When any construction work is performed for a governmental agency, there are strict requirements that must be met. A detailed list of steps with links can be found here.
First, you should make sure that government contracting is a good fit for your business. Do you have enough time and resources, including employees? Second, use any of the various online governmental search tools to determine whether there is a demand for the service you offer. If there is little to none, it may not be a good time for you to begin the certification process.
Third, and likely the most important step, is to hire legal counsel. Business owners who choose to undertake any process where a business plan is required should consult with an attorney to make sure all bases are covered. Fourth, determine if your business qualifies for any special programs offered by federal agencies. These determinations can give your business a leg up when competing for contracts if a project has been set aside for small or disadvantaged businesses.
There are also two database registrations required for a business to qualify as a federal contractor. One is the Data Universal Numbering System. This system is used to track the credit record of your business. The other is the System for Award Management. This one is used to store your business information, including certifications. Every federal construction contractor must be registered in both systems to be considered eligible to compete for government contracts. Registration for both systems is free.
Obviously, preparing to take on government work is no small feat. It is a process which, if not performed correctly the first time, can take months to correct and obtain certification. Consult an experienced construction law attorney to ensure all paperwork and registrations are submitted correctly so that your payday will not be delayed.