Written by JULIANNE GEIGER
Friday, May 13, 2011
GUAM - Large and small businesses alike can tap into another almost $40 billion annually in federal contracts through the most widely used government contract vehicle—the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA).
GSA provides workspace to more than 1 million federal civilian workers, oversees the preservation of more than 480 historic buildings, facilitates the purchase of high-quality, low-cost goods and services from quality commercial vendors, and managed about $39 billion in federal assets at the end of fiscal year 2010. The agency is responsible for the acquisition of products and services making up nearly 14 percent of the federal government's total procurement dollars.
With billions in recent Multiple Award Construction Contracts (MACC) and the subsequent task orders benefiting prime and subprime contractors on Guam, local businesses may be overlooking a practical opportunity to sell non-construction goods and services to the GSA during the buildup.
Of all the Guam businesses potentially eligible for GSA designation, only a small handful have pursued it, even if doing so could help them to remain profitable when waiting for MACCs or task orders or other buildup-related opportunities —a definite need for businesses when buildup timelines are continuing to evolve. Over and beyond military construction projects, the billions in federal contracting not directly related to the buildup are a steady source of opportunities.
Businesses who want to be a part of this GSA marketplace must first register as an official GSA supplier. This is a multi-step process that when complete, will allow contractors to compete for long-term federal, local, and state contracts.
Registration and Certification
1. All companies hoping to do business with the GSA must first obtain a DUNS number from Dun and Bradstreet. This number is used as a unique identifier for companies around the world. Obtaining a DUNS number is a free service that can be performed online or by phone by calling 1-866-705-5711. DUNS numbers are often received in one business day.
2. After applying for a DUNS number, companies must also register with the Central Contractor Registration (CCR), which collects, stores, and disseminates data in support of acquisition missions. This is a free service.
3. Register with ORCA. The Online Representations and Certifications Application offers a consolidated certification process, free of charge, which applies to all GSA schedules, solicitations and federal contracts.
4. Obtain a Past Performance Rating from the Dun & Bradstreet company, Open Ratings. Companies must register and provide names and e-mail addresses of anywhere from six to twenty customers. This is a fee-based service.
5. Register with NAICS, free of charge. The North American Industry Classification System is used by the federal government to compile statistics about the American economy.
Contractors may also find how-to help at the GSA website from the "Getting Started with GSA Schedules" guide, designed to assist vendors with the startup process.
GuamBuildupNews.com will continue to report on benefits of federal contracting through the GSA, including the benefits to businesses within the SBA program.
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