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Doing Business with the Government

Iowa_CapitolFederal and state government agencies are huge consumers, regularly buying everything from paper clips to complex equipment. And it’s not just large businesses that win contracts. Both federal and state agencies have goals to reserve a portion of total contracts annually for small businesses.

Doing business with the government is different than selling to other businesses. There is paperwork involved and many steps to take before you make a bid. Fortunately, there are resources available to help you get your foot in the door with one of the largest potential clients your business could have! Here’s some information to get you started down the road to selling to the government:

Procurement Technical Assistance Program (PTAP): If your business is new to government contracting, contacting the PTAP is a great first step. Whether you are interested in federal, state or local government contracting, the program staff can walk you through everything from preparing your initial bid to post-award assistance - all at no, or low cost to your business. 

Federal Resources:

System for Award Management (SAM): SAM is the primary supplier database for the U.S. Federal government, collecting, validating and storing data from suppliers and then making that data available to the various government agencies. Your business must be registered in SAM to do business with the federal government, as this provides buyers with a profile of the types of products or services your business can provide. There is no cost to register and PTAP staff can assist you through the registration process at no cost. 

Dynamic Small Business Search (DSBS) database: The DSBS is maintained by the Small Business Administration and is another tool that government contracting officers use to identify potential small business contractors for upcoming contracting opportunities. During the registration process in the SAM, your business will have the opportunity to fill out a small business profile which will then populate the information in the DSBS.

FedBizOpps: Federal Business Opportunities:
For contracts valued over $25,000, federal agencies are required to use this website to post available contracting opportunities and vendor requirements to the public and interested vendors.

Small Business Administration Office of Government Contracting provides resources and information on bidding opportunities for small businesses, including the Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUBZone) program, Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) program, and others.

State of Iowa Resources:

Iowa Department of Administrative Services (DAS) is home to Iowa’s state agency bid opportunities and has several useful links and resources for small businesses wanting to sell to state government, including: