How to Register as a ContractorThe first step in preparing to bid on federal construction projects is registering as a contractor. You start that process by getting a DUNS number. A Data Universal Numbering System number is a unique nine-digit number for each physical location of your business, and it’s issued by Dun & Bradstreet. This number is used to track your success on contracts and your creditworthiness. Next, you must register your business with the federal System for Award Management database at SAM.gov. You have to register at this site in order to be awarded a government contract. You may even have contracts given to you simply by being listed, as federal agencies often use the database to find businesses when they need help. In order to register at SAM.gov you will need to know your North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code(s). This code or codes describes the products and services that you furnish. You can also list your Standard Industrial Classification or SIC code on your registration. Both of these codes help agencies find your business when they are looking for the services or products you supply. If you’d like to work with the General Services Administration you’ll need a past performance evaluation. You apply for the evaluation online. You must submit a list of references and will be subjected to an independent audit. The audit rates your past performance based on a statistical analysis of performance data and survey responses from your customers.
Where to Find Government Construction ProjectsFederal contract opportunities can be found on the SAM.gov site under Contract Opportunities. You can search by NAICS or SIC code or by location for projects that fit you. Subcontractors looking to bid to general contractors on federal projects can visit the Small Business Association’s (SBA) SubNet site. On this site you can search for subcontracting opportunities by location.
How the Contract Bidding Process WorksPrime contractors and subcontractors can search SAM.gov and SubNet for contract opportunities that match their capabilities, and place bids on the contracts. Follow the instructions on the requests exactly and be sure to include all the information requested by the hiring agency. Calculate your bid price and include any costs you’ll incur to perform the work, as well as profit. Federal projects are subject to Davis-Bacon labor rates and laws, so be sure you are prepared to pay weekly payroll and file weekly reports.
How to Increase Your Chances of Winning a Contract
- Be prepared
- Follow the rules
- Determine whether you qualify for special labels or programs
- Hispanic or Latino Americans
- Black or African Americans
- Asian Americans
- Arab and other Middle Eastern Americans
- Native Americans and Alaskan Natives
- Native Hawaiians
- Other Pacific Islanders
- Actively find opportunities