Bidding to the Federal Government

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I do not claim to know everything about selling to the Federal Government. No one knows everything due to the immense size of the Federal government and the hundreds of divisions and departments. What I hope to offer here are some basics for beginners. The challenges are; finding the bids, submitting the bids, and getting paid.

There are a lot of services for finding Federal bid opportunities. Some are pay services, some are free. The best, and most comprehensive that I have found is Fedbizops. This site is actually ran by the government, and had most if not all of the bids put out by agencies of the Federal Government. You can do very detailed searches to really narrow down the results. There are literally hundreds of new bids each day, so getting specific is very important. You can also create and save searches, so that when certain types of products or services go out to bid, you will be notified by e-mail.

Some agencies want you to submit bids on a standard form SF 1449. Others will allow you to submit pricing on your own quote forms. One thing that is almost always required is for you to be registered with the government in the Central Contractors Register. They refer to this as a CCR registration, you can find it here: bpn(dot)gov/ccr/default.aspx. This is absolutely necessary to sell to the Federal Government. You must also get yourself a CAGE code, and a DUNS number. You should also go register in ORCA orca (dot)bpn(dot)gov. This is not mandatory for all bids; but some agencies do require it, and it is just a good idea. At ORCA you can put answers to all the questions posed in the FAR's, which can be found at farsite(dot)hill(dot)af(dot)mil. You will need to give information on the among other things the ethnic background of the owners and employees of your business, the number of employees, whether your business is minority or woman owned, veteran and disabled veteran status of the owner, and whether you are disbarred from bidding for any reason.

If you survive all this, and win an award, you still have to deliver the product and get paid. Delivering the product or service is your problem. Getting paid can go from the very simple to the ridiculous. Some agencies are fine with you submitting a regular old invoice, they pay and you're done. Many agencies are now moving to WAWF which is "Wide Area Workflow". This is a horrible system that is meant to reduce paper and allow you to be paid directly to your account. Once you get registered and learn the steps of submitting the invoices online, you might find it convenient; but the first time will be a bear.

This is a very brief list of important items for doing any kind of sales to the Federal Government. The regulations are many; but the US Government is the largest customer in the world, so if you have a good product or service, it might be worth your time.

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