SAM (System for Award Management) Registration – It’s Free!

There is never any cost to register in SAM – and free help is available for those who need it.

The first step in government contracting, SAM is the primary supplier database for the U.S. Federal government, collecting, validating and storing data from suppliers and then making that data available to various government acquisition agencies. Your business MUST be registered in SAM to sell to the federal government.

GOOD NEWS:  There is no cost to register in SAM.  If you need help, your local PTAC can assist you – also at no chargePTAC counselors can answer your questions and provide tips to ensure that important information about your business is entered correctly, including completing your profile in the SBA’s Dynamic Small Business Search (DSBS) database, so that you can be found by agency buyers and prime contractors who want to do business with you.  PTAC counselors can also help you keep your information “up to date” and assist you with the registration renewal process each year. Most importantly, once your registration is complete, your PTAC counselor can help you take the next steps in finding contract opportunities and marketing your business to government buyers. Find your PTAC and get started today!

Screenshot of sam.govGeneral SAM Registration Tips: See some of the PTACs’ favorite SAM registration tips below.

  • Ensure you are on https://www.sam.gov – and no other page! Some companies have tried to imitate the official government page in order to sell you services.  Remember, there is NO COST to registering in SAM.
  • Obtain a FREE DUNS number from Dun and Bradstreet by going to http://fedgov.dnb.com/webform. Your business must have a DUNS number to register in SAM.
  • Gather all of the information you will need for registration, including: banking information, taxpayer identification number, sales per year average for the past 3 years, total number of staff (full & part time) for the past 12 months, and point of contact information including phone numbers, addresses, and emails.  If your business has a lot of turn-over, you might consider having a second or even third person who can make changes.
  • Have your NAICS codes handy. NAICS define businesses based on the activities in which they are primarily engaged and are used as the basis for size standards and other purposes. Your business may have multiple NAICS codes. You can visit the US Census Bureau NAICS website to identify them. You may enter multiple NAICS in SAM but the system will ask you to identify your primary industry code.
  • Also have your Product Service or Federal Supply Class Codes. Including this information in your SAM profile can give a potential Contracting officer a better idea of what your company does. So take time to research these before you begin.
  • When you’re ready to start, scroll down and select “Create User Account” to create an account with Login.gov.  Each individual authorized to make changes to your account must have their own Login.gov account. You’ll need a working phone number (mobile or landline) or an authentication app (installed on your mobile device or computer) to receive the single-use security code. Going forward, every time you log into SAM, you’ll go to the Login.gov sign-in page and enter your email address, password, and single-use security code. You can tell login.gov to remember your browser to store the security code for 30 days.
  • Return to www.SAM.gov and select Entity Registrations > Register New Entity.  Select your type of Entity, and then select “I want to be able to bid on federal contracts or other procurement opportunities.  I also want to be able to apply for grants, loans, and other financial assistance programs.”
  • Complete each page in sequence and then click “Save and Continue” at the bottom of the page BEFORE you continue to the next page. Don’t jump around, and make sure to save EVERY page. Avoid using punctuations such as periods, commas and hyphens. See GSA’s Quick Start Guide for Contract Registration for additional tips.
  • Make sure to select “Submit” after your final review. You will get a “Registration Submitted” confirmation message on the screen. If you do not see this message, you have not submitted your registration. Allow up to 12-15 business days after you submit before your registration is active in SAM. You will receive an email from SAM.gov when your registration is active.
  • NOTARIZED LETTER REQUIREMENT: All new SAM registrants are required to submit a notarized letter formally appointing an “Entity Administrator.” Renewing entities who have not yet submitted such a letter must do so when they renew. Once a notarized letter is on file, a new one is not required upon renewal unless your Entity Administrator changes.

BEWARE: Because SAM.gov is a federal (public) database, once you begin the registration process, you may become the target of online marketing campaigns. Small contractors report being flooded with official sounding emails, texts, phone calls and even faxes that are part of sophisticated marketing campaigns designed to entice them to sign up for services (for hefty fees) that they may not want or need. PTACs regularly hear from business owners who – thinking they are responding to a government official – mistakenly commit to a sales contract they don’t understand and can’t get out of. Worst of all, many of the sales pitches are for substandard services that PTACs provide in a superior fashion at no cost. Please see our blog post Be Skeptical – Ask a PTAC for details on some common tactics so that you will not be fooled.