Registration and Renewal, all 22 step and 77 question explained (Updated for 2023)

You don’t have to pay an “Expert” to help you register or renew your company’s profile, get a CAGE code or a Unique Entity ID (UEID). But every year thousands of people pay lots of money for “help” they don’t need.

And here’s the secret: The questions in SAM are really simple, once someone has translated them from government speak into normal human english.

The first time I registered a company in SAM I was confused, and convinced that if I got something wrong I’d be disqualified or charged with a crime. In fact I was so nervous I nearly hired a consultant.  But instead I invited an experienced government contractor, who is also a friend, out for drinks.  I brought my laptop and bought the drinks and he explained each question and told me what to do.

By the third pint my company was registered and I’d realized that the SAM registration isn’t complicated, the questions are just badly written.

Well, we can’t get drinks with everyone, so instead we’ve written:
1) This step-by-step guide to SAM registration
2) Tutorials and explainers for each question
So that you can quickly and confidently get your UEID and CAGE and start winning contracts. 

If you want to start registering go to the bottom of this page and start the first class, but, if you want some more context here are answers to the most common questions:

What are the registration, UEID, and CAGE codes: SAM tracks all the companies registered to work with the federal government, so if you want to sell to the government you have to be in SAM

UEID and CAGE codes: Your UEID and CAGE are like your company’s social security number and the government uses it to:
1) Track information about who has received government money
2) Track companies companies that are authorized to work with the government
3) Facilitate payments

What is the difference between my UEID and CAGE code:

If you want to sell to any part of the US government you need a UEID, if you want to sell to the Department of Defense you also need a CAGE code.  You might not be planning to sell to DoD, but they are about 50% of all government spending, and there isn’t much extra work, so we highly recommend getting both.

How much does registering and renewing in cost/ are there any fees?

Registering in is 100% FREE.  Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, there are NO fees.

What is the registration timeline/how long does it take to get a CAGE and UEID:

First time registering: If this is your first time registering then give yourself two weeks to get your UEID and CAGE codes (most of that is time spent waiting).
Renewing: If you are renewing, and your address hasn’t changed, then it takes about an hour total

What kinds of addresses you can use in SAM?

You can use any address (home, shared office, independent office, etc) so long as you’re actually going to work there.  The one thing you can’t use is a PO box or other mail service since you aren’t going to do the work at the PO box. 

Can you use a shared office (co-working) address:

The government is still getting comfortable with companies that list a shared office in their SAM registration but here are some things to know:
1) The government doesn’t know that a particular address is a shared office, they just see that multiple companies are using the same address which raises some yellow flags for them, like:
a) Are there multiple companies in one location or are they actually the same company?
b) Are all the companies owned by the same person?
c) Has a large company created a sham small business to get access to small business set-aside contracts?
2) If you have your own office number you should be fine, since the office number is unique to you, and will make your address unique (just make sure you list the office number when you write down your address)
3) If you are using the shared office as just a mail service (so your mail goes there but you won’t work there) then the government probably won’t accept it
4) If you’re using flex space (e.g. you work at co-working center, but you don’t have a unique dedicated office number for your address) then the government might or might not approve it, I’ve seen it go both ways

How long does my registration last?

You need to renew your registration every 12 months.

Where can I get free help with

1) The SAM helpdesk (for technical support): Their contact info HERE
2) Your local PTAC (for business advice): Their contact info HERE

How do I find my UEID/CAGE code?

Once you’ve registered in you can find your CAGE, UEID, and other information on SAM
NOTE: You have to be logged in to SAM to access this information

What is the SAM registration process

To register in SAM and get your CAGE/UEID you need to:
1) Create a account (for yourself)
2) Add your company to and prove that you are associated with the company
3) Answer the registration questions
4) Answer any follow-up questions
5) Get your CAGE and UEID codes

The information you need to register in

From the IRS

1. Employer Identification Number (EIN)

From your bank

1. Bank name
2. Account type (typically it is a Corporate Checking Account)
3. Account number
4. Bank routing number
5. Bank phone number & address (Wire transfers)


1. Full legal name
2. Incorporation documents
3. Lease/ other proof that you are connected to the address you use
4. State and Federal incorporation documents