Steps to doing business with the government
For state and national bid opportunities, get your business certified.
- Look locally. Contact your city and county public works departments to find out how they publish bid opportunities.
- 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.
- HUBZone businesses. If your business is located in a low-median income or high unemployment area, you may be eligible for preferential bidding on federal projects.
There are no HUB zones in Clackamas County.
For more information about HUBZone benefits and to find out if your business location is
in a HUBZone, visit HUB zone information and map.
SBA 8(a) program for minority businesses. The SBA 8(a) program provides direct help in obtaining federal contracts. Participants must have been in business at least 2 years and have non-businesss and non-home assets less than $250,000. For more information, visit SBA Business Development. To apply for the 8(a) program, visit SBA 8a application.
US Department of Transportation recognizes veteran-owned small businesses. For more information, visit US DOT.
Even if you are not certified, register on SAM. The federal government uses SAM (System for Award Management). You can register at SAM's website. Research registered businesses at SAM Search.
Look for large opportunities and sign up for email notifications. Federal opportunities for $25,000 and more can be found at Federal Business Opportunities.
Contract with State of Oregon at State Procurement Office.
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. SBA sub-contracting opportunities.
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.
Get help through PTAC or SBDC. PTACs (Procurement Technical Assistance Centers) provide free assistance in marketing products and services to government agencies.
For free assistance with government contracting visit Oregon Business.
The OAME (Oregon Association of Minority Entrepreneurs) operates a clearinghouse of bid opportunities for minority, women, and emerging small businesses. Visit OAME
for more information.
In the right panel, you will find additional resources, including: