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Numbers - The Who, What Where When and How

Question…as a small business person, wouldn’t you like to have as a customer, THE largest consumer of goods and services in the WORLD…I said, the WORLD.

I’m guessing that you said YES, and WHO might that be.

I’m glad that you asked.

If so, That WHO,  is the US Govt, and in 2019 alone, the USG spent over $4.4 Trillion dollars. 


So now, I guess what’s running through your mind is, well WHAT are they buying and just as importantly, HOW are they buying it. We’re going to get into that. We’re also going to explore the WHEN and the WHERE of how the USG spends its money….let me take that back, OUR MONEY.

Let begin with the WHAT. Well to put it succinctly, the USG buys just about everything ranging in products from planes, trains and automobiles….down to pencils, pens and toilet paper…and everything in between. Now the good part is that they don’t try to keep it a secret. They break the goods, as well as the services down NUMBERS and DESCRIPTIONS. The description of the things that they buy are listed on-line and its called the North American Industry Classification System, or NAICS codes.

A random sampling of the codes will layout the SECTOR (or number), and the overarching description for that number. Here are a few:

Sector Description

11 Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting

21 Mining, Quarrying, and Oil and Gas Extraction

22 Utilities

23 Construction

31-33 Manufacturing

42 Wholesale Trade

44-45 Retail Trade

48-49 Transportation and Warehousing

51 Information

52 Finance and Insurance

53 Real Estate and Rental and Leasing

54 Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services

55 Management of Companies and Enterprises

56 Administrative and Support and Waste Management and Remediation Services

61 Educational Services

62 Health Care and Social Assistance

71 Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation

72 Accommodation and Food Services

81 Other Services (except Public Administration)

92 Public Administration

Lets dig a little deeper, For example, a popular NAICS code that every agency uses is number 54 – Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services. Although the high level code is only 2 numbers, when we begin to dig, we find that the USG further breaks it all down by adding numbers on to the 54, and giving each number its own specific description. For instance:

Search results for: 54

Number of records found: 95 54 Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services

541 Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services

5411 Legal Services

54111 Offices of Lawyers

541110 Offices of Lawyers

54112 Offices of Notaries

541120 Offices of Notaries

54119 Other Legal Services

541191 Title Abstract and Settlement Offices

541199 All Other Legal Services

5412 Accounting, Tax Preparation, Bookkeeping, and Payroll Services

54121 Accounting, Tax Preparation, Bookkeeping, and Payroll Services

541211 Offices of Certified Public Accountants

541213 Tax Preparation Service

541214 Payroll Services

541219 Other Accounting Services

5413 Architectural, Engineering, and Related Services

54131 Architectural Services

541310 Architectural Services

54132 Landscape Architectural Services

541320 Landscape Architectural Services

54133 Engineering Services

541330 Engineering Services

54134 Drafting Services

541340 Drafting Services

54135 Building Inspection Services

541350 Building Inspection Services

54136 Geophysical Surveying and Mapping Services

541360 Geophysical Surveying and Mapping Services

54137 Surveying and Mapping (except Geophysical) Services

541370 Surveying and Mapping (except Geophysical) Services

54138 Testing Laboratories

541380 Testing Laboratories

5414 Specialized Design Services

54141 Interior Design Services

541410 Interior Design Services

54142 Industrial Design Services

541420 Industrial Design Services

54143 Graphic Design Services

541430 Graphic Design Services

54149 Other Specialized Design Services

541490 Other Specialized Design Services

5415 Computer Systems Design and Related Services

54151 Computer Systems Design and Related Services

541511 Custom Computer Programming Services

541512 Computer Systems Design Services

541513 Computer Facilities Management Services

541519 Other Computer Related Services

5416 Management, Scientific, and Technical Consulting Services

54161 Management Consulting Services

541611 Administrative Management and General Management Consulting Services

541612 Human Resources Consulting Services

541613 Marketing Consulting Services

541614 Process, Physical Distribution, and Logistics Consulting Services

541618 Other Management Consulting Services

54162 Environmental Consulting Services

541620 Environmental Consulting Services

54169 Other Scientific and Technical Consulting Services

541690 Other Scientific and Technical Consulting Service

5417 Scientific Research and Development Services

54171 Research and Development in the Physical, Engineering, and Life Sciences

541713 Research and Development in Nanotechnology

541714 Research and Development in Biotechnology (except Nanobiotechnology)

541715 Research and Development in the Physical, Engineering, and Life Sciences (except Nanotechnology and Biotechnology)

