TABLE OF CONTENT:
- What is SAM.gov?
- The problem of winning federal contracts
- The solution for winning federal opportunities
- What Are the Components of Sam.gov?
- What should new applicants know about SAM.gov?
- What's the difference between only getting a Unique Entity ID and registering your entity?
- How to register for SAM.gov?
- How to renew SAM.gov registration?
- What is CAGE and NCAGE Code and how to use them in SAM.gov?
- What are NAIC codes and PSC codes and how to use them in SAM.gov?
- What is 13 CFR 121 used in SAM.gov?
Examples of how 13 CFR 121 is used for size standards for small businesses.
What is SAM.gov?
SAM.gov, or the System for Award Management, is a website operated by the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA). It serves as a central repository for information about entities that are eligible to receive federal government contracts and grants.
Entities that wish to do business with the federal government, including businesses, organizations, and individuals, are required to register on SAM.gov. This registration process includes providing information such as the entity's name, address, and UEI number, as well as certifying that the entity is not suspended or debarred from receiving federal contracts and grants.
Registering for SAM.gov is a strictly mechanical process, which you can achieve by reading the below guide and working through the checklist linked in this guide. What is important is that you need to start winning contracts and grants after securing the registration for SAM.gov. This requires a strategy to do market development (creation of an opportunity), business development (shaping of an opportunity), sales development (capturing the opportunity), and finally administering and executing the program or a project. There is not much information available on this topic in a comprehensive manner hence we have listed our Federal Business Accelerator as a resource. Use it along with this guide.
The Problem Winning Federal Opportunities:
The US federal government is the world’s largest marketplace. In 2021, the US federal government spent around $7.5 trillion on grants and fixed charges and an additional $1.1 trillion on contracts and supplies. The federal government also directly or indirectly employs over 9 million federal employees, contractors, and others - nationwide. Yet, unfortunately, for those who do or plan to do business with the government, there is no formal learning process to vision, strategize, plan, implement, and continuously improve their federal business growth and execution strategy. Many therefore muddle their way and lead by trial and error and often fail. Therefore, the winners keep winning and the losers keep losing.
The Solution for Winning Federal Opportunities:
ScaleUP USA therefore, designed the Federal Business Accelerator Program after significant research, brainstorming, pilots, and interviews with government and industry professionals. The program is delivered digitally to desktop or mobile devices, is always on, highly scalable, low investment, very affordable, requires no equity dilution, and operates across America and even globally. This program trains startups, home, and small businesses, as well as company executives and employees of all sizes on the best practices, processes, procedures, and methods for how to do business with the federal government.
Here are the areas ScaleUP USA aims to cover in this most comprehensive program:
- Start to Exit Roadmap (Foundational Program)
- Federal Research Tools (Foundational Program)
- Winning Federal Teaming (Premium)
- Federal Market and Business Development (Premium)
- Federal Sales Strategy (Premium)
- Winning Federal Proposal Writing (Premium)
- Building Federally Focused Careers (Premium)
- Federal Program and Project Management (Premium)
- Federal Legal Overview (Add-on)
- Establish Federal Business Incubator (Add-on)
What Are the Components of SAM.gov?
The major components of SAM.gov include:
- Registrations - entities must register to be eligible to receive federal contracts and grants.
- Exclusions - a database of individuals and companies that are currently suspended or debarred from receiving federal contracts and grants.
- Opportunities - a database of current federal contract and grant opportunities.
- Awards - Information about entities that have been awarded federal contracts and grants.
- Representations and Certifications - Information about entities' representations and certifications related to federal contracting.
- Entity Information - Information about entities that are registered in SAM.
- Search - A search feature that allows users to find registered entities, opportunities, and awards.
What should new applicants know about SAM.gov?
- This system is a one-stop-shop for Federal procurement needs, it streamlines the process, increases transparency, and reduces the administrative burden on vendors.
- SAM.gov is mandatory for all entities that wish to do business with the federal government, including businesses, organizations, and individuals.
- SAM.gov is just a mechanical step to start applying for government, contracts, and grants, the real beef is in strategizing, planning, and executing a capture strategy, and a methodology to administer, then execute government opportunities. Check for the strategy here.
- SAM.gov registration is free, but entities are required to renew their registration annually.
- Entities must provide their Unique Entity ID -- a 12-character alphanumeric ID assigned to an entity by SAM.gov.
