The Basic of Government Contracts

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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

More information about government contracts is available about government contract jobs and procurement marketing. Good information for businesses looking at working with the federal government.

What is the GSA?


What is the GSA?The General Services Administration (GSA) was established to oversee the purchasing and managing of federal government property. This has grown to include services and travel regulations, but does not include military concerns. The GSA is self funded through a rebate on purchases made by vendors, which gives it an autonomy from the legislative branch of the government.

The GSA is the cornerstone of federal purchasing, especially as the Department of Defense and the GSA try to consolidate as much purchasing efforts as they can. The GSA is charged with assuring that government purchases are fairly executed between purchasing agents and vendors, while also assuring the federal government is getting the best value. The GSA has set-up a number of protocols and systems to make this happen.FedBiz.Gov

Government Purchase Card

Being that the federal government must be careful to be fair to all vendors, purchasing has been set-up in tiers. Purchases under $2,500 are considered micro-purchases and can be completed with a government purchase card (a Visa debit card) without competition. Purchases above $2,500 must go through the contract process, but once approved can be paid with the government purchase card. It is a requirement that vendors doing business through the GSA be able to accept the government purchase card, which means that the business be able to accept credit cards. is the government’s web site which announces contract opportunities valued above $25,000. All proposed purchases above $25,000 must be submitted through FedBizOpps.Gov so all potential vendors may bid. Details for contracts and deadlines are placed within the solicitation

GSA Schedules

One of the forms of establishing best value are the GSA Schedules. These are contracts with vendors for products and services that has pricing pre-established. As the GSA has already negotiated with these vendors for these rates, departmental procurement personnel can purchase freely from these schedules. Think of GSA schedules as catalogs for government purchasers.

This is just a quick overview of GSA procurement, there is more that they do. Meaning there are more opportunities to do business with the GSA beyond what has been mentioned, but it is a start.

More Federal Government Business Information

Get more info regarding What is the GSA federal purchasing. Learn how to define procurement as it relates to the US Government. Or get more information on GSA rates and how they can impact travel policy.