Get Registered with Government Contracting Agencies

Filed under Government Contracting. Fact checked on May 24, 2012.

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Register your company with various agencies and programs within the federal government. There are a number of types of registration, including Central Contractor registration and Online Representations and Certifications Application. Be prepared to provide highly detailed information about your business and its finances, and to use a government classification system to establish the type of business you will be conducting with the government.

One of the most important things you need to do early in the process is to let the government know that you are ready and able to provide the products or services it needs. To do this, you must register your company with the Central Contractor Registration (CCR), the primary database of government vendors and suppliers. The CCR collects, validates, stores and disseminates data in support of federal projects and missions.

Both current and prospective government suppliers are required to complete a one-time registration to provide basic information relevant to procurement and financial transactions. In order to receive a federal contract, or grant for that matter, a company must be registered in CCR prior to the award. However, note that registration does not guarantee business with the government.

You are responsible for ensuring the accuracy of your registration and for updating all of your registration information as it changes. You must renew your registration once a year to maintain an active status. If you do not, your registration will expire and your ability to conduct business (i.e., receive contract awards and payments) with the government will be affected.

Tip

CCR now provides one-stop registration in the federal acquisition process and allows businesses to take responsibility for the accuracy of their own business information by inputting it themselves directly into the central government database for contractor information.

Small businesses also can provide additional business data into a sub-database that captures this important information. This also provides a more dynamic search capability when people are looking for potential business support from the small business community.

One-stop registration in CCR will avoid administrative duplication and will allow contractors to take responsibility for the accuracy of their own business information by supplying it directly to the government through this single site.

However, this wasn't done overnight. While the mandate to streamline the procurement process was given in 1994, it took until October 2002 to get the job done.

How to Complete the One-Time Registration Process

In order to register, you must use a personal computer and have access to the Internet. If you don't have access, you may use a personal computer at a Procurement Technical Assistance Center, Small Business Administration office, Federal Procurement Office, or your local library. It is best if you have your own computer, because the federal government is quickly moving toward a computer-based acquisition format and you will be left behind if you don't get one soon.

As you prepare for registration, you'll no doubt be overwhelmed by the endless litany of codes used by government contractors. When so many goods and services change hands every year, some type of "shorthand" language is needed to keep track of it all. A complete understanding of these codes is absolutely necessary if you hope to successfully compete for the government's business, and we'll cover what you need to know.

To register, access the CCR database and enter the required information about your company. CCR contains both mandatory and optional fields, and although your application will be considered complete if you fill out just the mandatory fields, we strongly recommend that you fill out all fields. Since government buying offices use the CCR database to help them identify companies that might be able to provide the goods and services they need, it is to your advantage to provide a complete picture of your company's capabilities and qualifications.

We also recommend that you gather all the required information and have it at hand before you go into the database.

Register Business in Central Contractor Registration Databank

Because proper CCR registration is so important, we are going to review some of the information that you will need to register, below. We also give you tips to help make sure that you enter the information correctly.

Tools to Use

Among the Business Tools is a Central Contractor Registration form. It is in Adobe Portable Document Format (.pdf), and you will need the free Acrobat Reader to view and print the file.

If you have questions regarding CCR registration, call the Registration Assistance Center at 1-888-227-2423 (1-616-961-4725 internationally).

Information You Will Need To Register in CCR

Please note that we are not going to review every piece of information included on CCR. Instead, we are going to discuss what we consider the essential information for small businesses.

We have organized the information that you will need into the following categories:

  • Identification numbers
    • Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) Number
    • DUNS +4 Number
    • CAGE Code
    • U.S. Federal TIN
    • A-T Number
  • General information about your company
  • Classification codes for your products and/or services
    • NAICS codes
    • SIC codes
    • FSC codes
  • Information about electronic funds transfer
  • registration acknowledgment and point of contact information

Remember to have the correct information for your company handy when you fill out the electronic form.

We want to remind you that when you enter the information on the CCR website, you must fill in all the fields designated as mandatory or your application will be considered incomplete and your registration will not be accepted. And, again, we encourage you to fill in the optional fields as well.

Identification Numbers

Identification numbers include the Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) Number, the DUNS +4 Number, the CAGE Code, and TIN and A-T numbers.

Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) Number. The Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number is a unique nine-character identification number provided by The Dun & Bradstreet Corporation (D&B). If you do not have a DUNS number, call Dun and Bradstreet at 1-866-705-5711 or 610-882-7000 to request one. Be prepared to provide an address, telephone number, business start date, and type of business. The process takes about 10 minutes and is free of charge. The number will be issued within three working days. If you already have a DUNS number, the D&B representative will advise you over the phone.

You can also submit your business's request for a DUNS number through D&B's website.

If you do know your DUNS number, the CCR can perform DUNS validation online. After you enter your DUNS number and company information into the system, the CCR will run a background validation against the D&B Global database. You then select the Dun & Bradstreet data to pre-populate the CCR file.

Work Smart

When entering your DUNS number on the CCR website, enter only the numbers, do not enter the dashes.

DUNS +4. The CCR process allows businesses to assign an additional 4 characters to their DUNS number to uniquely identify an affiliate or division at the same physical location. For example, a business might want to have two records for itself at the same physical location to identify two separate bank accounts. Either a DUNS or a DUNS +4 number can be used to successfully complete the registration process.

Vendors wishing to register their subsidiaries and other entities should make sure that each additional location obtains a separate DUNS number from Dun & Bradstreet at 1-866-705-5711. If you have questions regarding the use of DUNS +4, contact the CCR Assistance Center at 1-888-227-2423.

CAGE Code. The Commercial and Government Entity (CAGE) code is a five-character ID number used extensively within the Department of Defense to identify specific companies.

If you don't have a CAGE code and your company has a U.S. address, you may submit the CCR registration form without it and one will automatically be assigned and filled in for you as part of the CCR registration process.

However, if you are a foreign vendor (i.e., your company does not have a U.S. address), you must include an NCAGE code on the registration or it will be considered incomplete.

U.S. Federal TIN. The U.S. Federal TIN (Tax Identification Number) is the nine-digit number that companies use for income tax purposes. If you do not know your TIN, contact the Internal Revenue Service at 1-800-829-1040. If you operate as an individual sole proprietorship, you must enter your Social Security number in the provided space, if you don't have a TIN.

If your business is located in the United States and you do not fill in this field, your application will be considered incomplete and your registration will not be accepted. If you are located outside the United States, you are not required to provide a TIN.

Work Smart

When entering your TIN or SSN on the CCR website, enter only the numbers, do not enter the dashes. (Example: 123456789, not 123-45-6789)

A-T Number. This is a new data element being added to the CCR database. Austin Tetra is providing the A-T Number on a quarterly basis. The A-T Number is being added to support an ongoing requirement to identify purchase card merchants socioeconomic reporting information. It is a tracking method to monitor sales through credit and debit card purchases.

A-T Numbers are the key to linking corporate family relationships within the A-T database. Since each location of a business has its own unique A-T Number, a large organization has many different A-T Numbers within its corporate "family." The A-T Number is non-indicative so it remains with a business throughout its lifecycle and is never reused.

The A-T Number will only be displayed in CCR Tools. The A-T Number will be used by the Acquisition Information Reporting (AIR) systems within the Integrated Acquisition Environment (IAE). Additional information about Austin Tetra can be found at: www.austintetra.com. The support telephone number is 972-756-8100. You must ask for Customer Support.

General Information You Need to Provide to Register in CCR Databank

One very important part of the registration process is to provide some general information about your company. Don't let the phrase "general information" fool you into thinking its a simple process. While you will have much of the information readily available, and there are tools to assist you in finding information that you don't have, prepare to spend time reviewing the entire process first so that you won't be surprised when you are actually registering. Here's a preview of what you'll need:

  • Legal business name and doing business as: Your legal business name is the name under which you are incorporated and pay taxes. If you commonly use another name for normal operations, such as a franchise or licensee name, then include that in the space below the "Legal Business Name" field.
Tip

Your legal business name and street address, as entered on the CCR registration, must match the legal business name under which you are registered with Dun & Bradstreet. If the information does not match, your registration may be rejected during processing.