- Entities must certify that they are not suspended or debarred from receiving federal contracts and grants and must update this information annually.
- Entities must provide a valid email address during the registration process, as this is how the entity will receive important information from the federal government.
- Entities must provide detailed information about their business operations and capabilities during the registration process.
- Entities must complete the Representations and Certifications section during the registration process, which includes certifying that the entity meets various standards and requirements related to federal contracting.
- Entities must update their information on SAM.gov if any changes occur, such as changes to the entity's name, address, or primary point of contact.
- Entities can use the Exclusions feature in SAM.gov to check if any individuals or companies associated with the entity are currently suspended or debarred from receiving federal contracts and grants.
What's the difference between only getting a Unique Entity ID (UEI) and registering your entity?
As per the SAM.gov website “An entity registration allows your organization the opportunity to receive a contract or assistance directly from the federal government, not from another contractor or awardee. You need to register your entity on SAM.gov when you want to bid on federal contracts as a prime contractor or seek federal assistance as a prime awardee.
The process for entity registrations includes getting the Unique Entity ID and requires assertions, representations and certifications, and other information about your business. The Unique Entity ID does not expire. However, registrations must be updated and renewed each year to remain in the “active registration” status. If you do not update or renew your registration, it will be in an “inactive” status, but your entity will still have its same Unique Entity ID.
Getting a Unique Entity ID only: Some entities who do business with the government may choose not to register in SAM.gov, for example, sub-awardees. In this case, those entities cannot bid directly on federal contracts as prime contractors or seek federal assistance as prime awardees. If this is the goal of the entity, they can go to SAM.gov and get a Unique Entity ID only (no entity registration required). The information required for getting a Unique Entity ID without registration is minimal. It only validates your organization's legal business name and address.
Source: SAM.gov by GSA.
How to register for SAM.gov?
- Go to the SAM.gov website (https://www.sam.gov/)
- Click on the "Register" button located on the top right corner of the homepage.
- Read and accept the terms and conditions of the registration process.
- Select the type of registration that you need to complete.
- If you are registering as a new entity, you will be prompted to create a login.gov account if you do not already have one. This account is used to access SAM.gov and other government websites.
- Fill out the registration form by providing your entity's information, including the legal business name, Doing Business As (DBA) name (if applicable), physical address, mailing address, point of contact information, and Unique Entity ID number.
- Complete the Representations and Certifications section of the registration form.
- Upload any required documents, such as a W9 form or a DUNS confirmation letter.
- Review and submit the registration form.
- You will receive an email with a link to verify your email address. Once you verify your email, you will receive a confirmation email with your registration information.
- Your registration will be reviewed by the government, and you will be notified by email when your registration is approved.
- Please note that after you have completed the registration process, you will need to renew your registration annually.
- Here are the step-by-step details of how to register for SAM.gov from the SAM.gov website for your convenience.
- Here are the top 10 questions asked relating to SAM.gov!
How to renew SAM.gov registration?
To renew your registration on SAM.gov, you will need to follow these steps:
- Log in to your SAM.gov account using your login.gov credentials.
- Click on the "Renewal" button located in the top right corner of the homepage.
- Review the entity information that is currently displayed on your SAM.gov profile and update any information that has changed.
- Review and update the Representations and Certifications section of your profile.
- Upload any required documents, such as a W9 form or a UEI confirmation letter.
- Review and submit your renewal application.
- You will receive an email with a link to verify your email address. Once you verify your email, you will receive a confirmation email with your renewal information.
- Your renewal will be reviewed by the government, and you will be notified by email when your renewal is approved.
Please note that entities are required to renew their registration annually, and it is recommended to renew your registration at least 30 days before the expiration date to avoid any interruption in your ability to do business with the government.
What is CAGE and NCAGE Code and how to use them in SAM.gov?
CAGE (Commercial and Government Entity) and NCAGE (NATO Commercial and Government Entity) Codes are unique identifiers assigned to entities that do business with the U.S. and NATO governments. They are used to identify entities that register in the System for Award Management (SAM) and the NATO Codification System (NCS).
CAGE Code: The CAGE code is a five-character identifier assigned by the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) to entities that register in SAM. It is used to identify businesses and organizations that provide goods or services to the U.S. government. The CAGE code is used in various government systems, including the Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS) and the Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System (FAPIIS).
