How to Become a Private Military Contractor

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The Department of Defense contracts for hundreds of billions of dollars in goods and services each year with private companies. Contracting officers are required by law to set aside a portion of federal contracts for disadvantaged businesses, including small businesses, women and minority-owned businesses, veteran-owned businesses, disabled veteran-owned businesses and businesses located in designated Historically Underutilized Business Zones, or HUBZones. Each primary contractor, in turn, is required by law to subcontract a portion of its business to disadvantaged businesses.

  • Obtain a DUNS number. You can do this through Dun and Bradstreet, using the website given in the "Resources" section on this page.

  • Determine your NAICS code. NAICS stands for North American Industry Classification System. Each industry has a number assigned to it, which the government uses to simplify and systematize its acquisition process. You can find your NAICS code using the link in the Resources section.

  • Register your business. You will need to register your business with the Central Contractor Registry and ORCA, the Online Representations and Certifications Application.

  • Contact the appropriate officer who handles government contracting in your area or industry. Depending on your product or service, this could be through a contracting specialist at the Pentagon or through a supply NCO at a local military installation. You can find information on finding local purchasing officers and getting assistance in navigating contracting systems from the Department of Defense.

  • Get a merchant services account number. Generally, you must be able to accept credit cards in order to take payment from the federal government.

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