BLOG: Contracting: SAM and Other Resources

In a previous post we discussed some of the items you need to register your small business for government contracting and briefly touched on the System for Award Management (SAM).  In this post we are going to provide a little more information on SAM as well as provide you a list of some support resources.

CCR Transition to SAM

The Central Contractor Registry (CCR) is no longer the primary supplier database for the U.S. Federal government.  In July of 2012, the CCR transitioned to the System for Award Management (SAM).  SAM is now the official Federal government system and has consolidated the capabilities of the CCR, the Federal Agency Registration (Fedreg), the Online Representations and Certifications Application (ORCA), and the Excluded Parties List System (EPLS).

Using SAM you will be able to register your business size and socio-economic status while completing the required solicitation clauses and certification, whereby you certify that the information provided about your company and its business activities are correct. The certification information that you will be asked on SAM is explained in the Federal Acquisitions Regulations, Section 52.212-3 Offeror’s Representations and Certifications -- Commercial Items

SAM is also a marketing tool for businesses. SAM allows government agencies and contractors to search for your company based on your ability, size, location, experience, ownership, and more. SAM also informs searchers of firms certified by the SBA under the 8(a) Development and HUBZone programs.

SAM Profile

Your SAM profile is one of the most important vehicles you have to market yourself and your business. Carefully consider what information you put in your profile, and use these points as guides:

• Familiarize yourself with the SAM database

• Perform a search as if you were looking to hire your firm.

• Analyze the profiles of firms in your area of expertise and use them as a guide when developing your profile. These firms will undoubtedly be your competitors.

• Determine those aspects of your competitors’ profiles that are effective and use them as a guide when developing your own profile.

• Regularly review, update, and strengthen your profile.

• When you meet with federal contracting officers and other potential buyers ask them for a frank appraisal of your SAM profile.

Contracting Resources

Small businesses interested in pursuing federal contracts have many options available to represent their company to potential buyers.  It is important to research the federal marketplace for available opportunities and to understand the competition. To prepare your business for federal contracting opportunities, you should understand and familiarize yourself with these resources.

Dynamic Small Business Search:  SBA maintains the Dynamic Small Business Search (DSBS) database. As a small business registers in the SAM, there is an opportunity to fill out your small business profile. The information provided populates DSBS. DSBS is another tool contracting officers use to identify potential small business contractors for upcoming contracting opportunities. Small businesses can also use DSBS to identify other small businesses for teaming and joint venturing.

FedBizOpps: Federal Business Opportunities:  Federal business opportunities for contractors are listed at FedBizOpps: Federal Business Opportunities. Federal agencies are required to use this site to communicate available procurement opportunities and their vendor requirements to the public and interested potential vendors for all contracts valued over $25,000.

GSA Schedules:  Many government agencies establish government-wide contracts, which simplify the procurement process for federal agencies by allowing them to acquire a vast array of products and services directly from commercial suppliers. The largest government-wide contracts are established by the U.S. General Services Administration under its GSA Schedules Program. State and local governments also use the GSA schedules for purchasing goods and services, so becoming a GSA schedule contractor can be beneficial at all levels of government. Learn more about the program and find out how your small business can get on a GSA Schedule.

Federal Procurement Data System:  Federal Procurement Data System – Next Generation is the repository of all federal contracting data for contracts in excess of $25,000. With this system, you can learn the following about federal contracting opportunities and increase your market capability:

• Which agencies have contracts and with whom

• What agencies buy

• Which contractors have contracts

In addition, there are over 50 standard reports you can run, as well as specialized reports that allow you to request information using over 160 customized fields.

USASpending.Gov: is your source for information about government spending through contracts awarded by the federal government. The website is a searchable database that contains information for each federal award, including:

• Name of the entity receiving the award

• Amount of the award

• Transaction type and funding agency

• Location of the entity receiving the award

• Unique identifier of the entity receiving the award

This information can be used to help you identify procurement trends within the federal government and potential opportunities.

OSDBUs:  Many federal agencies have what is known as an Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) or an Office of Small Business Programs (OSBP). These offices work within their agencies to identify opportunities to incorporate small businesses as vendors to their agencies. Each agency releases a forecast of anticipated procurement activities that includes potential small business opportunities. Once you have reviewed an agency forecast and used systems like FPDS and to discern if there may be opportunities at a specific agency, it can be beneficial to reach out to the agencies’ OSDBU offices to build a relationship with the agency. Additionally, each OSDBU holds trainings and events to help small businesses identify if there are opportunities with the agency. To learn more about OSDBUs and events, visit

VETBIZ’s Vendor Information Pages (VIP):  The Department of Veterans Affairs also has a database of veteran-owned businesses that is used to support federal agencies and private businesses who want to find veteran-owned businesses and to support veteran-owned businesses who want an easier way to market to all potential federal customers.  When registering in the VIP database, your veteran status must be verified by Veterans Affairs. You will be designated as a veteran-owned small business (VOSB) or a service-disabled veteran-owned small business (SDVOSB). In both cases, the veteran must own not less than 51% of the business (or, in the case of a public company, not less than 51% of the stock), and must control the management and daily business operations of the business.  The VIP database is the only federally controlled database in which a legal verification process is used to determine service-disabled or veteran status of a small business.


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