SAM.gov registration is free, and help with SAM is free, too

November 11, 2013 by

Businesses interested in Federal contracting must, as an initial step, register in the Government’s vendor database known as System for Award Management (SAM).   Registration at the official SAM web site — www.sam.gov – is free.

The good news is that SAM registration is something that any vendor can take care of by themselves.  And if any vendor needs instruction, help is readily available at no charge.

Here are three important tips:

    1. Don’t be confused by look-alike web sites.  There is only one SAM database, and it’s a secure web site operated by the Federal Government.  It’s located at https://www.sam.gov.  You also can navigate to SAM by simply typing sam.gov or www.sam.gov in your web browser.  Either of these variations will redirect to SAM’s secure web site.  The key thing to know is that the official Federal SAM website is a “.gov” website, not a commercial website, so SAM.com is not an option if you’re trying to navigate to a Government web site.
    2. There are helpful videos now available on-line to help you with the SAM registration process.  If your business previously had a file set-up in Central Contractor Registration (CCR), you’ll need to migrate your old vendor record over to SAM; for instruction on how to do this, view the instructional video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IuFGM9H0gPI&feature=c4-overview&list=UUGYKiouhiBpijT51CplQZ-w.    If your business was never registered in CCR, then your starting point is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9VPGVYPvch4&list=UUGYKiouhiBpijT51CplQZ-w.
    3. If you need advice on how to organize your records in order to register in SAM — or you need help with the SAM registration process itself – expert assistance is available free of charge to all vendors, small and large.  Just contact the Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) nearest you.  PTACs have produced a SAM instructional video, too, and it’s available here:  https://netforum.avectra.com/eWeb/DynamicPage.aspx?Site=APTAC&WebCode=SAM.  A complete list of all PTACs across the nation is available at http://www.aptac-us.org/new/Govt_Contracting/find.php.    In Georgia, you can contact any of the nine PTAC offices located across the state — all contact information can be found at: http://gtpac.org/team-directory.

Remember, SAM registration is necessary if you want to do business with Federal agencies.  Remember, too, SAM registration is something you can tackle yourself.  There is never a charge to register at sam.gov, and help with the SAM registration process is readily available, at no charge, from your nearest PTAC.

SAM.gov registration is free, and SAM help is available at no charge, too

October 8, 2013 by

Businesses interested in Federal contracting must, as an initial step, register in the Government’s database known as System for Award Management (SAM).   Registration at the official SAM site — www.sam.gov – is free.

SAM replaced another database — Central Contractor Registration (CCR) — with which many people inside and outside of Government were familiar.  SAM is a better technology solution because it actually consolidates what once were several stove-pipe, stand-alone databases.  Because of the migration of records from CCR to SAM last year, all vendors now must re-validate and update their records.  And vendors new to the Government sector must establish a vendor record in SAM for the first time.

The good news is that SAM registration is something that any vendor can master by themselves.  And if any vendor needs instruction, help is readily available free of charge.  Here are three important tips:

    1. Don’t be confused by look-alike websites.  There is only one SAM database, and it’s a secure website operated by the Federal Government.  It’s located at https://www.sam.gov.  You also can navigate to SAM by simply typing sam.gov or www.sam.gov in your web browser.  Either of these variations will redirect to the secure site.  The key thing to know is that the official Federal SAM website is a “.gov” website, not a commercial website, so SAM.com is not an option if you’re trying to navigate to a Government website.
    2. There are helpful videos now available on-line to help you with the SAM registration process.  If you need to migrate an old CCR record over to SAM, you can view the instructional video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IuFGM9H0gPI&feature=c4-overview&list=UUGYKiouhiBpijT51CplQZ-w.    If your business was never registered in CCR, then your starting point is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9VPGVYPvch4&list=UUGYKiouhiBpijT51CplQZ-w.
    3. If you need advice on how to organize your records in order to register in SAM — or you need help with the SAM registration process itself – expert assistance is available free of charge to all vendors, small and large.  Just contact the Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) nearest you.  PTACs have produced a SAM instructional video, too, and it’s available here:  https://netforum.avectra.com/eWeb/DynamicPage.aspx?Site=APTAC&WebCode=SAM.  A complete list of all PTACs across the nation is available at http://www.aptac-us.org/new/Govt_Contracting/find.php.    In Georgia, you can contact any of the nine PTAC offices located across the state — all contact information can be found at: http://gtpac.org/team-directory.

