Visibility 101: Becoming A Government Contractor

Last week, we talked about a few of the first steps to becoming a government contractor. As we mentioned, it all begins with making yourself visible.

Patience, time and dedication are necessary to navigate the steps required, so get ready for the preparation work. Don’t skip over the vital step of strengthening your online presence. It’s a hefty list of tasks to complete, but important if you want to start off strong.government contracting
When you are registering for the first time, complete these steps in order. When you are updating or changing business information, complete the steps in reverse.

1. First, visit Dun & Bradstreet to receive your DUNS number, at http://fedgov.dnb.com/webform

Register with this easy-to-navigate site. It assigns your business with a D-U-N-S number that is unique to you, for each physical location. They maintain the number to validate your business registry. You can create the number online or by phone. Best of all, it’s FREE!

2. Next, visit the Central Contractor Registry (CCR) at http://www.ccr.gov

This site adds your business to the largest and most complete database for all federal government contractors. Registration is FREE and can be completed online. Our government uses this database to gather, confirm, back-up and distribute data about your business. Think of it like a resume for your business. It’s used to connect you with contracts and grants based on what officials are looking for. The registration numbers climb daily, so keep your profile updated. It is recommended that you update your information every 12 months, but it’s important to update whenever changes are made to your business services or certifications.

3. Third, complete your profile at Small Business Administration by following the link on the CCR website (see Step 2).

This site is packed with information, tips, articles and advice for everything related to small business. However, completing your profile here will allow it to feed directly into the CCR database, increasing your chances of being found for contracts and grants. Don’t be tempted to skip over the seemingly irrelevant details, like “keywords.” Make it easy for buyers to find you by completing each and every section.

4. With your resume and profile in place, finish up with https://orca.bpn.gov/

You’ll need to complete the solicitation clauses and certification through this site. You’re simply verifying that your information and business activities are correctly recorded and that you give the goverment permission to spread your business information over the web.

After you’ve completed these steps, give yourself a pat on the back. Yes, it’s time-consuming, but we told you that in the beginning.

Finally, as we mentioned last week, American Small Business Centers will consult with you for absolutely FREE! We help you navigate through the the various laws and steps required to conduct business with the government. Did we mention that we’ll set up your meeting with Southwest Central Ohio Procurement Assistance Center (SWCOPTAC) for FREE!

Check back next week for Part III, “Signatures & Codes: Becoming A Government Contractor.”

If you’ve contracted with the government before or if you are thinking about contracting out your services, share your tips and advice or leave feedback below.