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Doing Business with DON

First, thank you for your interest in selling your products and services to the Department of the Navy. We recognize the importance of participation by the small business community in the maintenance of our National defense. As touched upon earlier, our acquisition structure is decentralized. To you, this means that your market search, to be effective, may extend beyond the geographical bounds of your city, state, and region.

The following guide provides you with what it takes to successfully market your product to the Department of the Navy.

10 Steps to Compete

  1. Identify your Product or Service

    Know the Federal Supply Code (FSC) Code/Product Service Code (PSC) and North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) Code for your product or service. Many government product/service listings and future procurements are identified by FSC/PSC or NAICS Code.

  2. Obtain a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) Number, register in the System for Award Management (SAM), and obtain a Commercial and Government Entity (CAGE) Code

    A DUNS Number must be obtained from Dun and Bradstreet. The DUNS Number is required for SAM registration and to be eligible for Department of Defense (DOD) contracts.

    You must be registered in the to be awarded a DoD contract.

    SAM is used by anyone interested in the business of the Federal Government, including:
      • Entities (contractors, federal assistance recipients, and other potential award recipients) who need to register to do business with the government, look for opportunities or assistance programs, or report subcontract information;
      • Government contracting and grants officials responsible for activities with contracts, grants, past performance reporting and suspension and debarment activities;
      • Public users searching for government business information.

    SAM is an electronic gateway of procurement information – for and about small businesses. It is a search engine for contracting officers, a marketing tool for small firms and a "link" to procurement opportunities and important information. It is free to federal and state government agencies as well as prime and other contractors seeking small business contractors; subcontractors and/or partnership opportunities.

    The CAGE Code request process is now incorporated in the SAM registration. Therefore, upon registration in, your company will be assigned a CAGE Code. A CAGE Code is a five-position code that identifies contractors doing business with the Federal Government, NATO member nations, and other foreign governments. The CAGE Code is used to support a variety of mechanized systems throughout the government and provides for a standardized method of identifying a given facility at a specific location. The code may be used for a Facility Clearance, a Pre-award survey, automated Bidders Lists, identification of Debarred Bidders, fast pay processes, etc. In addition, once your registration is active you may view your CAGE code on the web by searching active registrations.

  3. Register in the Small Business Administration (SBA) Dynamic Small Business Search system and investigate other SBA resources and small business programs

    You must be registered in SAM to be awarded a contract from the DoD. See Step 2, paragraph 2.

    Visit the SBA's website to discover and utilize the small business resources offered. The SBA offers a wealth hands on small business resources and has face to face local geographical representation for small business support. Access and utilize the Government contracting small business resources offered, such as support with the designation of NAICS codes, registration steps for Government contracts, and small business specific qualifications.

    While on the SBA's website, be sure to check out the other valuable resources available such as: Small Business Development Centers, Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE), Minority Enterprise Development/8(a) Business Development Program, and Small Disadvantaged Business (SDB) Certification procedures. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the Government Contracting Programs listed on the SBA website; Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB), 8(a) Business Development Program, Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone), Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Businesses (SDVOSB), Small Disadvantaged Businesses (SDB), and the Small Business Mentor-Protégé Program. The SBA provides detailed information about the programs, eligibility requirements and how to apply.

  4. Familiarize yourself with Federal, DOD, and Navy contracting procedures

    Be familiar with Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR), the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS), and the Navy Marine Corps Acquisition Regulation Supplement (NMCARS).

    You can also find a Guide to Marketing to the DOD found here:

  5. Identify the Navy/Marine Corps contracting activity that purchases your product or service and contact the Small Business Specialist on-site

    Department of the Navy contracting functions are decentralized. Each Navy/Marine Corps major buying activity purchases supplies and services that support its own mission. Each buying activity has a Small Business Professional assigned to it and this individual is your focal point for upcoming procurements and source for information on small business matters at that particular activity.

    From the Department of the Navy OSBP home page, locate a contracting activity that purchases the type(s) of product and/or service your company offers. Each contracting activity's page provides a list of Small Business Professionals assigned to each subordinate buying activity. In addition, there are direct links to each Navy and Marine Corps major contracting activity homepage that contains the commands specific mission and support information.

  6. Identify current and future Navy and Marine Corps procurement opportunities

    The Fed Mall is a site where DoD buyers can find and acquire off-the-shelf, finished goods items from the commercial marketplace. Vendors wishing to market their products to the DoD can participate in the Fed Mall MarketPlace.

    The Federal Business Opportunities (FedBizOpps) website will assist you in identifying Department of the Navy, as well as other DOD and Federal government procurement opportunities.

    NOTE: FedBizOpps is designated as the single source for publishing federal government procurement opportunities that exceed $25,000. All agencies must use FedBizOpps to provide the public to access to notice of procurement actions over $25,000.

    DON buying activities may also post requirements on a variety of available contracting vehicles, to include, but not limited to Seaport-e, GSA, and other government-wide solutions.

    Long Range Acquisition Estimates are usually posted on each Department of the Navy contracting command website and provide insight into the future procurement needs of the activity. The information will provide projected contractual requirement descriptions, buying commands, small business points of contact and acquisition strategies (full and open, set aside, etc.).

  7. Investigate Federal Supply Schedule (FSS) contract

    Many Navy and Marine Corps supplies and services are purchased utilizing FSS contracts and the GSA SmartPay Card. Contact the General Services Administration (GSA) for information on how to obtain a FSS Contract and why you should accept the GSA Smart Pay Card when doing business with the Navy and Marine Corps.

  8. Investigate other DOD programs

    There are several DOD small business programs that may be of interest to you, including the Indian Incentive Program, Mentor-Protégé, Small Business Innovation Research, Small Business Technology Transfer, and the Historically Black Colleges and Universities/Minority Institutions Program. Information on these programs, DOD publications, and much more is available for downloading from the DOD Office of Small Business Programs website.

  9. Explore subcontracting opportunities

    Regardless of your product or service it is important that you do not neglect our very large secondary market, Subcontracting Opportunities with DoD Prime Contractors. The SBA provides information on Subcontracting for Small Business, which includes a DoD Prime Contractor Directory, SBA Subcontracting Assistance Directory, and additional information on the DoD Subcontracting Program. We encourage you to investigate potential opportunities with these firms. Many also have websites that may be useful and we encourage you and them to team with each other.

    The SBA's SUB-Net is a valuable source for obtaining information on subcontracting opportunities. Solicitations or notices are posted not only by prime contractors, but the SUB-Net is also used by other government, commercial, and educational entities.

  10. Seek additional assistance as needed in the Department of the Navy and DOD marketplace

    Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTACs) are located in most states and partially funded by DOD to provide small business concerns with comprehensive information on how to do business with the DOD. They provide training and counseling on marketing strategies, business development, financial and contracting issues, and procurement regulations.

    Visit the Navy Exchange System website and the Marine Corps Exchange website. The exchanges are retail operations that provide quality products and a variety of services to the men and women of the Armed Forces, retirees, reservists, and their families.

    After you have identified your customers, researched their requirements, and familiarized yourself with Department of the Navy and DOD procurement regulations and strategies, it is time to market your product or service. The first presentation of your company's capabilities should be directly to the Small Business Professionals at the Navy and Marine Corps activities that buy your products or services. The Small Business Professionals will provide you additional points of contact for marketing the customer and pertinent information regarding long-range acquisition forecasts. Remember, the Department of the Navy seeks quality solutions for its requirements in a timely and cost effective manner. Outstanding "past performance" is one of your most valuable assets.