Remember, SAM registration is necessary if you want to do business with Federal agencies.  Remember, too, SAM registration is something you can tackle yourself.  There is never a charge to register at sam.gov, and help with the SAM registration process is readily available, at no charge, from your nearest PTAC.

Video on how to migrate CCR files to SAM now available

April 3, 2013 by

Still struggling with moving your Central Contractor Registration (CCR) records to the new System for Award Management (SAM)?

Last year, SAM replaced CCR as the federal government’s vendor database, and it’s extremely important for every business that wants to do business with the government to be properly registered in SAM.

The SAM system has proven to be a formidable challenge for many vendors, but now there’s a video that walks you through the steps of migrating your records from CCR to SAM.

You can view the instructional video at http://www.youtube.com/user/GSASAMVideos.

If your business was never registered in CCR, your starting point is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9VPGVYPvch4&list=UUGYKiouhiBpijT51CplQZ-w.

DoD temporarily alters vendor registration rule due to SAM’s launch shortcomings

August 24, 2012 by

In order to avoid delays in “the timely processing of awards,” the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) has ordered the temporary suspension of rules requiring vendor registration in the System for Award Management (SAM).

SAM replaced Central Contractor Registration (CCR), the government’s long-standing vendor database. SAM was launched during the last weekend in July 2012 when CCR vendor data was migrated to the new system.

SAM’s late July implementation included not only CCR but Federal Agency Registration (FedReg), the Online Representation and Certification Application (ORCA), and the Excluded Parties List System (EPLS) as well.  “Performance issues” involving the new SAM database prompted DoD’s action to suspend for “a brief period” the requirement that vendors be registered in SAM before being eligible for a contract award.

Keep reading this article on The Contracting Education Academy at Georgia Tech’s web site at http://contractingacademy.gatech.edu/2012/08/dod-temporarily-alters-vendor-registration-rule-due-to-sams-launch-shortcomings.

GSA issues IBM a letter of concern for problems with procurement system

August 15, 2012 by

The General Services Administration has officially ordered IBM to fix the troubled System for Award Management (SAM).

Sources confirmed GSA issued IBM a letter of concern Aug. 7. In the official notice, GSA told the company to develop a plan of action and milestones for how they will make SAM work more smoothly. Under the program, GSA wants to consolidate eight acquisition databases, including the Central Contractor Registration, the Past Performance Information Retrieval System and six others.

A letter of concern is a step before a cure letter, saying there are problems with the system but it’s not as bad as a cure letter.

GSA hired IBM under an eight- year, $74.4 million contract in 2010.

Keep reading this article at http://www.federalnewsradio.com/65/2988217/GSA-issues-letter-of-concern-for-problems-with-procurement-system.

It’s a mistake to rush into the SAM vendor registration process!

August 1, 2012 by

If you want to successfully pursue a government contract, it is essential that you register your business in the federal government’s vendor database.  In fact, you may have received an advertisement from someone who is offering to register your business – for a fee – in a vendor database.

Before you rush to register – and certainly before you pay someone to register for you – you should learn what the registration process is all about, and how you can do it yourself – at no cost.

The federal government’s vendor database used to be known as CCR – Central Contractor Registration.  But on July 30, 2012, CCR went away.  It’s been replaced by SAM – the System for Award Management.  If you were registered in CCR, your information has migrated over to SAM.  This migration covers even firms whose CCR registration information hasn’t been kept up to date.

You can access SAM at https://www.sam.gov.

But before you start the SAM registration process (or modify your existing record), it is very important to “get ready” by thoroughly acquainting yourself with SAM’s purpose and the information you’re expected to know in order to register properly.

We don’t want you to learn the hard way that registering in SAM with incorrect or incomplete information is worse than not registering at all.

The Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC) provides advice to Georgia businesses every day on the subject of proper vendor registration. In the course of providing this assistance, our Procurement Counselors review many existing registrations and registrations in progress. Based on our reviews, GTPAC estimates that at least 20 percent of the 600,000 firms presently registered in SAM have errors in their records. The mistakes range from misspelled words to empty data fields, to incomplete entries, to selection of incorrect procurement codes, and other flaws. As a result, these vendors miss-out on government contract opportunities either because they are screened-out for not exhibiting attention-to-detail or – because of incomplete information – they cannot be identified by government buyers.