  • Street address: You must provide a valid street address where your business is located. A Post Office Box or c/o may not be used in this space. If you use a P.O. Box for correspondence, you may include it in the space allocated under the tab "Address Info."
  • Street address 2: If necessary, use this space to continue your physical street address.
  • City, state, zip: Your nine-digit zip code is mandatory.
Work Smart

When entering the nine-digit zip code on the CCR website, enter the numbers only, do not include the dash. (Example: 123456789, not 12345-6789)

  • Country: Choose the appropriate country code abbreviation from the list provided.
  • Date business started: Enter the date your business was started in its present form. This may be used to distinguish your business from others with similar names. Use the format mm/dd/yyyy. (Example: 01/01/2014.)
  • Fiscal year-end close date: This field calls for the month and day on which you close your fiscal year. For example, if you operate on the calendar year, enter 12/31. In any case, use the format mm/dd.
  • Average # of employees and average annual revenue: You must provide accurate information about the number of employees and three-year average annual receipts for your business since these values are used to determine your business size classification. Average annual revenue cannot be zero.
Work Smart

When entering revenue information on the CCR website, enter numbers only, do not enter dollar signs or commas.

  • Company security level: Choose the correct level of security for the facility, if your facility has a clearance.
  • Highest employee security level: Choose the highest level of security for an employee located at that facility, if any of your employees carry a security clearance.
  • Corporate web page URL: If you have a company website, provide your company's homepage. Both upper and lower cases are acceptable. This is good marketing.

Information About Business Form and Type is Required for Registering

  • Corporate information: Here is where you indicate what type of business relationship you are establishing with the U.S. federal government. If you plan to respond to government contracts, check "Contracts." Check "Grants," if you are looking for this option. The last choice, "Both Contracts and Grants," would be for those who plan to respond to both.
  • Type of organization (check one): You must choose one of the following boxes to indicate the corporate status of your business. If you are a Limited Liability Partners Company or S-Corporation, choose "Corporation." It is important to understand that you should select business types that reflect the current status of your business. The business types are not an indication of the business opportunities you hope to pursue.
    • Sole proprietorship: If you choose Sole Proprietorship as your status, you must provide the name and phone number of the owner of the business on the "Corporate Info" page.
    • Corporation (not tax exempt): If you choose Corporation as your status, you must enter the state of incorporation if your business is incorporated in the United States. If you are incorporated outside of the United States, you must enter the country of incorporation and check "Foreign Supplier" under business types (see below).
    • Corporation (tax exempt): If you choose Corporation as your status, you must enter the state of incorporation if your business is incorporated in the United States. If you are incorporated outside of the United States, you must enter the country of incorporation and check "Foreign Supplier" under business types (see below).
    • Partnership
    • U.S. Government Entity Select one of the following:
      • Federal
      • State
      • Local
    • Foreign Government
    • International Organization
    • Other
  • Business Types (check one or more): Check all the descriptions that apply to your business. You must choose at least one for your application to be complete. If you are unsure as to whether you qualify under a category, contact your local Small Business Administration (SBA) office for the appropriate guidelines or visit the SBA website.
    • Local Government
    • Minority Institution
    • Foreign Supplier
    • Small Business
    • Minority-Owned Business
    • Small Disadvantaged Business
    • State Government
    • Federal Government
    • Tribal Government
    • Service Location
    • Research Institution
    • Women-Owned Business
    • Labor Surplus Area Firm
    • Veteran Owned Business
    • 8(a) Program Participant (If you check 8(a) Program Participant, you will be required to provide the name and address of the certifying party in the same section.)
    • Sheltered Workshop (JWOD Provider)
    • Nonprofit Organization
    • Construction Firm
    • Emerging Small Business
    • Large Business
    • Municipality
    • Historically Black College or University
    • Limited Liability Company
    • Educational Institution
    • Manufacturer of Goods
    • American Indian Owned
    • Service-Related Disabled Veteran Owned
    • S Corporation
    • Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUB Zone) Firm
  • If you answer Minority Owned Business, then you must choose one of the following:
    • Native American Owned
    • Black American Owned
    • Hispanic American Owned
    • Asian-Pacific American Owned
    • Subcontinent Asian (Asian-Indian) American Owned
    • No Representation/None of the Above
  • If you check 8(a) Program Participant, you will be required to complete name and address of certifying party.
    • SBA Certified Small Disadvantaged Business
    • SBA Certified 8(a) Program Participant
    • SBA Certified HUBZone Business
    • DoT Certified Disadvantaged Business Enterprise

      Classification Codes for Products, Services and Registering for Electronic Funds Transfers

      The Department of Commerce identifies the economic base of the country (i.e., products and services) by types of industry, such as manufacturing, construction, agricultural, service group, etc., through a coding system. This system enables the government to obtain the data it needs to analyze economic trends and similar information.

