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Am I a small business?

The SBA’s size standards determine whether or not your business qualifies as small. Size standards define the largest size a business can be to participate in government contracting programs and compete for contracts reserved or set aside for small businesses. Size standards vary by industry, and are generally based on the number of employees or the amount of annual receipts the business has. You can find small business size regulations in Title 13 Part 121 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).

How do I register as a federal contractor?

To participate in government contracting, you must register your business in the federal government’s System for Award Management (SAM). SAM is a database that government agencies search to find contractors. Using SAM, you’ll able to certify that your business is eligible for contracts that are reserved for small businesses. There is NO cost to register. 

What is a NAICS Code?

The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code classify businesses based on the particular product or service they supply. A business will generally have a primary NAICS code, but it can also have multiple NAICS codes if it sells multiple products and services.


To find your NAICS code, view the NAICS code list at the U.S. Census Bureau.

Where do I find federal contracts to bid on?

Federal contract opportunities for contractors are listed at SAM.Gov. Government agencies are required to use FedBizOpps to advertise all contracts over $25,000.

You will also find opportunities in: UNISON (FedBid); US Department of InteriorDLA Internet Bid Board System (DIBBS) among others.

Can I bid on opportunities that reference a NAICS Code that it is not in my SAM registration?

Yes, You can bid and make an offer, so long as you meet the procurement’s size standard and can provide the goods and/or services. We do recommend that you keep your SAM record up-to-date and to include all the NAICS codes for which you have the required experience and resources.

What is the 8(a) Business Development Program?

The 8(a) Business Development Program is a business assistance program for small disadvantaged businesses. The 8(a) Program offers a broad scope of assistance to firms that are owned and controlled at least 51% by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals. 


Participants can receive sole-source contracts, up to a ceiling of $4 million for goods and services and $6.5 million for manufacturing.


8(a) firms also can form joint ventures and teams to bid on contracts. This enhances the ability of 8(a) firms to perform larger prime contracts and overcome the effects of contract bundling, the combining of two or more contracts together into one large contract.

What is the HUBZone program?

The Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUBZone) program helps small businesses in urban and rural communities gain preferential access to federal procurement opportunities. The federal government has a goal of awarding 3 percent of all dollars for federal prime contracts to HUBZone-certified small business concerns.


Program benefits for HUBZone-certified companies include: Competitive and sole source contracting and 10 percent price evaluation preference in full and open contract competitions, as well as subcontracting opportunities

What is the Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Concern Program?

The Veterans Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development Act of 1999 established an annual government-wide goal of awarding not less than 3 percent of the total value of all prime contract and subcontract awards to small business concerns owned and controlled by service-disabled veterans.


Also, on December 16, 2003, the Veterans Benefits Act of 2003 established a procurement program for Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Concerns (SDVOSBCs). This procurement program provides that federal contracting officers may restrict competition to SDVOSBCs and award a sole source or set-aside contract where certain criteria are met.


To be eligible for the SDVOSBC, you and your business must meet the following criteria: The Veteran must have a service-connected disability, the business must be small under the NAICS code assigned to the procurement, the Veteran must unconditionally own 51 percent of the business and have full control, the Veteran must hold the highest officer position in the business and must manage and control daily business operations.

What are the eligibility requirements to be certified as a Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB)?

The Government has an annual government-wide goal of awarding not less than 5 percent of the total value of all prime contract and subcontract awards to small business concerns owned and controlled by WOSB. 


To qualify the firm must be at least 51 percent owned and controlled by one or more women, and primarily managed by one or more women, the women must be U.S. citizens, the firm must be “small” in its primary industry in accordance with SBA’s size standards for that industry.


In order for a WOSB to be deemed “economically disadvantaged,” its owners must demonstrate economic disadvantage in accordance with the SBA eligibility requirements.

What is a General Services Administration (GSA) Schedule?

The largest government-wide contracts are procured through the General Services Administration (GSA). Businesses list their available goods and services, which procurement officers can access. Instead of issuing an RFQ or RFP, a procurement officer simply can order goods and services directly from you. The GSA Schedule is like a catalog from which procurement officers can order for goods and services up to a certain value.

Where do I find subcontracting opportunities?

SubNet is a database of subcontracting opportunities posted by large contractors looking for small businesses to serve as subcontractors.


The SBA maintains a directory of federal government prime contractors with subcontracting plans.


The GSA publishes a subcontracting directory for small businesses that are looking for subcontracting opportunities with prime contractors. The directory lists large business prime contractors that are required to establish plans and goals for subcontracting with small businesses.


