for each physical location of a business — as well as an Open Ratings Past Performance Evaluation. These evaluations are an independent audit of customer references and calculate a rating based upon a statistical analysis of performance data and survey responses. In addition to a NAICS code and D-U-N-S Number, small businesses applying for a government contract will need to obtain the following to help identify their business, industry and product categories: a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) for filing taxes; Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) code; Product and Service Codes (PSC); and Federal Supply Class Codes (FSC).