In the summer of 2012, the System for Award Management (SAM) went live incorporating the data and registration functions of CCR, ORCA, FedReg, and EPLS into one easy to use online system that benefits both vendors and government agencies alike. If you have done so already, registering your business in SAM is a great way to expand your business into the government market. Here are five reasons why:
- It’s required. In order to contract with the federal government businesses and agencies must complete the required registration with SAM. Registration is free and it takes just a few days for your business or agency information to be verified with that from the IRS and Dun and Bradstreet (D&B).
- Fast electronic payments. During your registration and anytime you update your profile you can enter your preferred payment method, including electronic fund transfers, making it easier for government agencies to pay you regularly and on time directly to a bank account of your choice
- Incorporates all other databases. CCR, ORCA, FedReg, and EPLS are all phased out or in the process of being phased out in entirely. Small business only need to register in SAM, which maintains all important data about your business, including business size, types of goods and services, business classification, taxpayer identification numbers, financial information, certifications, and important contact information.
- Get on the government search list. Procurement officers, contract specialists utilize SAM to identify a small business for prime and subcontracting opportunities. In fact, SAM is the primary source for federal government agencies, and even most state and local government agencies, to find potential vendors who might be interested in entering the government marketplace. Agencies also look for potential vendors based on the information kept in SAM for their set-aside contracts for underrepresented groups such as women-owned small businesses and veteran-owned business.
- Streamlines and integrates processes associated with procurement awards. The information kept in SAM eliminates some of the redundancies that were present when different government agencies required vendors to register in one or more of the prior databases. While procurement processes may still vary from one agency to another, potential contractors need only to fill in their information once (making sure to keep the information up to date) for the process of being able to apply for government procurements.
Additional things to know:
If your business was previously registered in the Central Contractor Registration (CCR) then your business information has migrated to SAM. You only need to set up a SAM account, including a username and password.
You should first acquire a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number from Dun and Bradstreet. The service is free and usually takes about a day or two to receive your unique business number.
You need to have your business or agency’s taxpayer identification number (TIN), or your SSN if you are a sole proprietor when you register. Have this handy beforehand.
Be diligent when registering. Find all the appropriate applicable NAICS and PSC/FSC codes to your business. Every product and service is classified by these numbers and missing out finding the right ones can prevent you from receiving bid solicitations.
You will be issued a Contractor and Government Entity Code (CAGE) if you don’t already have one. If your business already has one, then be sure to have it with you as this will help prevent any delay in verifying your registration.
Registering with SAM is a great first step to take before you even begin to search for government bid opportunities. Once you’re in SAM you’ll be able to apply for all government procurement opportunities and receive solicitations to bid on all contracts for which your business qualifies.