The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE or the Department) encourages capable firms to consider doing business with the Department. This section provides links and resources tailored to the type and experience level of your small business. Alternatively, you can go directly to our sitemap to find and navigate directly to these and many more resources to help your business.

What Kind of Business am I?

“Never Done Business with the Federal Government" – an existing or new small business who has never done business with a federal agency.  Column 1 in the table below provides links to introduce you to federal government contracting.

“Done Some Business with the Federal Government, but not with the DOE" – an existing small business who may have some federal government procurement experience, but not with the DOE or the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). Column 2 in the table below provides links to help navigate the complex DOE and NNSA government contracting environment.

“Experienced DOE Contractor" – an existing small business who has experience working in the complex DOE and NNSA procurement environment. Column 3 in the table below provides links to assist you with advanced information

Steps to Success

Review these steps to help you prepare to compete for an upcoming opportunity with the DOE: 

1. Research the Government Market. Does your business supply what DOE buys?

2. Find Additional Resources. 

3. Determine Your Eligibility. 

4. Register Your Business. 

  • All businesses seeking to contract with the Federal Government must first register in the System for Award Management (SAM). This process is FREE. Businesses are responsible for ensuring that their information is current and correct in SAM.
  • Familiarize yourself with your North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes.
  • Obtain a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI).  A UEI is a unique 12-character, alpha-numeric value.  You will receive a UEI when you register with SAM at Entities doing business with the federal government must use the UEI created by the system.  Businesses no longer have to go to a third-party website to obtain their identifier (DUNS number). This transition allows the government to streamline the entity identification and validation process, making it easier and less burdensome to do business with the federal government.  If your entity is already registered with SAM, your UEI has already been assigned to you. Learn how to view your UEI within SAM at the Federal Service Desk.
  • Register with FedConnect to view current business opportunities, receive solicitations, and submit proposals.  FedConnect helps the DOE manage contractor relationships throughout the acquisition cycle with respect to pre-acquisition, solicitation, evaluation award, and post administration duties.  Type “DOE” to search for opportunities within the Department.

5. Understand How DOE Buys.

  • Approximately 80% of DOE’s annual procurement base is allocated to the Department’s Management and Operating contracts (M&Os), also commonly referred to as Facility Management Contractors (FMCs). For most small businesses, there is essentially no difference between M&Os and FMCs and they are often used interchangeably.  The key is that most Small Business dollars flow through the M&Os and FMCs to Small Business contracting partners as subcontracts. 
  • Small businesses are encouraged to learn about the latest government-wide contracting initiative called Category Management.  This is an approach the Federal Government is applying to buy smarter and behave more like a single enterprise to gain efficiencies and cost savings. The goals of government-wide Category Management are to: 1) Deliver more savings, value, and efficiency for federal agencies; 2) Eliminate unnecessary contract redundancies; and 3) Meet the government’s small business goals.  Learn more about the government-wide category structure including the 10 Government Contract Categories and the Spend Under Management activities and tiered rating scale.  All these activities support Category Management implementation across the Federal Government to enable smart decision-making in buying similar goods and services through best-value solutions.

6. Discover Other DOE Small Business Partnering Opportunities.

  • The Mentor-Protégé Program enables small businesses to partner with current DOE contractors.
  • DOE federal grants and Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs) provide many additional funding opportunities in federal research and development areas that encourage small businesses to explore their technological potentials.  Programs include the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer Programs (SBIR/STTR)  or through other  Funding Opportunity Announcements and grants
  • The Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) helps federal agencies meet energy-related goals by facilitating streamlined partnerships with  Energy Service Companies (ESCOs) and their small business subcontracting partners.
  • The Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) invests in America's energy researchers and small businesses to bring the new technology to the market. ARPA-E can assist small competitive businesses with funding, technical assistance, and market readiness.
  • Power Marketing Administrations (PMAs) consist of four federal administrations: Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), Western Area Power Administration (WAPA), Southeastern Power Administration (SEPA), and Southwestern Power Administration (SWPA) which operate electric systems and sell the electrical output of federally owned and operated hydroelectric dams in 34 states. The PMAs provide a significant number of small business partnering opportunities through both contracting and subcontracting.
  • Unsolicited Proposals allow businesses to share innovative ideas and solutions to DOE’s requirements.
  • Federal Procurement Data System – Next Generation (FPDS-NG) is a Federal Government website used to report on all contract actions using appropriated funds as specified in FAR 4.6 whose estimated value is $3,500 or more.  This website is useful for finding out when contracts expire, conduct Business Intelligence research, identify potential partners, or find a possible Mentor, to name a few.  The DOE agency code is 8900.
  • Keep an eye out for upcoming OSDBU outreach events where you can meet with OSDBU personnel, small business program managers (SBPMs), program/Field Office personnel, and DOE or other federal buyers of goods and services.
  • Focus on networking with other contractors currently doing business at DOE.