NCAGE Code: The NCAGE code is an extension of the CAGE code, and it is assigned by NATO to entities that register in the NCS. It is used to identify businesses and organizations that provide goods or services to NATO member countries. The NCAGE code is used in various NATO systems, including the NATO Stock Number (NSN) and the NATO Master Catalogue of References for Logistics (NMCRL).
To obtain a CAGE or NCAGE code, an entity must register in SAM.gov, and for an NCAGE code, you should also register in NCS, during the registration process, the entity will be assigned a CAGE code. If the entity also wants to do business with NATO member countries, it can apply for an NCAGE code by contacting the appropriate NATO Codification Bureau.
Once you have your CAGE/NCAGE code, it should be used in all government procurement documents, such as contracts, purchase orders, and invoices, and any other communications with the government. It is also used in the procurement process to identify the vendor, search for contracts and awards, and to track the performance of the vendor.
What are NAIC codes and PSC codes and how to use them in SAM.gov?
NAICS (North American Industry Classification System) and PSC (Product Service Code) codes are used by the U.S. government to classify businesses and organizations based on the products and services they provide.
NAICS codes are used to classify businesses by industry and are used to identify the primary industry in which a business operates. NAICS codes are used in various government systems, including the Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS) and the Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System (FAPIIS).
PSC (Product Service Codes) are used to classify the products and services that a business provides to the government. PSC codes are used in various government systems, including the Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS) and the Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System (FAPIIS).
To use NAICS and PSC codes in SAM.gov, an entity must provide the appropriate codes when registering or renewing their registration in SAM.gov. The entity should use the correct codes that best describe its business operations and the products and services they provide.
When registering on SAM.gov, the entity will be prompted to provide its primary NAICS code and can also provide additional NAICS codes if they apply to the business operations. Also, when registering the entity will be prompted to provide the PSC codes that best describe the products and services they provide.
It is important to use the correct NAICS and PSC codes in SAM.gov to ensure that the entity's business operations and products and services are accurately represented in government systems. This will help the government to find the right vendors for the right opportunities and in the procurement process to identify the vendor and search for contracts and awards.
What is 13 CFR 121 used in SAM.gov?
The regulation sets size standards for various industries, based on the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes. These size standards are used to determine whether a business is considered a small business for federal procurement and other government programs in SAM.gov.
The size standards are updated periodically to reflect changes in the economy and industry. The standards are used by the SBA and other government agencies to determine whether a business is eligible for small business programs, such as set-asides, sole source contracts, and other preferences.
13 CFR 121 also includes provisions for small business size protests and appeals, which allows small businesses to protest and appeal if they believe that the size determination of a particular company is not correct.
Examples of how 13 CFR 121 is used for size standards for small businesses.
13 CFR 121 is used by the Small Business Administration (SBA) and other government agencies to determine the size of a business and whether it is considered a small business for federal procurement and other government programs. Here are a few examples of how the regulation is used:
Set-asides: The SBA may set aside certain federal procurement opportunities for small businesses if the size standards for the NAICS code associated with the procurement are met. For example, if a procurement opportunity is for a product or service that falls under NAICS code 541511, and the size standard for that code is $27.5 Million, only businesses with annual revenue of $27.5 Million or less would be eligible to participate in the set-aside.
Sole source contracts: The SBA may award sole source contracts to small businesses if the size standards for the NAICS code associated with the procurement are met. For example, if a procurement opportunity is for a product or service that falls under NAICS code 541511, and the size standard for that code is $27.5 Million, only businesses with annual revenue of $27.5 Million or less would be eligible to receive a sole source contract.
Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs: Both SBIR and STTR programs have specific size standards based on NAICS codes, and a business must meet the size standards to be eligible for the program. For example, to be eligible for the SBIR program, a business must have 500 or fewer employees and meet the size standard of the NAICS code that describes the product or service they provide.
Size protests and appeals: If a small business believes that the size determination of a particular company is not correct, it can file a size protest or appeal with the SBA. The SBA will then review the protest or appeal and make a final determination, based on the criteria outlined in 13 CFR 121.
These are just a few examples of how 13 CFR 121 is used to determine size standards for small businesses and how it's used in different federal procurement processes.
It's important to note that size standards can change over time and it's important to check the latest standards in the regulation before applying them to any federal procurement processes.
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