Registration is Free-of-Charge Is the Place to Register for Award Seekers – At No Charge

Source: GSA Interact. Integrated Award Environment (IAE) Industry Community, submitted by kengoldman on Thursday, October 15, 2015

Registering on is free-of-charge for entities seeking federal awards or financial assistance from the United States government.

Seeking a contract or financial assistance from the federal government long has had a reputation of being burdensome. The System for Award Management (SAM), part of the growing Integrated Award Environment (IAE), is beginning to reduce the burden for entities wanting to register with the federal government for award opportunities or other financial assistance.

Some third-party online firms (not affiliated with the United States government) offer to register entities in SAM for a fee. However, registering your business directly in SAM is easy and there is no charge. Third-party firms are not necessary or required to complete the process. 

Doing business with the federal government requires a DUNS number and other specialized paperwork requirements.  Critics see the DUNS number and paperwork requirements as daunting to start up firms and smaller organizations. Free DUNS Number resources include:

Additionally, there is free technical support available from the Federal Service Desk (FSD) to help answer questions at any stage of the SAM registration process. 

While utilizing third-party firms at a charge to help you register within SAM is an option that may work for some, registration remains free to all users, and help is a click or phone call away throughout the entire process. 

Some Facts about SAM Registrations

SAM registrations continue to gain momentum as the federal government seeks innovative technologies and services across multiple business sectors to better serve the nation.

There are approximately 6,700 new entity registrations activated each month in SAM. It consistently takes less than three days to complete the entire registration process and for the registration to become active.

Approximately 43,000 entity registration renewals occur each month.  We have the renewal process refined, so it takes only three days to for an entity to complete the entire registration process.

SAM Registrations Under the Hood

To reach and further exceed our current registration momentum means that we as IAE had to change our operational culture and how we deploy software. We are doing this by building up our User Experience (UX) team, and moving to agile development and DevOps practices. Our goal with these moves is for IAE to operate just like other large scale business and consumer websites that users visit on a regular basis.

UX: Continuously Refining the Sign Up Process

UX encompasses all aspects of the end user’s interaction with IAE, and plays a growing role in the design of IAE systems. While Federal government websites have long had a bad rap for being confusing and hard to use, IAE has a team of UX specialists that continuously improve the sign up process. The team also proactively seeks comments and feedback from across the award management community. We then take the knowledge we gain from the community to our developers, so future iterations and bug fixes resolve the problems that our users face when signing up their organizations in

User Centered Design: Opening IAE Planning Up to the Award Community

IAE follows user centered design principles where our UX team conducts focus groups where our team collects and analyzes feedback from recipients and contracting officials to improve the UX of a particular IAE feature.

Calls for focus group participants can be found on the IAE Community Page. Please contact with any questions about focus groups.

Agile: Software Development Responsive to Award Community Needs

While other large United States government website projects have to slog through bureaucratic and onerous requirements, IAE became an agile development environment in November 2014 which means we broke away from the traditional long-term federal software development lifecycle and enable our developers to work in two-week sprints where they deliver a new feature or enhance an existing feature. Their work is rolled up into quarterly software releases that address major requirements and needs from the award management community.

We look forward to delivering new features and interfaces with the momentum that agile gives our development teams.

DevOps: IAE Infrastructure & Operations at the Speed of the Web

DevOps (Development/Operations) is another technology best practice we began adopting in June 2015. It refocuses our culture and places a team of technology and operations specialists between our developers and operations teams that can be responsive to any website issues as they occur. There are no burdensome processes with multiple manager approvals; our DevOps team is empowered to manage all phases of software deployments, bug fixes, and to resolve outages and other issues if and when they occur.

SAM is your Direct Path to Government Business

SAM offers you a direct path between your organization and the United States government. Registering directly in SAM saves you time and money. Our FSD team fields questions about SAM every day and is here to help you.

Remember no federal agency employee or contractor will ever ask you to pay a fee to register your organization on SAM or to get technical support from the FSD for a issue.

The IAE team is always open to customer feedback about the registration process. Contact with comments and feedback about how we might improve the registration process or if you would like to participate in a focus group in the future.

Do you have a recent registration experience you would like to share in the comments?

Has your business registered in  Contact your nearest PTAC for assistance with registration.

 For help with Government Contracting: contact your nearest Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC). Funded through Cooperative Agreements between the U.S. Department of Defense and state and local governments/institutions, PTACs provide free and low-cost assistance in virtually all areas of government contracting.