SAM is the federal government’s primary source for identifying potential vendors. Every federal agency, both civilian and military, utilizes the SAM database. Many federal contract officers initially determine whether a contract should be set-aside exclusively for 8(a), HUBZone, or service-disabled small businesses based on firms identifying themselves with these designations in SAM. Prime contractors also use SAM to identify potential subcontractors and suppliers, with emphasis on the various small business socio-economic categories like those just mentioned plus women-owned small businesses, veteran-owned businesses, and small disadvantaged businesses. Even state and local governments sometimes consult the federal database to find potential vendors who are interested in the broader governmental marketplace. In addition, businesses and non-profits must be registered in SAM in order to receive federal payments and disbursements against contracts and grants.

Are you beginning to see proper registration in SAM in a new light, including what an important tool SAM is to effectively market yourself to the government?  Truly, SAM is much more than a mere task to quickly get out of the way!

In preparation for registration in SAM, there are several steps you should take.. Among these steps are:

  1. Obtain a TIN/EIN for your business from the IRS. (Even if your business is a sole proprietorship, it’s important — because of identity-theft considerations — that you do not operate your business using your Social Security number.)
  2. Obtain a DUNS number for your business. (Don’t pay anyone for this; a DUNS number can be obtained from Dunn & Bradstreet (D&B) at no cost via the web within a day or two.)
  3. Research and identify the PSC/FSC and NAICS codes most appropriate to your business. (Every product and service is classified by these federal numbering systems, and it’s essential that you identify the codes that are applicable to your business.)
  4. Determine whether your business meets the SBA’s small business size standard. (Virtually every federal contract valued at less than $100,000 is awarded to small businesses, so you need to know if you qualify.)
  5. Write a brief capabilities statement. (You must have a grammatically-correct, short description of what your company does.)
  6. Identify “key words” associated with the nature of your business. (These words should be crafted from a government buyer’s perspective; in other words, think about what the government might ”call” what it is you do or sell.)
  7. Make a list of business references. (Be prepared to provide company name, contact person, dollar value, and date range of work.)

These are not all of the preparatory steps, but they are the most important ones.  Plan ahead!  It can take up to five days for your SAM registration to take effect because the SAM database must synchronize with D&B and IRS databases before activating your registration.

If you have questions or need help with any aspect of SAM, please consider taking advantage of GTPAC’s services in a comprehensive way. GTPAC provides assistance to help Georgia firms get ready as well as find and pursue contracting opportunities in federal, state, and local government markets. This assistance is provided at no charge. Complete details on how to access GTPAC’s services can be found on our ABOUT US page.

And a great way to learn about how you can develop each of the 7 items listed above is by attending GTPAC’s “Introduction to Government Contracting” class or “Fundamentals of Working with the Government” briefing.  Click here to see the dates and locations of these no-cost training opportunities.

What if your business is outside the state of Georgia?  Take heart!  Expert, no-cost assistance with SAM and every other aspect of government contacting is available to companies — small and large — all across the United States through procurement technical assistance centers (PTACs).  To find the PTAC nearest you, simply click here: http://www.aptac-us.org/new/Govt_Contracting/find.php.

One more thing: As this article is being written on Aug. 1st, SAM is just being rolled-out.  There is a record number of vendors, coupled with a record number of contracting officers, who are visiting the SAM website to validate and update records.  As a result, SAM is running slowly, and the on-line system is not always responding as it should.  Be patient, is our advice.  Try accessing SAM late at night or on the weekend when there are not so many users trying to access SAM data.  Over time, the new SAM system will smooth out and offer more advantages than CCR ever did.

For the latest news involving SAM, please visit: http://gtpac.org/tag/sam

© 2012, 2013 – Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center – All Rights Reserved.

CCR closed until SAM emerges on July 30th

July 24, 2012 by

Effective 11:59 pm on Tuesday, July 24, 2012, no new vendor registrations can be submitted to the federal government.  Central Contractor Registration (CCR) is closing and will become part of SAM — System for Award Management — on Monday morning, July 30, 2012.

Thus, until the morning of July 30, 2012, vendors will not be able to initiate a new registration or modify an existing one.

