Registrations and Government Contracting

By Pam Russenberger, Iowa PTAC

Did you know there are different registrations required for government contracting?

If you have been pursuing business in the government sector, this comes as no surprise to you. Registrations serve many purposes for both you and the agency that you are registering with.

Why Register?

It’s required! Many agencies require you to have an active registration to be awarded contracts and/or paid.

It’s marketing!

  • Some agencies looking to find vendors in a specific product or service category use their vendor database to identify candidates to whom to reach out for bids.
  • You’ll gain exposure to potential prime contractors looking to expand their supply base. Some vendor databases are publically searchable on the web.

It’s free! Yes, free! It may cost you a few pieces of paper or a stamp, but many registrations have transitioned over to being 100% online.

It’s easy! Ok, so some may argue this one is a stretch! Some registrations are pretty painless and require minimal input; others are a bit more labor intensive…this is a great time to engage your government contracting specialist for assistance!

Where do you need to register?

There are separate registrations for separate government agencies. Should you register everywhere? Absolutely not! Be sure to register at those agencies that you think have a need for your product or service (perform market research in advance!).

Here is a list of a few ideas on where to register to get you started

  • Federal: SAM (System for Award Management), register at   (Click here for more information on SAM)
  • Federal: Dynamic Small Business Search, register through
  • Your State Government Agencies: Each state has it’s own registration process, and individual state agencies may have further registrations of their own. Work with your local PTAC to identify the state registrations appropriate for your business.

Registration tips…

  • Use an email address that is monitored on a regular basis, perhaps an “info@” or “sales@” address. This avoids having to update due to personnel changes or missing an email if someone is out of the office.
  • Keep a list of where you are registered (including usernames and passwords); update registrations with changes in products / services offered, Points of contact, etc

Now, take a few minutes to assess where you are currently registered, if your registrations need to be updated and where you need to register in the future. Your PTAC government contracting specialist is a great resource to help you throughout this process!

More about Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTACs)

Ninety-eight PTACs – with over 300 local offices – form a nationwide network of procurement professionals dedicated procurement professionals working to help local businesses compete successfully in the government marketplace. Funded under the Defense Logistics Agency’s Procurement Technical Assistance Program through cooperative agreements with state and local governments and non-profit organizations, PTACs are the bridge between buyer and supplier, bringing to bear their knowledge of both government contracting and the capabilities of contractors to maximize fast, reliable service to our government with better quality and at lower costs.


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 Pam Russenberger

Pamela Russenberger  is Program Director of the Iowa PTAC at Iowa State University’s Center for Industrial Research and Service (CIRAS).  Prior to joining the PTAC in 2012, Pam worked for nine years in contracting and finance for Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company.

PTACs provide a wide range of government contracting help – most free of charge!

Assistance topics include (but are not limited to!):

  • Determining Suitability for Contracting
  • Securing Necessary Registrations (including SAM registration)
  • SDB, 8(a), HUBzone and other certifications
  • Marketing
  • Researching Procurement Histories
  • Networking
  • Identifying Bid Opportunities
  • Proposal Preparation
  • Contract Performance Issues
  • Preparing for Audit


Click here to Find Your PTAC Today!