      North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) Codes

      North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) Codes: NAICS codes (pronounced "nakes") are used for classifying business establishments and industries doing business with the government. You must supply at least one for your registration to be complete.

      If you do not know your NAICS codes, you may search on the Internet at http://www.census.gov for links to the NAICS search site. You must use six-digit NAICS Codes in your registration.

      Although you have to enter only one valid code for your registration to be complete, be sure to list all codes that apply to your products and services. This could help government buying offices identify your company as one that provides needed goods or services.

      When entering your codes, don't get carried away by putting in a lot of different ones. Be realistic and use those NAICS that are best for you.

      Tip

      Effective October 1, 2002, the Small Business Administration is using the NAICS 2002 version of the codes for their size standards. They apply to all SBA programs and to all other federal government programs and actions where eligibility as a small business is a factor or a consideration.

      Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) Codes

      Formerly, the government had used these codes for classification of businesses and industries, but is still a mandatory field for registering in CCR. You must supply at least one valid SIC code for your registration to be complete. If you do not know your SIC codes, you may search on the Internet at http://www.osha.gov/oshstats/sicser.html. Some agency or buyer may still be using the system, and you should be aware of what your numbers are and/or how to find them. SIC codes can be four or eight digits.

      You can access the SIC manual on the Internet through the Small Business Administration's home page or in hard copy through your public library. If you are using a print copy of the manual, you can find your SIC Code by looking for your industry and then going down the list to see where you fit.

      Tip

      When you set up your company, particularly if you incorporated, chances are that it was classified with a SIC code because that's one of the things that's asked for in the incorporation papers.

      Electronic Funds Transfer Registration Is Necessary

      Under recent law, the government is legally mandated to use Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) for all contract payments. Therefore, all registrants must complete this section.

      However, there are exceptions: foreign vendors doing business outside the United States, utility companies, and government agencies do not have to supply this information.)

      If you need help with the required information, your bank or financial institution should be able to help you. If you are unsure as to whether your registration requires EFT information, call the Registration Assistance Center at (888) 227-2423 or (269) 961-4725 internationally.

      Work Smart

      Effective Fall 2003, payments by all federal agencies to government contractors will be made on the basis of electronic funds transfer (EFT) information contained in CCR. This means that all firms doing business with the federal government will have to be registered in CCR in order to be paid. If you let your registration lapse (i.e., fail to renew it) or if you cancel your registration, all payments, if ones are being made, will cease. A company must remain active in CCR until all payments are made to avoid discontinuation.

      Financial institution: Provide the name of the bank that you use for business banking purposes.

      ABA Routing Number: The ABA Routing Number is the American Banking Association's 9-digit routing transit number for your financial institution. You can obtain the routing number by contacting your financial institution or you may find it on one of your checks. It usually appears as the first nine digits in the lower left-hand corner.

      Account number, type, & lock box number: Enter the account number to which you want your EFT payments deposited and check the proper box to indicate whether it is a checking or savings account. If you prefer to use a lock box service, enter the appropriate account number in the space provided. If you use a lock box for your banking purposes, you must also check "checking" under account type.

      Automated Clearing House: Enter the appropriate contact information for your bank's Automated Clearing House (ACH) coordinator. The ACH will serve as the contact if problems occur with your EFT transfer. Note that e-mail addresses requested under the contact entries refer to Internet e-mail addresses, not local area network e-mail addresses within your office.

      Work Smart

      When entering the phone numbers on the CCR website, enter the numbers only, not dashes or parentheses. (Example: 9995551212, not (999) 555-1212)

      Remittance information: Enter the address where you would like a paper check mailed in the event that an EFT transfer does not work. On the name line, enter to whom the check should be mailed and fill in the appropriate information. If you use a lock box and want checks mailed directly to the bank, enter the bank name and address here.