Any registrations in process will be on hold until SAM goes live the morning of July 30, 2012.  If a firm is in the middle of a registration, the data submitted will be migrated to SAM.

Similarly, all existing vendor registrations — both active and inactive — will be migrated to SAM.

When it is time to renew a registration, vendors should go to SAM.gov, create a SAM user account, and follow the online instructions to validate and update the information. Vendors only need to register for a user account in SAM when it is time to begin updating their current registration. Vendors do not need to do anything right away.

If a vendor’s CCR record was scheduled to expire between July 16, 2012 and October 15, 2012, the government is extending that expiration date by 90 days. Vendors will receive an e-mail notification from CCR when their expiration date is extended.  Vendors will then receive standard e-mail reminders to update their records based on their new expiration date. Those future e-mail notifications will come from SAM.

CCR is just the first federal database to be transferred to SAM.  Federal Agency Registration (FedReg), the Online Representations and Certifications Application (ORCA), and the Excluded Parties List System (EPLS) also will be migrated into SAM.  One advantage to the creation of SAM is that it will reduce the number of passwords users need to remember, reduce the number of systems needed to enter and interact with, and reduce data redundancy by sharing the data across the award lifecycle.

Visit SAM.gov to learn more, or feel free to contact your nearest GTPAC procurement counselor for advice.  Our contact information is at http://gtpac.org/team-directory.

 

Cutting through red tape in government procurement

July 16, 2012 by

Do government purchasing departments drown prospective vendors and contractors in paperwork and procedures?

“I certainly believe there is too much red tape in selling to the government, which is driving up procurement costs on lower ticket items, which is the core of our business,” Steven Bosio, president of Grand Rapids, Mich.-based MarketLab, told Industry Market Trends (IMT).  MarketLab is a direct-mail catalog supplier of specialty products and services for health care professionals.

Keep reading this article at: http://news.thomasnet.com/IMT/2012/07/10/cutting-through-red-tape-in-government-procurement/ 

SAM implementation changed from May 29 to the end of July 2012

May 21, 2012 by

At 4:30 pm on May 21, 2012, GSA issued the following announcement delaying the implementation of the new SAM system:

The General Services Administration (GSA) is moving the implementation date of the System for Award Management (SAM) from May 29, 2012 to end of July 2012. The additional sixty days will allow federal agencies to continue preparing their staff, give agencies and commercial system providers even more time to test their data transfer connections, and will ensure SAM contains the critical, documented capabilities users need from the system.

This first phase of SAM will include the capabilities of Central Contractor Registration (CCR)/Federal Agency Registration (FedReg), Online Representations and Certifications Application (ORCA), and the Excluded Parties List System (EPLS).

In preparation for the launch, GSA conducted extensive testing internally and in coordination with federal agencies using the data from these systems in their own contracting, grants, finance, and other departments. The testing was very valuable and will focus the efforts of the next sixty days.

SAM will reduce the burden on those seeking to do business with the government.  Vendors will be able to log into one system to manage their entity information in one record, with one expiration date, through one streamlined business process. Federal agencies will be able to look in one place for entity pre-award information. Everyone will have fewer passwords to remember and see the benefits of data reuse as information is entered into SAM once and reused throughout the system.

Please see http://sam.gov/ or contact a GTPAC Counselor at www.gtpac.org/team-directory.

USDA warns of fraudulent letters

March 31, 2012 by

The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) officials has issued a warning that fraudulent letters are being sent by FAX to individuals and businesses in at least four states.

The letters purportedly come from a USDA procurement officer and seek personal information. USDA says these letters are false and in no case should a recipient respond with personal and financial information. The fraudulent letters bear USDA’s logo and seal and are signed by an individual identified as “Frank Rutenberg” using a title of “Senior Procurement Officer.”

Letters have been received by FAX in Alabama, Nebraska, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, but may have also been sent to other states.

It’s possible that the mailing list for the fraudulent letter is being derived from public information in Central Contractor Registration (CCR).

Recipients should not respond and should not supply the requested information. USDA is investigating this matter through the Office of the Inspector General.

If you suspect you have received such a letter or have questions please contact USDA at: vog.adsu.mdnull@ycilop.tnemerucorp or call 202-720-9448.

Visit the FTC’s Identity Theft site to learn what to do if your identity is stolen: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft.