Did you know that any business can sell to the government? Even a lowly home-based business can get set up to bid on government procurement orders or to take orders from government agencies. You really need two things.
The first is a Dun and Bradstreet (DUNS) number. Most people think of a DUNS number as something held by large companies and used as a credit indicating tool. This is true, but there are actually two types of DUNS accounts you can get. The first is a DUNS number only and the second is a DUNS number with credit rating. If you’re just starting out or have not been in business very long, the first is what you will want. You must have your state business license and Federal Tax-ID established before trying to get a DUNS number. Here is the Dun & Bradstreet US Site. It’s free and only takes a few business days to get set up. You will need the DUNS number before getting the CAGE code (next).
The second thing you will need is a CAGE code. CAGE is short for ‘Commercial And Government Entity’ and is a five character ID number used extensively within the Federal Government. CAGE codes are administered by the Central Contractor Registration (CCR) agency. At the CCR website, just choose “Start New Registration”. But before you do, make sure you’ve received your DUNS number because this procedure will pull from the DUNS data. Also be prepared to spend about 15 to 30 minutes on this because it has many screens to fill out. Aside from your DUNS number, have on hand any supplementary company information such as partner addresses and so forth. After this is completed, you will get a verification email that will lead you to your CAGE code.
Your CAGE code can then be posted on your website to attract government buyers. They will know what it means but your ordinary buyer might not. For that reason, you may want to relegate it to your FAQ or to a special page on your website. So, if your line of products is something the government buys (and you would be surprised what they buy), government buyers can be an extra source of revenue for you.