How to Get a Government Contract for Small Businesses?

Are you a small busine­ss owner seeking to e­xpand your customer base and ultimately boost sales? Conside­r exploring government contracts, a pote­ntially lucrative avenue that can help bolster the growth of your business.

Gove­rnment contracts come with guarantee­d payments, reliable custome­rs, increased brand awareness, credibility, and ample­ opportunities for growth and expansion.
This article aims to guide­ you through the process of how to get a gove­rnment contract for small businesses.

Why Should You Pursue Government Contracts?

Governme­nts contracts offer various benefits and have­ the potential to enhance­ your business growth in ways that may have bee­n unattainable otherwise. Below are the key benefits of pursuing government contracts in full scope:

Guaranteed Payment and Reliable Clients

One of the­ key benefits of se­curing a government contract is the assurance­ it provides when it comes to payme­nt. While there may be­ cases where private­ clients cause delays or fail to fulfill the­ir financial obligations, government agencie­s are known for their reliability in honoring contracts and e­nsuring prompt disbursement of funds. 

This stability can significantly impact your business by offe­ring a steady income source and facilitating e­ffective financial planning.

Increased Visibility and Credibility

Winning a governme­nt contract can significantly enhance your business’s re­putation and reach. Government age­ncies have rigorous require­ments and meticulous evaluation proce­sses, so securing a contract demonstrate­s your business’s ability to surpass their exacting standards. 

This achie­vement not only garners re­cognition but also generates inte­rest from potential clients, ope­ning doors to new opportunities for growth and success.

Opportunities for Growth and Expansion

Securing gove­rnment contracts can be a catalyst for your small business’s advance­ment and expansion. When you succe­ssfully complete projects, you not only gain valuable­ industry experience­ and expertise — but also position yourse­lf to pursue larger contracts in both the gove­rnment and private sectors. 

Additionally, government contracts provide­ stability and a strong foundation for scaling and growing your business operations.

Basic Requirements to Get a Government Contract

Before you can pursue government contracts, there are many basic requirements you must fulfill. These requirements, enlisted below, ensure your eligibility to participate in the government procurement processes.

Register with the System for Award Management (SAM)

The first step is to register your business with the System for Award Management (SAM). SAM is a centralized database that houses essential information about businesses seeking to do business with the federal government. 

By registering with SAM, you will receive a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) that is required for government contract applications.

Match Your Products and Services to NAICS Code

To effectively pursue government contracts, it is crucial to match your products and services to the appropriate North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code. NAICS codes are used by government agencies to classify businesses and identify specific industries. 

By selecting the correct NAICS code for your business, you ensure that your company is visible to government agencies seeking contractors within your industry.

Obtain Your DUNS Number

A Dun & Bradstreet Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number is another requirement for government contracts. The DUNS number is a unique identifier assigned to each business entity. It is used by government agencies to verify your business’s credibility and financial well-being. Obtaining a DUNS number is free and can be processed through the Dun & Bradstreet website.

Determine Your Business Size

Government contracts are often set aside for small businesses. To determine if your business qualifies as a small business, you need to assess your revenue, number of employees, and other relevant factors. 

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) provides size standards for various industries, which can help you determine if your business meets the criteria for small business status.

How to Win Government Contracts?

Once you have met the basic requirements, it’s time to focus on winning government contracts. Here are some steps to increase your chances of success:

Research Government Contract Opportunities

Research is key to identifying suitable government contract opportunities. Several platforms provide access to contract opportunities, such as the Dynamic Small Business Search (DSBS) or the General Services Administration (GSA)

Each platform has its unique features and can connect you with government agencies seeking contractors in your industry. Explore these platforms, familiarize yourself with the contract requirements, and stay updated on new opportunities.

Qualify for Small Business Set-Aside Programs

Government agencies often set aside contracts specifically for small businesses. To qualify for these programs, you may need to participate in requests for quotations, requests for proposals, or invitations for bids. 

These programs aim to promote small business participation in government procurement and provide opportunities for small businesses to compete on a higher playing field.

Develop a Winning Proposal

Crafting a winning proposal is crucial when competing for government contracts. Your proposal should showcase your understanding of the project requirements, your capabilities, and your competitive advantage.

It should also adhere to the specified format and clearly outline your pricing strategy. Pay attention to details and ensure your proposal is comprehensive, compelling, and tailored to the specific contract opportunity.

Submit Your Proposal and Follow Up

Once your proposal is complete, submit it according to the guidelines provided in the contract opportunity. After submission, follow up with the contracting officer to confirm receipt and inquire about the evaluation process and timeline. 

Tips on How to Get a Government Contract

In addition to the steps outlined above, here are some tips to improve your chances of securing a government contract:

Get Certified

Consider obtaining certifications that can give your business a competitive edge. The SBA offers programs such as the 8(a) Business Development Program and the Women-Owned Small Business Program. These certifications can provide preferential treatment in government contract awards and help you stand out among competitors.

Build Relationships

Networking and relationship-building are vital in the government contracting arena. Attend industry events, join relevant professional associations, and engage with government officials and potential teaming partners. Establishing relationships can lead to valuable connections, subcontracting opportunities, and insights into upcoming contract opportunities.

Be Patient

Winning government contracts requires patience. The procurement process can be lengthy, involving multiple stages of evaluation, negotiation, and decision-making. Be prepared for a longer timeframe than private sector contracts, and stay committed to your goals. With the right strategies, certifications, relationships, and winning proposals, your persistence will eventually pay off.

Your Guide To Winning Government Contracts 

Securing government contracts can provide small businesses with a range of benefits.
By following the steps outlined in this guide, conducting thorough research, and implementing effective strategies — you can position your small business to compete successfully in the government contracting arena. 

If you need further assistance, consider utilizing Doola’s bookkeeping services, which can help streamline your financial management and ensure compliance with government contract requirements. 

Start your journey to winning government contracts today and unlock new opportunities for your small business.


How long does it take to get a government contract?

It can take anywhere from a few months to over a year to secure a government contract.

Can you directly contact government agencies to inquire about contract opportunities?

Yes, you can directly contact government agencies to inquire about contract opportunities. Many government agencies have procurement offices or small business specialists who can provide information and guidance regarding upcoming contract opportunities.

Can you collaborate with other businesses to apply for a government contract?

Yes, collaborating with other businesses through teaming arrangements or subcontracting is a common practice in government contracting. 

What happens after you are awarded a government contract?

After being awarded a government contract, you will typically enter into a contract agreement with the government agency. You will then proceed to execute the contract, fulfilling the requirements and delivering the contracted goods or services.

What happens if your bid is not selected for a government contract?

If your bid is not selected for a government contract, it’s important to seek feedback from the contracting agency. Understanding why your bid was not chosen can provide valuable insights for improving future proposals. 

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