Navigating through the Complicated Procurement Process
Last time we spoke about what kind of goods and services the government procures from small businesses and how to find out government procurement requests (Click here). This time we will talk about how to actually register your business with government agencies so you can be on their registered vendor list and be ready to bid whenever you see a RFP that you want to bid on.
As mentioned last time, BidLinx is the NYS SBDC’s online program that sends daily email alerts to entrepreneurs for new procurement RFPs from over 2000 bid sources. However, it is only an alert system; being registered on BidLinx doesn’t mean you are registered in any government procurement system. In order to be able to bid on any RFPs, a business must be on the registered vendor list of the agency from which the RFPs came from.
Another important fact about BidLinx: BidLinx sources DO NOT include New York State, New York City, nor MTA (Metropolitan Transportation Authority) RFPs. Businesses who wish to do business with these government entities need to register with each of these entities separately in order receive contracting opportunity alerts from them.
Here is a starter guideline on how to register your business with government agencies.
Please note: federal procurement systems only have RFPs from federal agencies; New York State government has its own system, New York City and MTA too. So in order to do business with all these government agencies, you need to register your business with all of them separately.
Federal Government: SAM System for Award Management www.sam.gov The official U.S. Government system that consolidated several federal procurement systems into a single new, streamlined system. Currently SAM has consolidated the capabilities of CCR (Central Contractor Registration), FedReg (Federal Agency Registration), ORCA (Online Presentations and Certifications Applications), and EPLS (Excluded Parties List System). Eventually other federal procurement systems will also be combined into SAM. These include:
- CFDA (Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance)
- eSRS (Electronic Subcontracting Reporting System)
- FBO (Federal Business Opportunities)
- FPDS-NG (Federal Procurement Data System – Next Generation)
- FSRS (FFATA Subaward Reporting System)
- PPIRS (Past Performance Information Retrieval System)
- WDOL (Wage Determination Online)
There is NO fee to register for this site. Business entities may register at no cost directly from this page.
However, at this stage, the most popular and well-known federal procurement system FBO is not yet consolidated into SAM, so entrepreneurs still need to go to www.fbo.gov to register their business in order to become a registered vendor, in addition to registering at SAM.gov.
At the federal level, some procurement systems require the businesses to self-certify that they are small business, or MWBE (Minority/Women Business Enterprise), including FBO.gov. Therefore business owners bear the responsibility to provide proof of eligibility when asked. It is also a requirement for business to be at least two years in operation in order to do business with federal government agencies.
New York State – New York State Procurement (NYSPro) Office of General Services – http://www.ogs.ny.gov/Bu/PC/default.asp – is New York’s central procurement office, responsible for establishing and managing contracts for core goods and services needed by government entities across the State. Businesses can find procurement opportunities from this website, but it is suggested that businesses register with Contract Reporter for automated email alerts on procurement opportunities.
Contract Reporter www.nyscr.org – Also a free website. It is the officially weekly newsletter for announcements of contracting opportunities in the estimated amount of $50,000 or more with state entities, including SUNY and CUNY. However, getting the alerts doesn’t mean you are registered on the list to do business with these agencies. For example, in order to be ready to work with CUNY, businesses have to be registered at https://www.research.net/s/CX5JFRQ. On the other hand, the SUNY procurement process is decentralized, which means businesses are strongly encouraged to contact each of the 30 individual campus purchasing offices about procurement opportunities.
New York City – The City Record Online –http://a856-internet.nyc.gov/nycvendoronline/home.asp is a fully searchable database of procurement notices – bid solicitations and awards, from New York City agencies. Companies can sign up to receive bid notifications by email and download bid documents.
New vendors interested in enrolling in the City’s Bidders’ List must create an account in the City’s Payee Information Portal (PIP) https://a127-pip.nyc.gov/webapp/PRDPCW/SelfService
To start doing business with New York City, please follow the steps listed on the NYC Comptroller Office website https://comptrollernyc.com/procurement/procurement-forms.shtm
Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) – http://www.mta.info/mta/procurement/ – The MTA has a family of agencies: MTA New York City Transit, MTA Long Island Rail Road, MTA Metro-North Railroad, MTA Bridges and Tunnels, and MTA Staten Island Railway, they run the subways, buses, commuter railroads, and interborrough toll crossings. Needless to say, the MTA is just like other government entities and large corporations; it purchases pretty much anything you can think of, both goods and services. Companies who wish to do business with the MTA can first check the list of MTA’s purchasing needs provided on their website and contact the MTA agencies directly to determine if they buy what the companies have to offer.
In order to become a vendor to the MTA, a business needs to register at each MTA agency’s bidder list. As stated before, the MTA is a big family of entities, each entity maintain its own bidders list. The contact information of each entity is also available on the web link provided above. After that first step, a vendor is encouraged to check both the NYS Contract Reporter and New York are newspapers for upcoming procurement opportunities instead of waiting to be contacted by the MTA. For starters, this should be a good guide to get started to learn and get government procurement deals.
Entrepreneurs are strongly encouraged to make an appointment with an SBDC business advisor to get more detailed information and materials regarding doing business with the government.
Shiau-Larn (Shalom) Hoang, Business Advisor for the Baruch Small Business Development Center