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The United States federal government is the largest purchaser of goods and services in the world. This makes them one of the most sought prospects for businesses. The question is how to begin pursuing the US government’s business. The following are some basic elements to US federal procurement and some important information about government contracts.
CCR. The Central Contractor Registration (CCR) is the first-step in becoming a government vendor. All vendors must be registered in the CCR before a contract or purchase order will be given by the federal government. It is a simple process but a business must be ready with its tax ID and a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number. The DUNS number serves the role of identifying a business and establishing a number to track credit worthiness. When registering a business must also know its NAICS and SIC codes. These are numerical codes that identify what business category one’s business is in. Identifying what categorical code a business is in can be done online prior to enrolling.FedBiz.Gov
ORCA. The Online Representations and Certifications Application (ORCA) is a registration a business needs to register their business with if they will be looking for large contracts. ORCA collects what representations and certifications a business has that are applicable to the business. This way a purchasing officer can check online to see if a vendor is in compliance.
GSA. The General Services Administration (GSA) is a major player in the civil government’s purchasing process. One role of the GSA is to pre-approve vendors and their offerings so that a purchasing officer in the federal government can buy from their lists. The lists are better known as Schedules. Because the GSA schedules and contracts have been pre-approved a purchasing officer does not need to open a bidding process. If a purchasing officer decides to buy off-schedule (under $2,500) then there must be a bidding process. Getting on schedule is a lengthy process and does not assure getting government business. It simply makes it one-step easier.
FedBizOpps. Federal Business Opportunities (FedBizOpps.Gov) is an online database that posts contracting opportunities and purchases the government wishes to make over $25,0000. It is a requirement that the federal government put out to open bid any purchase above $25,000, with a few exceptions. This database is searchable by any manner of perimeters. Also, a business can register to get notifications of opportunities based upon certain criteria.FedBiz.Gov