1. RFQ? LPTA? BPA? What do all of these acronyms mean?

This helpful guide will help you make sense of the alphabet soup of government contracting.

2. Is my business small?

Federal agencies have a goal to award 23% of contracts to small businesses and have the ability to set aside, or limit competition to qualified small businesses. When you register in the System for Award Management, you will provide average annual receipts over the past 3 years and average number of employees, which will be used to determine if your firm meets the SBA Small Business Size Standards for your primary NAICS code and any additional NAICS selected.

There is no formal small business certification for federal contracting. The annual self-certification in SAM is sufficient.

It’s important to understand how relationships with other entities can impact your ability to claim small business status. This is a good time to read up on affiliation.

3. Does my minority, woman, or service disabled veteran owned status increase my competitiveness?

See certifications.

4. Am I eligible for federal contracts?

See System for Award Management registration.

5. I was told to get on a “schedule” or get a “GSA Number.” What’s that?

The US General Services Administration administers a federal government-wide contracting vehicle referred to as the Federal Supply Schedule (FAS) or Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) program. See http://www.gsaelibrary.gsa.gov/ElibMain/home.do to search whether your products and services are procured through a GSA MAS contract, view a list of contract holders, and access direct links to the full solicitation with instructions on how to submit an offer. This is a lengthy process that is not a good fit for every business. Contact us for help exploring whether obtaining an FSS contract will be beneficial to your business and assistance completing your offer to the US General Services Administration.

6. Where do I find notifications about federal contracting opportunities?

See Contract Opportunities.

7. What is DUNS number?

See System for Award Management on the Registering Your Business Page.

8. What is a CAGE Code?

See System for Award Management on the Registering Your Business Page.

9. What is a NAICS Code?

The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) is the standard used by Federal statistical agencies in classifying business establishments for the purpose of collecting, analyzing, and publishing statistical data related to the U.S. business economy. When a federal agency is procuring a good or service, it identifies the NAICS code that best describes the principal purpose of that procurement. You will use NAICS codes in your System for Award Management registration and to search opportunities.

10. How do I get paid on a federal contract?

Instructions for invoicing should be included in your contract. Some agencies utilize their own invoicing systems, such as Wide Area Workflow/iRAPT for DOD, Invoice Processing Platform for Department of Agriculture (USDA), Department of the Interior (DOI) and Department of the Treasury. It’s important to invoice exactly as directed in your contract.

11. Does the federal government buy the product or service my business provides?

See Market Research.

12. Does the federal government fund research & development for small businesses?

Yes! See www.sbir.gov for more information on the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Tech Transfer Programs.


Need Assistance?

Call or email us for help understanding how federal contracting can serve your business.
Phone: 206-256-6109 or
Email: Stephanie.Scott@Commerce.wa.gov
Learn more about technical assistance advisors.