How to Get Federal Contracts for Writers and Editors

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How to Get Federal Contracts for Writers and Editors

Old School Writer
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After I heard of a fellow freelance writer who was paid quite handsomely to edit a set of scientific journals by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, I determined to check out similar government opportunities. Turns out, the process of registering for Federal opportunities is quite exhaustive, so I took notes for you, dear reader! The front/landing page for starting the process of registering for freelance writing opportunities from the Federal government is Business.gov . You'll notice that this front page details three steps: Register with CCR, register with ORCA, and obtain past evaluations from past clients.

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CCR and Your DUNS Number

The first step to getting freelance writing jobs from the Federal government is to register in CCR. But in order to do so, you'll need a DUNS number for your freelance writing business. This is an identification number required by the government for all contractors. It can also be used to help establish credit for your freelance writing business. To get a DUNS number, fill in the blanks and follow the prompts at Dun and Bradstreet (dnb.com).

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CCR Registration

Once you have a DUNS number for your freelance writing business, you may begin the same fill-in-the-blank process at the CCR- Central Contractor Registry. For this portion of your registration, you'll need a DUNS number, your TIN, EIN or SS number, bank account information, and statistical information about your business. Following the prompts and filling in the blanks here will take about 20 minutes.

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Navigating the CCR Registration- NAICS Codes for Writers

Part of the CCR registration process calls for NAICS codes. These are simply codes that sort services that the government might need. For writing and editing contractors, common NAICS codes are 711510 (independent writing professionals) and 561410 (document preparation services). You can peruse the NAICS codes (2007 are the most current ones) at the Census site. In addition, the CCR will ask for SIC codes; the most fitting SIC codes for writers and editors are 7383 and 7389.

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ORCA Registration

Your next step is the ORCA certification. However, you'll have to wait one or two days to complete it, as it takes about 48 hours for your DUNS to be updated in the CCR. Once it's in there, though, it will pull much of your information from the CCR to your ORCA. Fill out the ORCA questions as directed on the site- this will only take about 10 minutes. You'll need to have very specific information about your business ready- geographic location, owner information and business history.

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Obtain Past Performance Evaluations?

The last step listed to become a Federal contractor is obtaining past performance evaluations. This is a service provided by Business.gov in which they poll some of your past clients in order to obtain a business rating. This service is not free. A typical cost for freelance writers who list their main 2-3 clients is about $150. Is it necessary? Well, you can still bid on some Federal contracts without it, so you'll have to make up your own mind.

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Find Freelance Writing Opportunities with the Federal Government

You are now completely registered as a potential government contractor. Surf over to Federal Business Opportunities to see what agencies may need a writer or editor. You'll need to register, again, but this page will simply search for your DUNS and pull your info in that way. You can search using keywords like "writer" or "editor," or you can search by NAICS code. Bid and application instructions vary by opportunity, so be sure to read carefully!