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One of the most important things you need to do early in the process is to let the government know that you are ready and able to provide the products or services it needs. To do this, you must register your company with the Central Contractor Registration (CCR) at http://www.ccr.gov, the primary database of government vendors and suppliers. The CCR collects, validates, stores and disseminates data in support of federal projects and missions.
Both current and prospective government suppliers are required to complete a one-time registration to provide basic information relevant to procurement and financial transactions. In order to receive a federal contract, or grant for that matter, a company must be registered in CCR prior to the award. However, note that registration does not guarantee business with the government.
You are responsible for ensuring the accuracy of your registration and for updating all of your registration information as it changes. You must renew your registration once a year to maintain an active status. If you do not, your registration will expire and your ability to conduct business (i.e., receive contract awards and payments) with the government will be affected.
In order to register, you must use a personal computer and have access to the Internet. If you don't have access, you may use a personal computer at a Procurement Technical Assistance Center, Small Business Administration office, Federal Procurement Office, or your local library. It is best if you have your own computer, because the federal government is quickly moving toward a computer-based acquisition format and you will be left behind if you don't have one.
As you prepare for registration, you'll no doubt be overwhelmed by the endless litany of codes used by government contractors. When so many goods and services change hands every year, some type of "shorthand" language is needed to keep track of it all. A complete understanding of these codes is absolutely necessary if you hope to successfully compete for the government's business, and we'll cover what you need to know.
- registering with the CCR
- using Online Representations and Certifications Applications (ORCA)
- deciphering government codes