THE Step by Step Guide to Doing Business with the Federal Government

Doing business with the federal government is hard.  This article will walk you through the big milestones that need to be done to even bid on a government contract.  You'll need to complete most of these steps in order.  As with everything that involves the government... Save everything!  Passwords, logins, and any scratch of information.  If you think setup is difficult, try being one of thousands of companies trying to get login information.

Things you will need

  • An email address created just for this process that will be checked weekly. This email address will become public domain. This means that this email address will be spammed for years to come. I was warned on my first company and forgot...

  • Company EIN and all other company information.

  • An appointment with a PTAC representative to make your life easier. Their services are Free, utilize them.

  • Time and Patience. The entire process can be completed in 10-20 hours, however it will take 1-2 months. You'll have to wait weeks in between some steps while the information is processed.


1. Register with the federal procurement data system

The Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS) is the single source for US government-wide procurement data. 

1.1 Go Here

1.2 Click "Register" then "Public Accounts"

1.3 Follow the prompts and don't forget to save all data from this process

2. Get a DUNS number

I am not a particular fan of Dun & Bradstreet.  I think they are a scam, however the government requires that you have a DUNS number from them.

2.1 Go Here

2.2 Select "Get a D-U-N-S Number"

DUNS Number

2.3 Select "I'm a U.S. Government Contractor or Grantee"

2.4 Follow the confusing and ever changing prompts to request a DUNS number from D&B.

3. Register with the System for Award Management and get your CAGE code

The System for Award Management (SAM) is the primary supplier database for the U.S. Federal Government.  You will need your DUNS number from step 2 to start this process.

3.1 Go Here

3.2 Click "Login" then "Create an Account"

3.3 Follow the confusing and ever changing prompts to register and request your CAGE Code

4. Register with Fed Biz Opps

Federal Business Opportunities ( is the central location for (almost) all Federal government contract opportunities.  The only opportunities that will not be listed are highly classified projects.  If your company has the capabilities to bid on these contracts, you would not be reading this article.

You will need your SAM login, DUNS number, and Cage Code from steps 2 and 3.

4.1 Go Here

4.2 Click on "Vendor / Citizen" "Register Now"

FBO Registration.PNG

4.3 Enter your DUNS number and follow the confusing and ever changing prompts to register with Fed Biz Opps.

4.4 At this point, you are able to bid on government contracts.  Don't do it yet though!


5. Discover what SBA contracting programs you qualify for

The Federal government has goals to contract out certain percentages of federal dollars to Small Businesses, HUBZone Businesses, Women Owned Businesses, Veteran (and Service Disabled Veteran) Owned Businesses, and Economically Disadvantaged Businesses.  If you think you may qualify for one of the above, go Here to learn more.  Unfortunately, each one of these programs has it's own extensive process that is too detailed (and ever changing) to go into here.

Lastly, reach out to your local PTAC or SBA representative for help.  If you think this is convoluted, wait until you're introduced to FAR or get audited by DCMA/DCAA.

If you’re interested in learning more, checkout our resources at the B2C, B2B, and B2G pages.