How does the Federal government determine if I am capable of performing on a contract?

The Federal government is looking for good suppliers to add to their supply chain. Agencies will evaluate suppliers to make sure that they are capable of performing successfully on their contracts. The evaluation method varies by agency.

All Federal contractors must be registered in the System for Awards Management at If you need assistance in registering please contact WPI staff at either 414-270-3600

All Federal contractors must register in the System for Award Management (SAM). There is NO FEE to register or maintain your registration. The Wisconsin Procurement Institute (WPI) provides free help to businesses registering in SAM.

Contracting Officers are required by the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), Part 9 to make an affirmative Determination of Contractor Responsibility prior to making an award. The requirements are spelled out in FAR 9.104. A contractor must:

  • Have adequate financial resources to perform the contract
  • Be able to comply with the required proposed delivery or performance schedule,
  • Have a satisfactory performance record,
  • Have a satisfactory record of integrity and business ethics,
  • Have the necessary organization, experience, accounting, and operational controls, and technical skills or the ability to obtain them,
  • Have the necessary production, construction, and technical equipment and facilities, or the ability to obtain them, and
  • Be otherwise qualified and eligible to receive award under applicable laws and regulations. The Excluded Parties List in the System for Award Management (SAM) will be checked to ensure a contractor is eligible for award.

The U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Certificate of Competency (COC) program allows a small business to appeal a contracting officer’s determination that it is unable to fulfill the requirements of a specific government contract on which it is the apparent low bidder. When the small business applies for a COC, SBA industrial and financial specialists conduct a detailed review of the firm’s capabilities to perform on the contract. If the business demonstrates the ability to perform, the SBA issues a COC to the contracting officer requiring the award of that specific contract to the small business.  

Federal contractors should be aware that information on past performance in the government marketplace is available to contracting officials. The Contractor Performance Assessment Reporting System (CPARS) is a web-enabled, government-wide application that provides timely and pertinent contractor past performance information to the Federal acquisition community for use in making source selection decisions. Confidence in a prospective contractor’s ability to satisfactorily perform contract requirements is an important factor in making best value decisions in the acquisition of goods and services.