Compiled by Juli Case
Our shop does a lot of marine work, but we do contract sewing, too. We’d like to get into military contract work. Where do we go to find out about government bids?
The U.S. government buys a lot of textile products, so bidding on government and military contracts can be a good way to keep your shop busy. Contract opportunities of $25,000 or more must be posted to FedBizOpps (Federal Business Opportunities), so that’s a good place to start.
There are several other things you need to know before you get started. First, you need to register your business. To register, your company must have a DUNS number (Data Universal Numbering System) from Dunn & Bradstreet. Once you have your DUNS in place, you may register at the Central Contractor Registration (CCR). A few days after you register with the CCR, you complete the process by completing the Online Representation and Certifications Application (ORCA).
Finally, you need to be aware of something called the Berry Amendment. This amendment requires the Department of Defense to purchase goods made from U.S.-made materials. There are exceptions, of course, and it is possible to get a waiver. The Department of Commerce’s Office of Textiles and Apparel (OTEXA) is a good source of information on the Berry Amendment, but chances are, if you’re working with a supplier familiar with military specifications, they’re aware of the Berry Amendment and its requirements and can tell you if their material meets it.