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Paperwork needed before looking for a Government Contract to bid on.

Many small cleaning contractors seek out government contracts and many federal, state, and local governments are required to select a certain number of small companies to fill such contracts. This appears to be the perfect match and, because many government cleaning contracts are no longer awarded to the lowest bidder, this situation sounds like it could be a golden opportunity for small cleaning companies. First though, you must have all your paperwork in order before looking for a government contract to bid on.

DUNS: Before bidding on any government contract, contractors must get a nine-digit DUNS number from Dun & Bradstreet. There is no charge and Dun & Bradstreet may have already created a DUNS number for you.

SAM: Next, you must register with the System of Award Management, known as SAM. This is required to bid on any federal government janitorial contracts.

NAICS: Contractors must also provide a North American Industry Classification System code (NAICS) when bidding on a government contract. However, they made this easy. The code is 561720 for janitorial services.

FBO: Government entities typically send out a notice when they are taking bids for cleaning services. However, you do not necessarily have to wait for this notice; the FebBizOpps at lists contracting opportunities that pay more than $25,000 annually.

GSA: Finally, the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) is designed to help small service companies get on an approved vendor's list. While you still must compete for the contract, signing up for the GSA program allows government purchasers to review janitorial services and call on those that might fit their specific needs. "It's definitely like wading through an alphabet soup when bidding on government contracts," says Sean Martschinke. "However, government contracts tend to be very stable and fair paying. And, while some are for a fixed period of time, many are automatically renewed if price and service remain satisfactory."

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