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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.