The federal government invests around $500 million a year in contracting, so there are many opportunities to do business with its many agencies. As a business owner, you can benefit from these contracts and add the federal government to your client portfolio.
However, the process to register your business and obtain a contract with the federal government is not immediate. Nevertheless, the paperwork can be useful for your company.
Before getting started:
- Determine if the federal government is buying your products or services. A simple way to find out is to check prior contracts. Go to the Federal Procurement Data System’s page and, in the search bar, enter the service’s concept or the kind of product you sell. This can help you determine if any government agencies have had a need for your service or product. For example, enter the phrase “construction Puerto Rico” and the system will provide you with a list of construction contracts in the Island.
- Identify opportunities available for contracting. Go to the Federal Business Opportunities to check out opportunities currently available with the government; search by service, product or region. Program the system to send an email notification every time there is a bidding opportunity that might interest you.
- Learn about future opportunities at federal agencies. Every federal agency publishes yearly contracting forecast. They serve as a guide to get ready and adjust to different opportunities. Remember that forecasts may be delayed or canceled and are also subject to government approval. Go to Agency Recurring Procurement Forecasts to see forecasts by agency, which include the following details: contract amount, industry and project location, among others.
- Seek help and mentoring. The Puerto Rico Federal Contracting Center (FeCC), a division of the Puerto Rico Industrial Development Company (PRIDCO), offers business owners personalized help and free group training (face-to-face and online). For information, call (787) 758-4747 extension 3181, Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. or send an email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Once you check available opportunities for your type of product or service, get ready to register your business. Here is what you’ll need to complete the registration:
- DUNS Number – Provided by the Data Universal Numbering System, you can get it here, free of charge. The number is unique for your business and helps to identify it. You should receive your number between two to four days after applying for it.
- Tax Identification Number (TIN) – Known in Puerto Rico as Employer Social Security. If you are self-employed and are not incorporated (Doing Business As or DBA), then you must have your Social Security number on hand.
- NAICS Code – Identify which code corresponds to your company according to the type of industry. NAICS is the acronym of the North American Industry Classification System, which is used in the United States, Canada and Mexico to catalog different industries in a uniform manner. Get your NAICS number Obtaining the applicable product or service code for your type of business is also recommended. You can get it here.
- Routing and bank account numbers; also, your banking institution’s telephone number.
- Date when your company started operations (day, month and year).
- Number of employees – Not including contractors.
- Income – Include the average for the last three years. If your business was founded less than three years ago, share the information you have so far.
Are you determined to do business with the federal government? Sign up at the System for Award Management (SAM) webpage. To learn more about how to fill out the SAM registry, read our article Register and Start Doing Business with the Federal Government.
Banco Popular de Puerto Rico (Popular) has no affiliation or relationship with the Federal Contracting Center (FeCC), with the entities or with the information provided in the links mentioned in this article. This article is informative in nature and does not constitute an endorsement or a guarantee of its accuracy. Popular or any of its affiliates, subsidiaries or related companies are not and will not be liable for special damages, direct or indirect, incidental or consequential, including, but not limited to loss of profits ensuing from or related to communications, articles or advice provided, or that may ensue from the information contained in this article. Popular is devoted to providing banking services and therefore does not offer (directly or indirectly) any type of advisory service towards contracting with the federal government. If you require any of these services you should seek advice from a competent professional of your choice. Popular is not liable in any way for the outcome of any related endeavor if you choose to voluntarily communicate with SAM, the FeCC or any of the entities mentioned in this article.