Hiccups in Government Contracting
Getting involved in government contracting can be overwhelming for many suppliers, but, with helpful tips and tools, it can be an easier process if you have the right information. You can spend hours researching how to get involved in government contracting and potentially not get very far. Knowing where to start is key.
First, you should evaluate your own business. Determine if your business has the capabilities to handle additional work. Many times suppliers want to do government contracting, but when they get involved in the process, they realize that maybe their business is not ready to take on a new contract.
Also, you need to determine if your company is financially sound. Do you have cash flow issues? Does your company have enough money to sustain a contract, in the event that it requires you to purchase materials up front to start the contract? If your business is struggling financially, it is not recommended to get involved in government contracting at this time.
If you are able to answer yes to both of those questions, then you can move forward in the government contracting process. Next, you will want to decide who you want to market your business to, whether it is federal, state, or local government contracting, or all three. Each type of government can purchase differently than the other. When you decide which agency(s) that you want to market your business, you will need to register your company in their respective websites. Federal and state have their own separate websites, but local government can be several different websites, depending on which agencies you are interested in marketing your business.
Doing business with the federal government requires that you register in the Systems for Award Management (SAM) website – www.sam.gov. This website does require that you have a Dun & Bradstreet number, also known as a DUNS number, before registering. You can request a DUNs number from the Dun & Bradstreet website – http://fedgov.dnb.com/webform. Make sure that you request a DUNs number for doing business with the government, so that it is free to your business.
If you decide to market to the State of Indiana, you will need to register your business at the Indiana website – http://www.in.gov/idoa/2464.htm. There is a list of information on this website that you will need prior to registering. It is recommended to have this information available when you begin your registration.
Also, on the Indiana website, if you meet the criteria, you may be able apply for certification as a Woman Business Enterprise (WBE), or Minority Business Enterprise (MBE), or as a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) with the Indiana Department of Transportation. All of the certification information is located at http://www.in.gov/idoa/2489.htm.
As I stated, local government contracting may require multiple registrations, depending on which agencies you are interested in marketing, but here is a link to a list of a few different agencies and how they do business – http://www.in.gov/idoa/2488.htm.
There is also a link for becoming a subcontractor for the Kentucky-Indiana Bridges Project – http://www.kyinbridges.com/.
One last tip for getting involved in government contracting is to contact the Indiana Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC). They provide a bid match service that searches federal, state, and local websites for bid opportunities and compiles the bids into one email that can be sent to you daily. Their contact information is listed below.