Complex Nature of DOE procurement

DOE has a unique history dating back to the Manhattan project during World War II when the U.S. was in a race to end the war through development of nuclear weapons.  Over the years, the Department and its predecessor agencies have evolved to meet current challenges and evolving missions.  The resultant organizational structure is the M&O Contractor model, where most DOE facilities are government-owned, but contractor-operated by the M&O/FMCs.  DOE obligates approximately 80% of its annual contract budget to these large business M&Os/FMCs.  These key features of DOE make it a unique and sometimes challenging procurement environment for small businesses looking to do work with the Department.  Just some of those complexities include:

  • 2 Senior Procurement Executives
  • 11 Heads of Contracting Activity
  • 15 SBA Procurement Center Representatives
  • 80+ Small Business Federal and M&O/FMC Program Managers (SBPMs)
  • Multiple Federal and M&O/FMC Forecasts
  • 22 Contracting Activities
  • 36 Different Sites
  • Multiple contracting sources through federal procurements and M&O/FMC subcontracts

As a result of the unique DOE M&O/FMC contract structure, SBA allows DOE to take credit for all M&O/FMC first tier subcontract awards in calculating the Department’s prime SB award total for the SBA scorecard.  DOE tracks all first-tier subcontract awards in the M&O/FMC Subcontract Reporting Capability (MOSRC) database. 

Small Business Challenges

In addition to the unique challenges of the DOE and NNSA M&O/FMC contractor model, there are some other unique challenges that small businesses face when trying to establish themselves as qualified service providers.  Some of those challenges include:

  • DOE’s decentralized business model across 36 sites;
  • Sometimes limited access to sites’ program managers and buyers (security, remote sites, etc.);
  • Rigorous safety, physical security, and cybersecurity requirements;
  • Highly complex and detailed technical requirements; and
  • Total contract value often too high for small business engagement.

Yet despite these complexities, there are still ample opportunities for small businesses to compete and provide value-added services and support to DOE and NNSA through prime contract awards, M&O/FMC first tier subcontract awards (MOSRC), and other subcontract awards.

Small Business Points of Contact

Firms that are interested in exploring subcontracting opportunities with various DOE sites are encouraged to visit our Small Business Points of Contact page. It contains a link to our downloadable directory of our DOE and M&O/FMC Small Business Program Managers (SBPMs), who are our front-line resources to help you do business with DOE. 

In addition to DOE resources, the SBA's Procurement Center Representatives (PCR) and the Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTACs) offer free resources to assist you in pursuing government contracts.


OSDBU advocates on your behalf and is available to assist any small business that believes a solicitation, request for proposal (RFP), or request for quotation (RFQ) may unduly restrict the ability of the small business to compete for an award. Learn how to Submit a Notice Of Alleged Undue Restriction and see how we can further help you. 

NAICS Codes and SAM

North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) Codes

The NAICS is the standard used by federal statistical agencies in classifying business establishments for the purpose of collecting, analyzing, and publishing statistical data related to the U.S. business economy. Once the Census Bureau publishes the NAICS codes, the SBA applies small business size standards to the NAICS codes. The SBA's Latest Table of Small Business Size Standards helps small businesses assess their business size.

DOE analyzes, develops, and publishes a list of the Department's most utilized NAICS codes. The Table* below highlights the top ten NAICS codes most often used by DOE in FY2019.

NAICS Code NAICS Description Grand Total
561210 Facilities support services $10,161,680,504
541710 Research and development in the physical, engineering, and life sciences $6,160,793,090
562910 Remediation services $2,304,695,801
541715 Research and development in the physical, engineering, and life sciences (except nanotechnology and biotechnology) $2,179,034,849
541990 All other professional, scientific, and technical services $1,756,257,526
562211 Hazardous waste treatment and disposal $1,346,566,053
234930 Industrial nonbuilding structure construction $700,000,000
541712 Research and development in the physical, engineering, and life sciences (except biotechnology) $634,895,050
541711 Research and development in biotechnology $429,283,963
611310 Colleges, universities, and professional schools $237,824,220

*Note: the basis for the data provided above comes from the standard Federal Procurement Data System - Next Generation (FPDS-NG) Small Business Goaling Report, used for performance analysis and small business goaling purposes.

System for Award Management (SAM) 

SAM is used by small businesses to register in order to become eligible to do business with the U.S. Government, and maintain and update the status of the entity’s registration. There is no cost to registering your business, so please take an advantage of this opportunity!