Learn how to find government opportunities
There is a new site in government contracting, and it is called: beta.sam.gov
What is beta.sam.gov?
For those with longer experience in government contracting, you will remember the old FedBizOpps.gov website which was discontinued in 2019 (Click here to see an archive of the old website).
In order to improve the website as a resource for government contractors, both in how it looked as well as how it functioned, GSA collaborated with businesses and others in government to create the Beta.SAM.gov web portal. This is an on-going effort to consolidate 10 legacy systems into a new, modern framework.
For example, though the new sam.beta.gov website launched in November 2019, all Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) active contract opportunities and announcements that were in FAACO.FAA.GOV were transferred to beta.sam.gov for use on February 1, 2020.
The reason the site has “beta” in the domain is because the new beta.SAM.gov website is a production website. What does that mean? Well, in order to test features and functionality, the website is a test website. As errors are discovered, updates get made. So, it is possible you will encounter glitches as you use the website.
GSA’s goal is to finish testing the website in the months ahead and convert it to be a centralized source of federal award data.
How to get started?
Here are some important things to know when getting started to use beta.sam.gov.
- You will need an account to use beta.SAM.gov. The government wants to move to a single sign-on for its websites, so it is asking all government contractors to either create a new login.gov account, use an existing login.gov account or use a government-issue CAC/PIV card.
- Registering for SAM.gov is free. However, some businesses will offer services to help get your business registered and set-up for government contracting. Read these offers carefully. The government does not have a service and does not charge for SAM.gov registration. So, be aware of anyone pretending to act like they are with the federal government or are an official agent of the government.
- To create a login.gov account for use in SAM.gov, simply go to: https://secure.login.gov/. You will need to click on “Create an account” if you do not have one currently. Getting set-up is a 4-step process.
- Once you have submitted an email address for registration, you will get a confirmation email. You will then be asked to create a “strong” password.
- Next is perhaps the most important step in the process and that is creating two authentication methods. This is to make sure you can always verify to the government that you are you. The government provides a few different options, such a code texted to your phone. But you will need two authentication methods, and one option may be to use an authentication app, like Google Authenticatorthat you will need to download and install.
- Once you have authenticated your account, you are ready to login to SAM.gov.
What to expect when using beta.sam.gov?
Here are some important things to know when searching for government opportunities or using beta.sam.gov.
- Have a plan before you start searching for opportunities in SAM. The best way to start is to think about what your company has the most experience delivering (whether its products or services or both). Since the government always wants to avoid risk, it is better to leverage what you are good at instead of new service offerings that have a small customer base or no customers.
- Get familiar with the government and information available for small businesses to understand what options are available for your company that may not be available to other businesses. Here are some links to get you started:
- GSA on Small Business: https://www.gsa.gov/small-business
- Small Business Administration on Government Contracting: https://www.sba.gov/federal-contracting/contracting-guide
- USA Gov on How To Become A Government Contractor: https://www.usa.gov/become-government-contractor
- GDI Consulting on Government Contracting: https://www.gdicwins.com/government-contracting/
- GDI Consulting Business and Market Assessment: https://www.gdicwins.com/business-market-assessment/
- Explore the site and start “saving” opportunities to your profile. Once you have built up a library of opportunities that you like, take that list to a government contracting agency and get a “Business and Marketing Assessment” conducted. This will help analyze your company, its strengths and weaknesses, its offerings and more. By including a list – the agency can better see how you view your business and determine if the opportunities you selected are the best fits for a proposal or if your capture management process needs to be improved.