How to Find and Win Federal Contracts for Small Businesses

The federal government is the wordls’ largest purchases of goods and services. In 2009 small firms won a record $96.8 billion in federal prime contracts, which represents almost 22 percent of all federal spending. But for many small businesses it can be a challenge to work with the federal government since it may require considerable capital, effort and patience.

According to the National Association of Small Business Contractors (NASBC), it took an average of 1.7 years for active small companies to land their first prime contract with the federal government. It can still be work the the effort for many small businesses.

A few things to keep in mind if your small business wants to win a federal contract: Know your own company. Have a realistic view of what your company can offer and deliver.

Properly register your company. Any company doing business with the government needs to follow a certain way of doing things. You will need to first obtain an identifier such as a DUNS number. Also companies need to be registered int he Central Contractor Registration database (

Start small. Contractors that are successful with gaining contracts start with smaller contracts with then may lead to larger ones. Look for contacts fro smaller government agencies. For example an agency that buys less than $3000 in supplies. You can check with individual agencies for these opportunities since they don’t all require competitive bidding and are often paid for with a credit card by the agency.