      Credit card information: Does your company accept credit cards for payment? This is a yes or no question.

      Registration Acknowledgment and Point of Contact Information is Part of Registration Process

      After providing your business and financial information, there is one more class of data that you'll need to provide. This is information regarding the person who is completing the registration, and and information regarding who will be the ongoing point of contact, and how contact should be maintained.

      Enter the name of the person that acknowledges that the information provided in the registration is current, accurate, and complete. The person named here will be the only person within the registering company to receive the Trading Partner Identification Number (TPIN). (The TPIN is a password to protect access to your registration and banking information on the CCR.)

      Work Smart

      Never give your TPIN to anyone you don't know. This information should always be protected. CCR personnel will never ask you for your TPIN. To avoid becoming a victim of a fraudulent scheme to compromise your TPIN and damaging your company, keep your TPIN strictly confidential.

      The Registrant and the Alternate Contact (see below) are the only people authorized to share information with CCR Assistance Center personnel. It is important that the person named here have knowledge about the CCR registration.

      Correspondence Check Boxes:

      ______ US Mail
      ______ FAX
      ______ E-mail

      To promote prompt receipt of information, e-mail or faxes are definitely the preferred modes of communication. Recently, CCR has replaced mailings with secure e-mail. The TPIN and Welcome letter information will now be e-mailed to the primary point of contact (POC) listed on the CCR registration. If there is no e-mail address listed, these letters will be mailed via US mail. The 30-day renewal notification and expiration notice are sent via e-mail if an e-mail address has been provided for the primary POC.

      You will also need to provide the following information:

      • Alternate contact: Enter the name and phone number for another person at your company in case questions arise when the primary contact is not available.
      • Accounts Receivable: Provide contact information for the accounts receivable person at your company. This is the contact provided to the Defense Finance and Accounting Service regarding EFT payments on your government contracts. Note that this contact is not authorized to receive and/or release information regarding the CCR registration to any Registration Assistance Center personnel. It may be beneficial to have the accounts receivable contact also act as the alternate contact for the registration.
      • Owner information: If you have checked "Sole Proprietorship" as your business type, you must provide the name and phone number of the owner of the business.
      Warning

      About six years ago, the CCR and SBA's PRO-Net databases were merged so that small businesses only need to register their information at one site. While this is good news, there is a downside to it. Many small businesses do not take the time to complete the additional company information required for the SBA database.

      Once a small business completes the basic CCR registration successfully, they are asked if you want to input additional information into SBA/PRO-Net. If you don't, buyers and others using the "Dynamic Small Business Search" will not find you and that may cost you business!

      • Government Business POC: This POC is that person in the company responsible for marketing and sales with the government. An email address is required. Both upper and lower cases are acceptable for all e-mail addresses. This POC and contact information, if entered, will be publicly displayed on the CCR Search Page. All contact methods are mandatory. The Alternate Government Business POC also is mandatory.
      • Past Performance POC: This POC is that person in the company responsible for administering the company's government past performance reports and response efforts. An email address is required. Both upper and lower cases are acceptable for all e-mail addresses. This POC and contact information is mandatory and, when entered, will be publicly displayed on the CCR Inquiry website. All contact methods are mandatory. This person will be your watchdog over the performance ratings given by the government. It is very important that you monitor these ratings continuously.
      • Electronic Business POC: The EBPOC is the person in the company responsible for authorizing individual company personnel access into government electronic business systems (e.g., Electronic Document Access (EDA), Wide Area Workflow [WAW])). POC and contact information is mandatory. This information will be publicly displayed on the CCR Inquiry website. All contact methods are mandatory.
      • Marketing Partner ID Number (MPIN): This is a self-defined access code that will be shared with authorized partner applications (e.g., Past Performance Information Retrieval System (PPIRS), Federal Technical Data Solutions (FedTeDS) etc.). The MPIN acts as your password in these other systems, and you should guard it as such. The MPIN must be nine characters and contain at least one alpha character, one number and no spaces or special characters.

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