Federal, State, and Local governments offer many small businesses the opportunity to sell their products and services. Many government agencies require that some percentage of their procurements be set aside for small businesses. There are registration and certification requirements at all levels of government contracting. If you still have questions after reviewing the information below, please see the Government Contracting documents in our Interactive Resource Library.
Selling to the City of Alexandria
The City of Alexandria has many opportunities for small businesses to contract with the City to do business. For more information visit the City’s website.
Vendor Guide – How to do business with the City of Alexandria.
Purchasing – Management of City contracts for goods, services, insurance, and construction.
eProcure – City’s electronic purchasing process.
Selling to City of Alexandria Agencies Not Included in City Procurement
Selling to the Commonwealth of Virginia
eVA is Virginia’s online electronic procurement system. This web-based vendor registration and purchasing system allows state agencies, colleges, universities and many local governments to use eVA to conduct all purchasing and sourcing activities for goods and services.
SWaM – The Small, Women-owned, and Minority-owned business certification program is a state program of the Commonwealth of Virginia. The purpose is to enhance procurement opportunities for SWaM businesses participating in state-funded projects.
DBE – The Disadvantaged Business Enterprise certification program is a Federal program. The purpose is to increase the participation of certified DBEs in projects funded by the US Department of Transportation and other federal sectors. Projects typically include heavy construction, such as building and designing roads, bridges, railroad, port and airport.
Additional information on state procurement can be found in our Resource Library.
Selling to the Federal Government
To sell to the Federal Government a firm must have a Data Universal Numbering System or DUNS number and be registered in the System of Award Management (SAM). Firms may be certified in various business classes (e.g., Small Business, 8(a), Woman-owned Small Business, Service Disabled Veteran-owned Small Business, etc.). Finally, firms selling to the Federal government must be aware of the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes and how the NAICS Code assigned to each Federal business opportunity can limit which firms are permitted to bid on specific business opportunities. More information on each of these areas can be found below.
- Obtain a D-U-N-S Number: The Data Universal Numbering System, abbreviated as DUNS or D-U-N-S, is a proprietary system developed and regulated by Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) that assigns a unique numeric identifier, referred to as a “DUNS number” to a single business entity. Each firm providing services or products to the Federal Government must have a DUNS number. This is a unique nine-digit identification number for each physical location of your business. The assignment of a DUNS number is free for all businesses. You can obtain a DUNS number here.
- Register Your Business with the System of Award Management (SAM): To sell to the Federal government, a firm must be registered with SAM, the primary database of vendors doing business with the Federal Government. Completing a SAM registration is also a way to “self-certify” your business in one of the several self-certifying categories such as Small Business and Woman-owned Small Business. The Federal Acquisitions Regulation (FAR) requires all prospective Federal vendors to be registered in SAM prior to the award of a contract, basic agreement, basic ordering agreement, or blanket purchase agreement.
- Find the NAICS Codes for Your Company: The NAICS is the standard used by the Federal Government in classifying business establishments by size. You must identify all of the NAICS codes that apply to your business. You will need to list these codes in your SAM application. You will also use these codes to help you determine which bids you qualify to pursue. Typically, each business has more than one NAICS Code that applies to its line of services or products.The Federal Small Business Administration (SBA) uses NAICS as a basis for its size standards. Size standards using NAICS as their basis apply to all Federal Government procurements. When the Federal Government intends to acquire goods or services through procurement, it identifies the NAICS code that describes the principal purpose of that procurement.Your business may have many capabilities, and the NAICS code for a given procurement opportunity may not be the same as your primary NAICS code. That will not keep you from bidding or making an offer, as long as you meet the size standard for the procurement and have the capacity to provide the goods or services.
Business Certification: Determine Your Eligibility for Special Programs
There are a number of special certifications that firms can apply for and be given by the SBA. All of these certifications offer a firm an opportunity to bid for work that is restricted to only firms with the certification. The available certifications are listed below and include a web link that provides additional information.
- 8(a) Business Development Program – The 8(a) Program is an essential instrument for helping firms certified by the SBA as socially and economically disadvantaged entrepreneurs gain access to the economic mainstream of American society through procurements set-aside for only 8(a) certified firms. Firms certified as 8(a) are eligible for sole source awards.
- Woman-owned Small Business Program (WOSB) – Firms that are owned by woman can self-certify as a WOSB or use an SBA-authorized third party to get certification. WOSB certified businesses are eligible for sole source awards.
- Economically Disadvantaged Woman-owned Small Business (EDWOSB) – Woman-owned small businesses can self- certify by as an EDWOSB or use an SBA- authorized third party to get certification. EDWOSB-certified businesses are eligible for sole source awards.
- Service Disabled Veteran-owned Small Business (SDVOSB) – SDVOSB-certified firms are eligible for sole source awards.
- Small Disadvantaged Business (SDB) – Firms can self-certify as an SDB firm but such firms are not eligible for sole source awards.
- Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUBZone) Program – The HUBZone program helps small businesses in designated urban and rural communities gain preferential access to federal procurement opportunities. HUBZone firms are not eligible for sole source awards but are eligible to participate in procurements set-aside only for HUBZone firms.
- Experienced Federal Contractors: GSA Schedule – General information on GSA Schedules can be found on GSA’s website.