The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) maintains a similar directory of large prime contractors that small businesses can use to find subcontracting opportunities.

How do I market to the Federal Government?

You may want to market your small business directly to a government agency or prime contractor. You can do that by learning what agencies or prime contractors need, and then showing them how your business can fulfill that need.


Federal Procurement Data System


Federal Procurement Data System – Next Generation is the repository of all federal contracting data for contracts over $10,000. With this system, you can see which agencies have contracts and with whom they have contracts, what agencies buy, and which contractors have contracts. You may also produce custom reports in SAM.Gov. tracks government spending through contracts awarded. This searchable database contains information for each federal contract. You can use this information to help identify procurement trends within the government and potential opportunities

What is the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU)?

Many federal agencies have what’s called an Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) or an Office of Small Business Programs (OSBP). These offices work to identify opportunities to contract with small businesses. You can find a list of the offices in the OSDBU Council Directory.


Each agency releases a procurement forecast that includes contracting opportunities for small and disadvantaged businesses. Once you’ve reviewed an agency forecast and used systems like the Federal Procurement Data System and to identify opportunities at a specific agency, you can contact that agency’s small business office. Also, each office hosts training and networking events to help small businesses identify contract opportunities.

Does the Government set-aside contracts for small businesses?

Yes, To help provide a level playing field for small businesses, the government limits competition for certain contracts to small businesses. Those contracts are called “small business set-asides,” and they help small businesses compete for and win federal contracts. There are two kinds of set-aside contracts: competitive set-asides and sole-source set-asides.


Competitive set-aside contracts
When at least two small businesses could perform the work or provide the products being purchased, the government sets aside the contract exclusively for small businesses. With few exceptions, this happens automatically for all government contracts under $150,000.
Some set-asides are open to any small business, but some are open only to small businesses who participate in SBA contracting assistance programs.


Sole-source set-aside contracts
Most contracts are competitive, but sometimes there are exceptions to this rule. Sole-source contracts are a kind of contract that can be issued without a competitive bidding process. This usually happens in situations where only a single business can fulfill the requirements of a contract.


Some set-asides are for small businesses in certain socio-economic categories. You can bid on these set-aside contracts by participating in any of the SBA's contracting assistance programs.  


If I get a federal contract, can I subcontract the work?

Yes,  under set-aside award conditions, small business prime contractors may need to subcontract part but not all of the work. There are limitations to the amount of work that you can subcontract. These limitations ensure that otherwise ineligible businesses don’t use small or disadvantaged businesses merely as vehicles to access set-aside contracts.


The limitations apply to contract set-asides for small businesses when the contract amount exceeds $250,000, and all other set-aside contracts under the 8(a)HUBZoneservice-disabled veteran-owned, or women-owned small business programs.


  • Service contracts: The small business prime contractor must provide at least 50% of the contract cost for personnel.
  • Supply contracts: The small business prime contractor must perform work for at least 50% of the cost of manufacturing the supplies, not including the cost of materials, unless the business qualifies as a non-manufacturer.
  • General construction contracts: The small business prime contractor must perform at least 15% of the cost of the contract with its own employees, not including the cost of materials.
  • Specialty construction contracts: The small business prime contractor must perform at least 25% of the cost of the contract with its own employees, not including the cost of materials.
  • Under the HUBZone, women’s contracting, or disabled veterans’ programs, the small business prime contractor can utilize similarly situated subcontractors to meet these performance requirements.
  • Under the HUBZone program, there are higher performance requirements for construction contracts.

The prime contractor's limitations on subcontracting are explained in detail in 13 CFR 125.6.

What is the Non-manufacturer rule?

The non-manufacturer rule is an exception to the usual requirement that contractors supplying goods to the government perform at least 50 percent of the cost of manufacturing the items. Simply put, it allows a small business to supply products it did not manufacture — as long as those products come from another small business.


The SBA can waive the non-manufacturer rule requirement. To do this, the contracting officer must apply for a non-manufacturer rule waiver.


The regulations that govern the non-manufacturer rule are outlined in 13 CFR 121.406.

About Us

The Puerto Rico Federal Contracting Center (FeCC), an APEX Accelerator, is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the US Deparment of Defense.


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The content of any written materials or verbal communications of the FeCC does not necessarily reflect the official views of or imply endorsement by DoD.

Contact Info

Federal Contracting Center

Fomento Building - Office 107

355 F.D. Roosevelt Ave. Hato Rey, PR 00918

787-758-4747 Ext. 3181