Our government is like a big pot of alphabet soup, and if you are getting ready to bid on government contracts, you probably hear acronyms such as MPIN, SAM, CAGE, FBO and DUNS tossed around. It can be confusing to understand what these all mean and how they affect you as a government contractor, but we can help you break it all down in a few helpful steps.
1. It all begins with SAM
SAM stands for System for Award Management. This is essentially a huge database that includes all of the vendors that work with the federal government, as well as people who are seeking grants and those providing grants. If you are interested in government contracting, you need to complete SAM registration and then you can be listed in this database as a vendor. Before SAM, there were multiple databases where vendors registered, but SAM makes it easy for Federal agencies to find vendors in one centralized location.
2. For SAM, You Need DUNS (and EIN)
Ah, the complexity. We could just explain the facts about an MPIN number, but it makes more sense in context. All contractors must complete SAM registration, which is what Federal Contractor Registry can accomplish for you. However, before you register for SAM, you need to acquire a DUNS (Dun & Bradstreet Number). This is a unique 9-digit number that identifies your business’s physical location. If your business includes multiple physical locations, you will need a DUNS for each location. Applying for a DUNS is free and registration takes just a few minutes. Once you have this number, you can come to us for SAM registration. We also will need your business’s Employer Identification Number, which is known as an EIN, and it should be located on any tax return you have filed and it your bank also will have it on hand, as the EIN is required to open a business bank account.
3. After SAM, You Receive Your MPIN Number
MPIN stands for Marketing Partner ID Number. After you complete SAM registration, you receive this number, and this is the password you will use to log in to various government databases, such as FBO.gov. This website is part of the General Services Administration, and you can find many contractor jobs on this website from agencies such as the Department of Justice, the Department of the Navy, the Department of Transportation and so on.
4. MPIN & CAGE: Are they Similar?
Once you’ve completed SAM registration, you receive both a MPIN number and a CAGE code. While the MPIN is what you use to log in to various government websites, the CAGE code is the code that identifies your business. An official in any government agency can look up your business or you as an individual using this code.
It is important to note that your SAM registration needs to be renewed every year. We can help you with your initial SAM registration, which is a lengthy process, as well as helping with SAM renewals. After a renewal, your CAGE code and your MPIN number will not change. However, if your SAM registration has not been renewed, you will not be able to access government websites nor will you be able to bid on government contracts.
While the MPIN number, CAGE code, SAM registration and so on might seem complicated, we make it easy as possible for you to become a government contractor. The process of filling out SAM registration is complicated and very time-consuming, and many of our clients tell us that until they found our service, they had just about given up on the idea of government contracting. However, there are so many opportunities available, and once you deal with SAM registration, you can get started with the bidding process. Let us help you jump over the SAM hurdle and get started with government contracting.