So you are considering or have decided that you want to do business with the United States Government. Why not when the government spends over $4 trillion per year with large and small businesses and pays on time?
However, you’ve also heard that, as a government contractor, you become subject to many rules and regulations such as the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) or Defense Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS), which are unique to doing business with the government. For many, these rules and regulations can seem daunting at first.
However, even with the additional rules and regulations, working with the U. S. Government can be hugely rewarding. As the world’s largest customer, the United States Government buys various products and services which provides significant opportunities for small businesses. They do this for economic development and job creation, as well as access to unique ideas that small businesses can provide and to offer opportunities to disadvantaged socio-ethnic groups.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) works with federal agencies to award, at a minimum, 23% of all prime government contract dollars to small businesses. In addition, the following targeted sub-goals have been established:
- Women Owned Small Business – 5%
- Small Disadvantaged Business – 5%
- Service Disabled veteran Owned Small Business – 3%
- HUBZone – 3%
Do you qualify as a “Small Business”?
The SBA has established industry size standards which you must meet to qualify as a “small business”. Generally, this is defined in terms of the average number of employees over the past 12 months or average annual receipts over the past three years. The SBA defines a “small business” as an entity that meets the following criteria:
- Has a place of business in the United States
- Is independently owned and operated
- Is organized for profit
- Is not dominant in its field on a national basis
- Operates primarily within the United States or makes a significant contribution to the nation’s economy through payment of taxes or use of U.S. products, materials or labor
Below is a link to a table of the size standards which are matched to the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) for industries. Once you have determined you are a small business, you’ll need to certify yourself as small by registering as a government contractor.