What Is FedBizOpps (FBO)?
FedBizOpps (also known as FBO) was a website that housed all opportunities for government-awarded contracts with a value of $25,000 and over. Contractors could use this database to search through opportunities and sell their goods or services to the government. Effectively, it helped contractors win business with the federal government so they could grow sales within the public sector.
How does FedBizOpps work?
The purpose of FBO was to provide a central database of all federal contract opportunities (over $25,000), which could then be used by contractors and members of the public alike.
Contractors who want to win government contracts could search through the database to find opportunities suited to their industry and offerings. Alongside that, businesses used FBO to carry out market research, looking further into what competitors offer, at what price, and which vendors the government currently awards (or has awarded) contracts to.
However, FBO only included contract opportunities from the federal government, so you wouldn't find any state or local contracts on the database.
How do I find FedBizOpps?
You used to be able to find FBO on FBO.gov. Here, you could create an account (free of charge) and find relevant federal opportunities. However, you could still perform basic searches without signing up for the database. Recently, FBO has been replaced by SAM.gov and is now known as Contract Opportunities.
FedBizOpps has been replaced by SAM.gov
Back in 2019, it was announced that SAM.gov would replace FBO. Ultimately, SAM.gov operates in the same way as FBO — with a few added functionalities to improve searches and the ability to find opportunities. Rather than creating an entirely new database, FBO's archives were moved to SAM.gov.
FBO isn't the only federal database to make the move, either. The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) and Wage Determinations Online (WDOL) have already migrated to SAM.gov, with 10 other GSA-owned sites set to follow suit. The idea is to create one centralized platform that works as a powerful search tool with everything in one place. This includes archives, government spending history, current contracts, open contracts, assistance programs, and more. Ultimately, this will make it easier for contractors to search, find, and win opportunities rather than having to register for and use multiple federal platforms.
What is SAM.gov?
The System for Award Management (SAM.gov) serves as another federal database. The portal brings together multiple sources of federal data, consolidating it into one system. Alongside finding federal contracts (previously found on FBO.gov), businesses can use SAM.gov to:
- Check the statuses of their entity registrations
- Search for entity registrations
- Search for entity exclusions (parties excluded from being awarded federal contracts)
- Search for assistance listings (previously CFDA.gov)
- Search for wage determinations (previously WDOL.gov)
- Browse contract data reports (previously part of FPDS.gov)
- View and submit BioPreferred and Service Contract Reports
- View publicly-available award data
How do I register for SAM.gov?
Like FBO, SAM.gov is free to use by either contractors or interested members of the public. While it's openly available, SAM.gov is best suited to organizations seeking to win government contracts or access federal grants. If that's the case, you'll need to register your business so you can get a SAM number in order to bid for contracts. For those working as subcontractors only, you won't need to register your business. Instead, you can simply request a unique identification ID from SAM.
To register for SAM.gov, you'll need the following information:
- Company name and address
- Taxpayer identification number (TIN) (or employer identification number (EIN))
- DUNS number and/or Department of Defense Activity Address Directory (DoDAAD)
- Contractor and Government Entity (CAGE) code
- NATO Commercial and Government Entity (NCAGE) code—only applicable if your entity is located outside of the US
- General and financial information
- Any proceedings you're currently involved in
- Data about the types of goods and services you provide
- Disaster relief data
- Entity size
Once you have these details in hand, you can begin the registration process. First, you'll need to create an account by visiting SAM.gov and selecting "Get Started." You can then visit the "Register Entity" section to provide all the necessary information about your business.
You'll also need to complete several forms to complete your registration, including:
- Representations and certifications questionnaire (for federal assistance applications only)
- Points of contact (including accounts receivable, electronic business, and government business)
- The SBA supplemental form (for small businesses only)
- The architect-engineer responses questionnaire
- The federal acquisition regulation (FAR) responses questionnaire
- The entering assertions form
- The electronic data interchange (EDI) form
- The defense FAR supplement (DFARS) questionnaire (if applicable)
It can take up to 10 business days to get your registration approved. Bear in mind you'll also need to renew your application annually and update any business details as they change.
What are federal contract opportunities?
Federal contract opportunities are requests from the government that seek businesses that supply certain products, services, or works. Typically, the government issues requests for proposals (RFPs), which are published contract opportunities. If a business is approved to work with the government, it can submit a proposal to supply the necessary services. The government will then review any bids they receive and choose the appropriate contractor. This extends to contracts from various different departments, including the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Justice.
How do I find federal government contracts?
You can easily find federal government contract opportunities by searching the SAM.gov database. Using the Contract Opportunities function, you can search available awards by specific keywords to locate relevant opportunities for your business and industry. Each result shows all important information about a specific contract, including the current status, response dates, set-asides or other classifications, and any attachments or links.
As well as SAM.gov, you can access several other federal contracting tools, including GovWin IQ. This platform tracks relevant opportunities for your business for up to five years before an RFP or bid opportunity is published. It helps to identify government spending areas in advance, so you can pre-determine which contracts will be available in the future and, importantly, prepare your business to bid.
What kinds of government contracts are available?
The federal government publishes an array of contracts suited to various different industries. Generally, contracts fall into one of four categories.
Supply of goods
Just like any office needs furniture and stationery, so too does the federal government. But that's not all — the federal government looks to purchase a variety of goods, from furnishings and supplies to machinery and medicine. Usually, these need to be dispatched in large quantities, so the government will buy goods in bulk. As such, they'll enter into contracts with organizations that can deliver huge amounts of stock for a fair price and quickly. Although the government does purchase large amounts of varied stock, federal agencies are very specific about what they need and when. So, you'll only be able to win a federal contract if you have what they need.
Supply of services
Rather than a physical item, the federal government may enter into contracts for the supply of services. This could include, for example, public and private services such as cleaning, healthcare, human resources, or consultancy. While product contracts typically include a set number of units, services contracts may include the hours or time required. Before winning a service contract, the government will likely want to test the value and competency of your services first, which may include a trial.
Supply of research and technical assistance
Research and technical assistance contracts are very similar to the supply of services. Usually, it involves specific IT services such as IT communications, consultancy, and cybersecurity management. In terms of research assistance, this may involve supporting the government with certain initiatives, including policy review, data management, file management, or literature research.
Small business set-asides
The government publishes various contracts for small businesses to bid, giving them a greater chance at winning contracts alongside larger, more established companies. The aim is usually to help smaller, growing businesses by awarding them with high-value contracts within the federal government. Typically, the government arranges these contracts with competitive set-aside (at least two businesses are suitable for the contract and should bid against each other) or sole source set-aside (one business is awarded the contract without competition) terms.