54172 Research and Development in the Social Sciences and Humanities

541720 Research and Development in the Social Sciences and Humanities

5418 Advertising, Public Relations, and Related Services

54181 Advertising Agencies

541810 Advertising Agencies

54182 Public Relations Agencies

541820 Public Relations Agencies

54183 Media Buying Agencies

541830 Media Buying Agencies

54184 Media Representatives

541840 Media Representatives

54185 Outdoor Advertising

541850 Outdoor Advertising

54186 Direct Mail Advertising

541860 Direct Mail Advertising

54187 Advertising Material Distribution Services

541870 Advertising Material Distribution Services

54189 Other Services Related to Advertising

541890 Other Services Related to Advertising

5419 Other Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services

54191 Marketing Research and Public Opinion Polling

541910 Marketing Research and Public Opinion Polling

54192 Photographic Services

541921 Photography Studios, Portrait

541922 Commercial Photography

54193 Translation and Interpretation Services

541930 Translation and Interpretation Services

54194 Veterinary Services

541940 Veterinary Services

54199 All Other Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services

541990 All Other Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services

So now, hopefully, you’re better understanding the WHO and the WHAT of OBTAINING USG Contracts, Lets now turn our attention to the WHERE and the WHEN.

For any requirement that a Contracting Office transmits, its got to go through what is called a Governmentwide Point of Entry, or GPE. They achieve that objective through a variety of different modalities.

(1) For proposed contract actions expected to exceed $25,000, by synopsizing the proposed contract action utilizing the Federal Business Opportunities, or FedBizOpps, as the GPE.

(2) For proposed contract actions expected to exceed $15,000, but not expected to exceed $25,000, by displaying in a public place, or by any appropriate electronic means. The notice must include a statement that all responsible sources may submit a response which, if timely received, must be considered by the agency.

Contracting officers may use electronic posting of requirements in a place accessible by the general public at the Government installation to satisfy the public display requirement. Contracting offices using electronic systems for public posting that are not accessible outside the installation must periodically publicize the methods for accessing the information.

(b) In addition, one or more of the following methods may be used:

(1) Preparing periodic handouts listing proposed contracts, and displaying them as in 5.101(a)(2).

(2) Assisting local trade associations in disseminating information to their members.

(3) Making brief announcements of proposed contracts to newspapers, trade journals, magazines, or other mass communication media for publication without cost to the Government.

(4) Placing paid advertisements in newspapers or other communications media, subject to the following limitations:

(i) Contracting officers shall place paid advertisements of proposed contracts only when it is anticipated that effective competition cannot be obtained otherwise (see 5.205(d)).

(ii) Contracting officers shall not place advertisements of proposed contracts in a newspaper published and printed in the District of Columbia unless the supplies or services will be furnished, or the labor performed, in the District of Columbia or adjoining counties in Maryland or Virginia (44 U.S.C. 3701).

(iii) Advertisements published in newspapers must be under proper written authority in accordance with 44 U.S.C. 3702 (see 5.502(a)).

We’re going to dedicate a whole show to the timeframes, stipulations, regulations and statutes that govern the mandatory actions of the CO, but for today's purposes on the WHERE, we’re going to limit the discussion to exactly that, where you can find the requirements.

For more discussion and an opportunity to further define, direct and move forward with your federal government procurement goals and objectives, send me an email at csmiley@smileygroup.org.

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