How to Bid on Military Contracts

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Bidding on military contracts requires perseverance.
Bidding on military contracts requires perseverance. (Image: contracts image by Leticia Wilson from Fotolia.com)

When times are tough and the private sector all but shuts down the money supply, your business is bound to feel the economic pressures. Some entrepreneurs respond by aggressively going after military contracts. According to the Department of Defense, more than half of all awarded contracts go to small businesses, which often prove more flexible than larger organizations. In turn, the DOD offers security, pays on time and ensures that the checks always clear. Getting those contracts requires multiple registrations, demonstrating that your business can handle the contract and a dedicated perseverance in presenting a winning bid.

Things You'll Need

  • Federal government vendor registration
  • North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes
  • Registered business
  • Tax identification number
  • Dunn and Bradstreet number
  • Commercial and Government Entity code
  • Marketing Partner Identification Number
  • Trading Partner Identification Number

Register as a Federal Governement Vendor

Obtain a “D&B” number from Dunn and Bradstreet by visiting the D&B website. Follow the online instructions to apply for your number. It usually takes 24 to 48 hours to receive your number by email.

Register as a vendor with the federal government by gaining a listing in the Central Contractor Registry. To submit your application you will need to provide your gross revenue figures for the last three years, your tax identification number, and your Dunn and Bradstreet number, along with your NAICS codes. It usually takes a couple weeks before you receive your approval.

Check your email to confirm your approval after about two weeks. The Central Contractor Registry will send you an email outlining your approval and providing you with three very important codes: your Commercial and Government Entity code, a Marketing Partner Identification Number and a Trading Partner Identification Number. Keep these numbers confidential and in a safe place where you can access them when you need them. All three numbers are central for locating, bidding and receiving payment for military contracts.

Bid for Contracts

Visit a Department of Defense Procurement Technical Assistance Center to learn more about how to market products and services to the military, as well as how to bid on contracts. There are 93 centers located throughout the United States; you will want to visit the one in the closet proximity. The services are usually free or offered at a nominal cost.

Alternatively, you may visit the Department of Defense website and click on the “Doing Business with the DOD” link website to learn move about marketing to and bidding on military contracts.

Submit a registration with the Federal Business Opportunity website (FBO), to find contracting opportunities. Once you register, you can log in, search for opportunities and submit a bid based on the requirements and instructions for individual opportunities.

Read and make sure you understand the Performance Work Statement for each opportunity that interests you. If you have questions, you should contact the contracting officer overseeing the project for clarification before submitting a bid.

Tips & Warnings

  • Getting your first contract can pose a challenge. Most procurement officers want to see some experience in doing business with the military before awarding contracts. You want to establish contacts within the different military organizations to get your product or service noticed. This type of perseverance can go a long way in helping secure that first elusive contract.
  • When you enter into a contract with the Department of Defense, they expect you to complete the terms of the contract. Lives may very well depend on doing just that.

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