It should be noted, however, that there are some definitions that are exclusive to particular agencies. Michael Balsam, of Onvia, noted that there are tens of thousands of agencies associated with the federal government.
"All have their own nuances and their programs can be a little different." This means that the percentage of ownership some agencies require may be different. If you think you fall into this category, find out when you bid how the agency you are dealing with defines ownership.
How big is your company? There are size standards involved in the classification of a small business. According to Gambarbella, the industry in which you do your business influences the size standards, i.e., there are different standards for on your industry than others. This is one reason why you need to determine your NAICS code. There are corresponding size standards for each code, and the SBA can tell you if the size of your business fits into these standards.
Is your business located in a HUBZone or is it a "disadvantage business?" Neighborhoods around the country have been designated as economic development zones or also referred to as Historically Unutilized Business Zone or HUBZones. It is the desire of the federal government to provide assistance to these neighborhoods and this includes encouraging businesses that are in these zones to participate in doing business with the federal government. Some times procurements are set aside for businesses that fall into this category. And there is the 8a Business Development Program. Although this is not a contracting program per se, Gambarbella noted that there are some elements of the program that do concern government contracts.
"The program has categories of contracts that can be awarded to a small business on a sole-source basis or on a competitive basis," said Gambarbella. The SBA can help you determine if your business falls under this program.
Next, you will have to obtain a business identification number and register with a number of databases and certifications groups. If you do not already have a DUN number you need to obtain one from Dun & Bradstreet (phone number: 866-705-5711). A DUN number is a business identification number that is used like a person's social security number. There is no charge for getting a DUN number.
You will also need a Marketing Partner ID (MPIN) and a Trading Partner Identification Number (TPIN). The MPIN is a personal code that you create and register with the Centralized Contractor Registration System (CCR). This code also allows you to access other government applications such as the Past Performance Information Retrieval System (PPIRS), FedBizOpps and FedTeDS. In short, the MPIN is your personal password. You make up the code and register it in the CCR. The TPIN is a confidential number provided to you on activation in CCR. It, along with your DUN number gives you access to your entire registration, including Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT). The TPIN is mailed to you via the post office to the person listed as the "CCR Point of Contact" under the "point of contact" tab in the CCR. You use the TPIN to update and/or renew your registration.
Rules And Regs
Now that you have evaluated your business, you need to get acquainted with the regulations and procedures of doing business with the government. Knowing and understanding the procedures is imperative to determine if you indeed want to get involved in doing business with the federal government. According to Gambarbella, the Federal Acquisition Regulation is the overall guide of rules that govern the process.
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