You’ve now figured out with whom to speak on the government side of the equation, so now it’s just a matter of delivering the goods and sending the government an invoice. Your check should be immediately in the mail…right? Wrong.
While the government gives preference to commercial items or services, that does not mean they are able to operate and purchase as though they are a commercial organization. The government operates through taxpayer funds. Because of this, the level of scrutiny is exponentially higher than what is experienced in the commercial arena. Taxpayers expect their elected officials maintain a level of prudent responsibility when spending money on operating governmental functions. As a result, regulations and policies are set up to ensure spending measures up to the bar set by constituent.
With this context in mind, the government must be careful to only do business with legitimate and reputable companies. Getting to the point of why you are reading this, if you expect to be one of those “legitimate and reputable” companies who can do business with the Federal government, then you MUST be registered in the government’s database, System for Award Management (SAM). You can access and register at this link: www.sam.gov.
Whenever a contracting officer awards a contract they must determine the recipient to be “responsible.” Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Subpart 9.1 outlines the requirements contracting officers must follow to ensure a contractor is responsible entity. Basically, this is a check to ensure the awarded contract is released to a vendor who is capable of performing (or delivering), has the financial resources to do so, and is not otherwise precluded from doing business with the Federal government (that will be covered in a future blog post!).
Registering in SAM is Step 1 for your adventure in the Federal government marketplace. Without completing this step, you will not get much traction or attention from those who do the purchasing for the government. So, since this is so important, you should probably outsource this function to a professional…right? No.
I continually encounter businesses new to the Federal marketplace who think this barrier to entry requires some special knowledge or level of sophistication. My advice to them always is to NOT pay anyone for getting their profile set up in SAM. Resources are scarce and you should consider using those resources elsewhere because setting your profile up is really quite easy to do. Furthermore, there are ample FREE resources out there that can be used to get you on your way. If you feel those resources are not responsive to your needs, give us a call at FP&C Consulting. We will be happy to walk you through the steps involved for getting set up in SAM…and we will not charge you for that discussion.
Bottom line, if you’re looking to get into the Federal marketplace and you are not in SAM you need to go to www.sam.gov as soon as possible and get yourself set up. That is Step 1