Often, small business owners want to pursue federal contracting opportunities, but don’t know where to begin to find available opportunities or how to represent their company to potential buyers. Here are seven key resources to help you compete for federal contracting opportunities.
System for Award Management
The first step to bidding on federal contracts is to get your business profile into the primary database that federal agencies use to locate contractors. To send your business “resume” to the government, register a business profile with the System for Award Management, also known as SAM. Agencies can search for your business based on several factors, including capabilities, size, location, experience and ownership.
Dynamic Small Business Search
Once your business is registered in the System for Award Management, you will have the opportunity to fill out your small business profile which populates the Dynamic Small Business Search (DSBS) database, another tool contracting officers use to identify potential small business contractors for upcoming contracting opportunities. Small businesses can also use DSBS to identify other small businesses for teaming and joint venturing.
FedBizOpps: Federal Business Opportunities
Next, you can begin searching for federal contracting opportunities suitable for your business via FedBizOpps: Federal Business Opportunities, the database federal agencies are required to use to list available procurement opportunities and their vendor requirements to the public and interested potential vendors for all contracts valued over $25,000.
The largest government-wide contracts are established by the U.S. General Services Administration under its GSA Schedules Program. GSA establishes long-term government-wide contracts with commercial firms to provide access to millions of commercial products and services at volume discount pricing. State and local governments also use the GSA schedules for purchasing goods and services, so becoming a GSA schedule contractor can be beneficial at all levels of government
Federal Procurement Data System
Interested in which agencies have contracts and with whom? What agencies buy? Which contractors have contracts? The Federal Procurement Data System – Next Generation is the repository of all federal contracting data for contracts in excess of $25,000. This system has over 50 standard reports you can run, as well as specialized reports that allow you to request information using over 160 customized fields, so you can identify opportunities that fit your business capabilities and learn about the competition to increase your market capability.
You can identify procurement trends and potential opportunities within the federal government through USASpending.gov, a searchable database that contains information for each federal award, including:
- Name of the entity receiving the award
- Amount of the award
- Transaction type and funding agency
- Location of the entity receiving the award
- Unique identifier of the entity receiving the award
Many federal agencies have what is known as an Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) or an Office of Small Business Programs (OSBP). Each agency releases a forecast of anticipated procurement activities that includes potential small business opportunities. In addition to using systems like FPDS and USASpending.gov to find opportunities for your business at a specific agency, it can be beneficial to build a relationship with the OSDBU agency. Additionally, each OSDBU holds trainings and events to help small businesses identify if there are opportunities with the agency. To learn more about OSDBUs and events, visit www.osdbu.gov.
For more information or help finding federal, contact the Economic Development Collaborative-Ventura County. Conveniently located in Camarillo, California, we’re here to help.