How to Become a Government Contractor

Two Methods:Registering to Become a Government ContractorFinding Work as a Government Contractor

Many companies find lucrative business opportunities by becoming government contractors. The federal, state and local governments buy goods and services from contractors in nearly every field and industry. Courting the government as a client means registering your business in several databases and taking care of many administrative and educational requirements. Once you are set up in the government's system, you will have to find appropriate jobs and projects to bid on. Become a government contractor by getting registered and certified, and then networking and responding to requests for proposals the way you would with other potential clients and customers.

Method 1
Registering to Become a Government Contractor

  1. Image titled Become a Government Contractor Step 1
    Obtain a DUNS number. This is the identifying number that the federal government will use for contracting purposes.
    • Contact Dun and Bradstreet to request your DUNS number. You should receive it within 48 hours of applying. You can do this online at
  2. Image titled Become a Government Contractor Step 2
    Register yourself or your company in the Central Contractor Registration (CCR) database. This is the database that manages federal procurement regulations and will assist you in getting paid for any contracting you do.
  3. Image titled Become a Government Contractor Step 3
    Register with the System of Award Management (SAM). Formerly called ORCA, this is the primary database that the government will use when awarding contracts. Create an account on to get started.
    • Find your NAICS classification. The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes each professional field and industry. You will need to designate your business when registering with SAM. Codes are listed here:
  4. Image titled Become a Government Contractor Step 4
    Determine whether your business qualifies for any contracting advantages such as a woman-owned business, minority-owned business or a small business.
    • Learn about how to get certified for these programs. The government sets aside contracts of under $100,000 for certified small business, for example. The Small Business Administration ( lists the requirements for how to get certified as small businesses, woman-owned businesses and minority-owned businesses.

Method 2
Finding Work as a Government Contractor

  1. Image titled Become a Government Contractor Step 5
    Search for open and current government contracting opportunities. You can find a comprehensive list at FedBizOpps:
  2. Image titled Become a Government Contractor Step 6
    Network, and develop contacts within the government's contracting and procurement programs. You need to get to know the government the same way you would cultivate other clients.
    • Attend events hosted by the SBA, the Department of Labor and other government contracting agencies. You will get an understanding of what the government needs and you will also meet people who can help you win contracts.
  3. Image titled Become a Government Contractor Step 7
    Adjust your marketing and development strategies for government agencies. When you respond with proposals, you will need to sell the government on why your company can deliver the best outcomes.
  4. Image titled Become a Government Contractor Step 8
    Educate yourself on the way government works. Get to know the budgets of the agencies you hope to contract with, so you know how high or how low to bid. Pay attention to regulatory requirements, safety standards and other things you will need to know before contracting.
  5. Image titled Become a Government Contractor Step 9
    Prepare your team. Taking on a government contract will require that everyone on your team understands the requirements and expectations. Review processes and systems to make sure workflow will be efficient and productive.
  6. Image titled Become a Government Contractor Step 10
    Consider subcontracting. If you have trouble identifying proposals that are right for you, explore working for a prime contractor. Most prime contractors have their own websites and you can also contact the Small Business Liaison Officer (SBLO) that most companies contracting with the government have.


  • Develop strong business relationships once you begin contracting with the government. Like any company, the government will continue doing business with contractors who are responsive, fair and do good work.
  • Remember that state and local governments will have their own regulations and process in place for becoming a contractor. They will be different in every state and region. Check with your Secretary of State at the state level or your procurement office at the local level for information.

Things You'll Need

  • DUNS Number
  • NAICS code

Article Info

Categories: Consultancy Freelance and Contracting