The federal government spent more than $166 million last year to buy goods and services from Wyoming small businesses and entrepreneurs. The System for Award Management (SAM) matches local businesses with government agencies to fill various needs that may surprise you. Right now there are opportunities to contract with the government in Wyoming to provide optometry services, temporary horse pasture space and tactical clothing.
The process to register for SAM is complex, prompting local businesses to look for assistance. Many options out there offer to handle this for you, but how much do they cost and are they trustworthy? By better understanding your options for assistance, you can make the process more hassle free and potentially save some money.
The Wyoming Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) and the other 97 PTACs across the country exist solely to provide government contracting assistance to you at no cost. In recent years, there has been an explosion of private companies offering to make the procedure easy for you, just send them a hefty fee of course. Some of these offers look exciting, “Get a Five Year Government Contract without Competing”. Some of them are frightening, “You Need to Confirm Your Information Immediately” or “It is Illegal to do Business with the Federal Government without being registered in SAM”. What they all have in common is that they want you to pay them for something that you can do yourself for free.
Lately these emails have become even more aggressive, stretching the truth about what they can do and claiming that you have to take action now through them to be in compliance with the rules and procedures of the federal contracting process. That is simply not true. One commercial website ran an aggressive advertising campaign directed at businesses, soliciting vendors to fill out a “FEMA Contract Registration Form.” Once the form was filled out and submitted on-line, applicants received a bill for $500.
Recently, the Wyoming SBDC Network sent out an email warning of a new phishing attack by cyber crooks attempting to steal SAM login credentials to then divert payments from the government away from the contractors. In response, SAM is changing some procedures to enhance security of its system. Not all private companies are illegitimate, but this phishing attempt underscores the importance of keeping your password a secret from everyone, including third parties.
Again, it is important to remember that the federal government does not charge anyone to get involved with contract work. If you need help wading through the jargon, rules and new security procedures, there are plenty of agencies providing assistance of one kind or another.
To get started with providing your products or services to the government, you can logon to www.sam.gov directly. If you want help navigating the process, contact your Wyoming PTAC representatives by email at email@example.com
About the Author:
Rich Lyles is the Manager for the Procurement Technical Assistance Center in the Wyoming Small Business Development Center Network. Previously, he worked as a Government Contracts Advisor and as the Deputy Director of the Procurement Outreach Program in the Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development for five years. Rich is a 1991 graduate of UNLV with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, and received his MBA from UNLV in 1994. Beginning in college in 1990 Rich first worked in the public with the Bureau of Reclamation and after three years worked in the private sector as the CFO and the General Manager for two small businesses. Some of the highlights of his career include:
When he’s not in the office:
Rich likes to travel and do leatherworking.
About the Wyoming SBDC Network:
The Wyoming Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is a partnership between the University of Wyoming, the Wyoming Business Council and the U.S. Small Business Administration offering an enormous amount of business expertise to help Wyoming residents think about, launch, grow, reinvent or exit their business.