When times are tough and the private sector all but shuts down the money supply, your business is bound to feel the economic pressures. Some entrepreneurs respond by aggressively going after military contracts. According to the Department of Defense, more than half of all awarded contracts go to small businesses, which often prove more flexible than larger organizations. In turn, the DOD offers security, pays on time and ensures that the checks always clear. Getting those contracts requires multiple registrations, demonstrating that your business can handle the contract and a dedicated perseverance in presenting a winning bid.
Register as a Federal Government Vendor
1. Obtain a Dunn and Bradstreet D&B Number
Obtain a “D&B” number from Dunn and Bradstreet by visiting the D&B website. Follow the online instructions to apply for your number. It usually takes 24 to 48 hours to receive your number by email.
2. Seek a Listing in the Central Contractor Registry
Register as a vendor with the federal government by gaining a listing in the Central Contractor Registry. To submit your application you will need to provide your gross revenue figures for the last three years, your tax identification number, and your Dunn and Bradstreet number, along with your North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes. It usually takes a couple weeks before you receive your approval.
3. Wait to Receive Your Codes
Check your email to confirm your approval after about two weeks. The Central Contractor Registry will send you an email outlining your approval and providing you with three very important codes: your Commercial and Government Entity code, a Marketing Partner Identification Number and a Trading Partner Identification Number.
Keep these numbers confidential and in a safe place where you can access them when you need them. All three numbers are central for locating, bidding and receiving payment for military contracts.
Bid for Contracts
1. Visit a DoD Procurement Technical Assistance Center
Visit a Department of Defense Procurement Technical Assistance Center to learn more about how to market products and services to the military, as well as how to bid on contracts. There are 93 centers located throughout the United States; you will want to visit the one in the closet proximity. The services are usually free or offered at a nominal cost.
Alternatively, you may visit the Department of Defense website and click on the “Doing Business with the DOD” link website to learn move about marketing to and bidding on military contracts.
2. Register with the Federal Business Opportunity Website
Submit a registration with the Federal Business Opportunity website (FBO), to find contracting opportunities. Once you register, you can log in, search for opportunities and submit a bid based on the requirements and instructions for individual opportunities.
3. Understand the Opportunities and Submit Bids
Read and make sure you understand the Performance Work Statement for each opportunity that interests you. If you have questions, you should contact the contracting officer overseeing the project for clarification before submitting a bid.
Things You Will Need
Federal government vendor registration
North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes
Tax identification number
Dunn and Bradstreet number
Commercial and Government Entity code
Marketing Partner Identification Number
Trading Partner Identification Number
Getting your first contract can pose a challenge. Most procurement officers want to see some experience in doing business with the military before awarding contracts. You want to establish contacts within the different military organizations to get your product or service noticed. This type of perseverance can go a long way in helping secure that first elusive contract.
When you enter into a contract with the Department of Defense, they expect you to complete the terms of the contract. Lives may very well depend on doing just that.