Overview of (contract search)

  • Types of contracts: SAM has the widest range of opportunities and is used by every agency. While it doesn’t have everything it is the single biggest contract archive
  • Agencies: All government agencies use SAM, even the intelligence community (though classified contracts do not come out on SAM)
  • Other notes: The contract publication/search that now lives in SAM used to be through a website called FedBizOps, or FBO.
  • Our two cents: SAM is a terrible website that is fundamentally broken in terms of search and has some of the worst user interfaces we have ever come across.

Everything you can do on SAM you can do for free on FedScout. But better and faster

Searching in SAM

  1. Log-in: You have to be logged in to see the documents associated with the opportunities you are looking at
  2. Enter a keyword and hit the search button: As far as we can tell you have to enter a keyword before you can go to contract search.
  3. Adjust the due dates: For stupid reasons SAM has “Opportunities” that were due literally 12 years ago so we need to adjust the due dates to get rid of these expired contracts
  4. Adjust the types of records sought: Select whether you are looking for Sources Sought, RFIs, or RFPs
  5. Adjust the PSC codes: We highly recommend adding the types of contracts you are looking for (at least choosing product v. services), but predictably SAM makes this simple task insanely hard
  6. Place of performance: If you only want to go after contracts near you, enter your location

Understanding a contract on SAM

  1. Title: This should be a high level description of the work
  2. Notice ID: A unique code that identifies this opportunity NOTE: You can use this code to see previous elements of this solicitation (e.g. if you want to see the RFI)
  3. Related notice: Sometimes the Notice ID changes, so this is an additional one
  4. Department: The government agency releasing the solicitation
  5. Sub-tier: The sub-agency
  6. The office: The office
  7. Contract Opportunity Type: This tells you what stage of development the opportunity is in
  8. All Dates/Times are: What timezone to use with the due dates
  9. Updated Published Date: The last time this opportunity was updated
  10. Original Published Date: The original date this opportunity was published
  11. Updated Date Offers Due: The current date proposals are due (remember to adjust for your timezone)
  12. Original Date Offers Due: The original due date
  13. Inactive Policy: No one knows why this is here, it doesn’t matter
  14. Updated Inactive Date: Doesn’t matter either
  15. Original Inactive Date: Or this
  16. Initiative:
  17. Original Set Aside: If this opportunity is set-aside
  18. Updated Set Aside: If the set-aside changed
  19. Product Service Code: The PSC code
  20. NAICS Code: The NAICS code
  21. Place of Performance: If the work has to be done in a specific place (if blank it can be done anywhere)
  22. Description: A short overview of the work
  23. Attachments: The documents associated with this opportunity
  24. POCs: Listed government points of contact
  25. History: Government contracts frequently get edited so you can see the version history here