How to Sell to the Federal Government as a Small Business

Did you know that the US government is the world's largest buyer of products and services?

In fact, from space vehicles to janitorial services, it spends nearly 600 billion dollars

a year.

And many of those purchases go to small businesses. So the federal government could be your next


If you're interested in selling to the government as a small business, the first step is to

make sure you qualify under small business standards.

You may think your business is small. But that's an important detail to be sure of if

you want to pursue government contracts.

For most industries, the SBA defines a "small business" in terms of the average number of

employees over the past 12 months. It may also be based on your annual receipts over

the past 3 years.

And your business can be any legal form- from a sole proprietorship to a corporation. Not

sure if your business is small? Check out SBA's size standards tool to find out.

If you do qualify as a small business, there's help to get you started with government contracting.

There are also special programs for women, veterans, and socially and economically disadvantaged

small business owners. All small businesses can access one-on-one counseling, training

workshops and more from the SBA.

So you don't have to go it alone.

Here's what you should also know about getting started with government contracting:

Government agencies use NAICS codes, or the North American Industry Classification System,

to identify products and services by industry. So, you'll need to identify the products and

services you sell by specific NAICS codes.

You'll also need to apply for a DUNS number, which is a unique identification number for

each physical location of your business.

To find contractors, federal agencies often use The System for Award Management, also

known as SAM. So it's important to register and maintain your business profile in SAM.

Once you qualify and you're ready to do business with government agencies, you can find contract

opportunities online through FedBizOpps- or Federal Business Opportunities- at

Want to learn more about how to make the government your next customer? Visit

And go to for free training on government contracting.