Government Procurement and Federal Contracting


In the federal procurement process, acquisition personnel identify their agencies’ needs, posting requests for goods and services on the federal government’s System for Award Management’s website ( Generally, a solicitation identifies what an agency wants to buy, provides instructions to would-be offerors, identifies the source selection method that will be used to evaluate offers, and includes a deadline for the submission of bids or proposals. Companies interested in these opportunities craft their proposals in response to these requests, and agency personnel assess these offers in line with the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR).

To participate in government contract bids, companies must secure a Unique Entity ID (UEI) number and enroll on SAM. Various agencies, such as the General Services Administration (GSA), offer guidance and support to both current and prospective government contractors.

Once a contract is rewarded then the procurement process moves into the next stages: contract performance and contract administration. Each agency has personal responsible for the contract administration to ensure the cost, quality, timelines, and other obligations are fulfilled by both the agency and the contractor. The processes, activities, and events that occur during contract administration vary from procurement to procurement, though this stage would include invoice processing and payments to the contractor and may include, among other functions and activities, a post-award orientation, performance monitoring, and contract modifications.

One way to get involved with federal government contracting indirectly is by working as a subcontractor for a company that already has a government contract, also known as the “prime contractor.” Government agencies might share details about the firms they’ve awarded contracts to on their websites. Other helpful sources for information include trade publications, business websites, the and the Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS). These resources can provide information on companies that have secured or are expecting government contracts. Additionally, the Small Business Administration (SBA) maintains a database of subcontracting opportunities.

Getting Started

APEX Accelerators is an official government contracting assistance resource for small business. Find your local APEX Accelerators to get free help completing registration in The Federal Service Desk (FSD) can also assist with technical questions and has an open help line operating Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET.