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5 Step Guide on How to Register your Company as a Small Business Government Contractor

By Kristin Ghanem | Harkcon's Contract Manager

To register as a small business contractor, your company must adhere to Small Business Administration size standards and register as a government contractor in the System for Award Management (SAM). Keep reading for a quick guide on how to register your company as a small business government contractor.

1. What is a size standard?

The Small Business Administration (SBA) has established size standards for all businesses that represent the largest size that a business may be to keep its small business classification. Size standards are used to determine eligibility for small business set-aside contracts.

2. How are size standards determined?

Size standards are usually determined by a company’s average number of employees or average annual receipts. The definition of “small” varies by industry.

Title 13, Code of Federal Regulations, part 121.104 describes how the SBA determines average annual receipts and part 121.06 states how the SBA determines the number of employees.

3. What is a NAICS code?

The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) classifies businesses for the purpose of collecting, analyzing, and publishing statistical data related to the U.S. economy and defines businesses based on the activities in which they are primarily engaged.

The SBA uses NAICS code classifications as a basis for size standards. When the government intends to issue a solicitation, it identifies the NAICS code that defines the main purpose of the procurement. If your company has several different capabilities, you may qualify under numerous NAICS codes.

To search NAICS codes visit:

4. Obtain a DUNS Number

Before submitting a proposal to the government, you must obtain a Dun & Bradstreet (DUNS) number. This is a unique nine digit identification number for each physical location of your business. DUNS numbers are free for all businesses.

Visit for more information on how to obtain your company’s unique number.

5. Register in SAM

Federal Acquisitions Regulations (FAR) require that all government contractors be registered in SAM prior to award of a contract. SAM is the primary database of all government vendors. In SAM you can register your business size, socio-economic status, and complete solicitation clauses and certification. By completing the required solicitation clauses and certifications, you are certifying that the information you provided about your company is correct. You also need to identify in SAM all the NAICS codes applicable to your business capabilities.

Now that you are registered, you are ready to begin competing for contracts. Good luck! Next time we will discuss how to internally manage and maintain your contract documents. If you would like to contact the author of this blog, send an email to and reference the title, "5 Step Guide on How to Register your Company as a Small Business Government Contractor."

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