Auburn Area Chamber of Commerce
 Small Business Development Center at Green River Community College


Tools for Business Success

Tools Home  

Sell to the Government

7 steps to doing business with the government

  1. Look locally. Contact your city and county public works departments to find out how they publish bid opportunities.
  2. For state and national bid opportunities, get your business certified.
    • Self-certifications: The federal government recognizes small businesses (SBE), women-owned (WBE), and disadvantaged (i.e. minority) businesses (SDB). The SBA has established two widely used size standards for small business:
      • Fewer than 500 employees for most manufacturing and mining industries, and
      • Less than $7 million in average annual receipts for most nonmanufacturing industries.
    There is no formal certification process, but on request, you need to provide proof that you satisfy the size and for WBE and SDB’s the ownership requirement.

  3. Even if you are not certified, register on SAM. The federal government uses SAM (System for Award Management). You can register at You can do a search on existing registered businesses at
  4. Look for large opportunities and sign up for email notifications. Federal opportunities for $25,000 and more can be found at
  5. Information on selling to the state of Washington can be found here.

  6. Look for sub-contracting opportunities. The government bid process can take six months. It is often faster to find sub-contracting opportunities with companies that have already received a government contract. You can find federal sub-contracting opportunities at

    Washington bid opportunities and awarded bids can be found on this website.
  7. Network and market your business to find opportunities under $25,000. All purchases under $100,000 are supposed to go to small business. Federal agencies use credit cards for purchases of $2,500 or less. For purchases between $2,500 and $25,000, they must obtain quotes from at least three vendors.
  8. Get help through PTAC or SBDC. PTACs (Procurement Technical Assistance Centers) provide free assistance in marketing products and services to government agencies. Visit
    You can also contact your local SBDC ( Small Business Development Center) for free assistance with government contracting. Visit
In the buttons above, you will find additional resources, including: