You may have heard that it is essential to register your business in CCR — Central Contractor Registration — if you want to pursue a government contract. That’s true.
But registering in CCR with incorrect or incomplete information can be worse than not registering at all. That’s why it is very important to “get ready” for CCR registration by thoroughly preparing yourself.
The Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC) provides advice to Georgia businesses practically every day on the subject of proper CCR registration. In the course of providing this assistance, our Procurement Counselors review many existing registrations. Based on our reviews, GTPAC estimates than as many as 20 percent of the 600,000 firms presently registered in CCR have mistakes in their records. The mistakes range from misspelled words to empty data fields, to incomplete entries, to selection of incorrect procurement codes, and more. As a result, these vendors miss-out on government contract opportunities because they are screened-out for not exhibiting attention-to-detail or — because of incomplete data — they cannot be found in the first place.
CCR is the federal government’s primary source for identifying potential vendors. Every federal agency, both civilian and miltary, utilize the CCR 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 CCR. Prime contractors also use CCR to identify potential subcontractors and suppliers, with emphasis on the various small business socio-economic categories. Even state and local governments consult CCR to find potential vendors who are interested in the government marketplace. Businesses and non-profits must be registered in CCR in order to receive federal payments and disbursements against contracts and grants.
Are you beginning to see CCR as a tool to market yourself and not just as a task to quickly get out of the way?
There are several steps you should take before trying to register in CCR. Among these steps are:
- Obtaining 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.)
- Obtaining a DUNS number for your business. (Don’t pay anyone for this; a DUNS number can be obtained through a 10-minute phone call.)
- Researching and identifying 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.)
- Determining 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.)
- Writing a brief capabilities statement. (You must have a grammatically-correct, short description of what your company does.)
- Identifying “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.)
- Making 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.
If you have questions or need help with any aspect of CCR, 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.
Oh, and one more thing … CCR is scheduled to disappear in late July 2012. It will be replaced by SAM — System for Award Management. Stay in touch with GTPAC, and we’ll keep you updated on how this transition takes place and what you need to do.
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