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FedBizOpps FAQs - How to Manage FBO.GOV



Illustration 1: What does FBO stand for? The tricky gateway to FedBizOpps government contracts.

General Questions about FedBizOpps


What does FBO stand for?

What does FBO stand for?

What is fbo.gov?

Fbo.gov is a website operated under the auspices of the GSA to connect federal procurement agents (Buyers) with Engineers and suppliers (Vendors) in order to fulfill government contracts. Fbo.gov is not the only website or source of government contracting, but it is the primary vehicle used by the GSA and contains all of their contracts over $25,000.

What is my designation within FBO?

Your role in FedBizOpps is defined by how you use FBO.
  • Buyers are procurement agents for a federal government agency and have the ability to post, manage, and award opportunities.
  • Engineers also work for a federal government agency, but do not manage and award government contracts. They do have the ability to create and manage sensitive but unclassified documents in support of a solicitation.
  • Vendors represent a business attempting to sell goods and services to the federal government. Those registered for Vendor FBO accounts may search, monitor and retrieve opportunities.
  • You are a Citizen if you do not represent a company wishing to do business with the government, but need access to the advanced functionality available to registered users, like search agents and watch-lists.

What if I make a mistake in completing my FedBizOpps registration?

Fix it right away. FedBizOpps has a strict "Anti-Spamming" policy which you may be in violation of. The information provided in your FBO account profile is monitored. Providing inaccurate information in a user profile (e.g. misrepresenting the company name or first and last name fields and / or including superfluous marketing material in the company information) may result in having your FBO account suspended.

The FBO site is very complicated. How can I get help?

Understand that fbo.gov was set up by the government for Buyers, first and foremost. It was not built around the needs of Vendors. The Govgistics FBO module, on the other hand, was built around Vendors. That is why Govgistics provides the ability to stack search results to quickly narrow down your opportunities to the best possible fit, and allows you to export your search results. That is why only Govgistics provides meaningful email updates that fit your ideal search parameters. The Govgistics FBO module does everything you can do in your FBO account, and so much more. Unfortunately, there is no FedBizOpps "help desk" you can call for assistance. Fortunately, your Govgistics rep can be reached at any time to help with any problems you may encounter... including on the FedBizOpps website.

What is a "special notice" from FedBizOpps?

An FBO special notice is used to announce procurement matters, such as business fairs, long-range procurement estimates, pre-bid/pre-proposal conferences, meetings, and the availability of draft solicitations or draft specifications for review. We strongly recommend our clients engage in conferences, business fairs, etc. as a means of cultivating relationships with procurement agents, and exploring new business opportunities. If you need help finding these on the Fed Biz Opps site, or on the Govgistics site, please contact your Govgistics rep.

What is a Small Business Central Event Listing in FedBizOpps?

This is an attempt by Fed Biz Opps to make it easier and less burdensome for small businesses to learn about and transact business with the federal government. Small Business Central Event Listing Outreach and Training allowing small business users to search for business development, matchmaking, and training opportunities. If you need help sorting by, for instance, date, location, or small business category, please contact your Govgistics rep.

What is "Vendor collaboration" and why is it included in Central Event Listings?

From time to time, federal agencies seek vendor input to improve federal acquisitions. Vendor collaboration is the vehicle to offer suggestions and meet with federal officials. You can find information on vendor collaboration and engagement opportunities in Central Event Listings, as it is most closely tied to training and conferences.

What is a "sources sought" notice in FedBizOpps?

This notice is a synopsis posted on FBO by a Buyer that states they are seeking possible sources for a project. It is not a solicitation for work, nor is it a request for proposal.

Can I post classified information to fbo.gov?

No. As a Vendor, do not upload any classified materials to FBO under any circumstances. Doing so would jeopardize your FBO account.

Why can't I download information marked "Export-Controlled" from FedBizOpps?

Your company must be certified by the Joint Certification Program (JCP) administered by the Defense Logistic Information Service (DLIS) to be eligible to download documents marked "Export Controlled" from fbo.gov.

Tips and tricks for using fbo.gov

My solicitation number in FBO is invalid. What did I do wrong?

The odds are you included a space. Within fbo.gov, solicitation numbers can only contain alphanumeric characters, not spaces. This is a common error that can cause a great deal of frustration. As you work with the fbo.gov website, you will likely encounter a number of minor glitches and sometimes serious frustration points. Unfortunately, there is no "help desk" at the FedBizOpps office to call when things go awry. Fortunately, the Govgistics site does everything fbo.gov does and more, and your Govgistics rep is only a phone call away if you run into any problems. Please don't hesitate to call us when you get stuck with minor annoyances like this.

Why do I keep getting bumped out of the FedBizOpps system?

Once a user is logged onto the FBO system, it monitors your activity. If you are "inactive" for 60 minutes, you will automatically be logged off the system. The Govgistics system does not have this limitation. This is a huge advantage. You can walk away from an extended search and return to have your search preserved exactly as you left it hours or even days later. More importantly, unlike fbo.gov, the Govgistics system allows you to export your searches and store what you need on your own computer to work on when and where you want. The truth is that Vendors typically waste a great deal of time conducting the same searches on fbo.gov over and over again.

Can I get FedBizOpps to update me with new opportunities via email?

Not in any meaningful way. You can set up a recurring email through FBO, but the email basically just links you back to fbo.gov. Govgistics allows you to set up recurring email updates every morning which allow you to make decisions directly through the email itself. The email contains 100% of the relevant data points to determine if this is an appropriate opportunity for you. You have everything you need to evaluate and complete the bid right there in the email, without having to visit each opportunity individually in fbo.gov and keep backing out of individual opportunities. See information on searches below to find out how to create the best opportunity filters, or call your Govgistics rep to learn more.

Why can't I open the files I want to open within FedBizOpps?

There are two common reasons you might encounter this problem in Fed Biz Opps. The first is that you are not authorized to view the files. If that is the case, it is best to contact the procurement rep to resolve any authorization discrepancies. On the other hand, many times clients have proper authorization but are unable to view the documents on Fed Biz Opps due to software incompatibility. When trying to open attachments, if you receive an "open" error or are asked to convert the attachment files, it is most likely a software compatibility problem. You may need to install a document viewer such as Acrobat (.pdf files) or WinZip (.zip files) to view these documents.

How do I find the drawings I am looking for?

Finding drawings in c-folders can be very difficult. You must have the exact drawing number in order to find your drawing in Fed Biz Opps. Govgistics has a much faster and easier solution. All you need to do is enter the part number into our search tool and we can pull up the drawing for you automatically. This can save anywhere from 20-90% of the time you would otherwise spend searching for drawings. If you need any assistance doing this, please contact your Govgistics rep today.

When I cut and paste text, I see odd characters or formatting in fbo.gov. What is going on?

This is most likely a formatting problem. Formatting problems can be caused when word processor formatted text is put into a browser format. The form is WYSIWYG, so any odd formatting you see in the field is going to be carried over when you submit the form. While not fool-proof, Notepad provides the easiest tool to strip formatting out of a document before entering it in the FedBizOpps system

Can I use FBO to pull a list of PR Numbers (for secure document packages) and their status (released/not released/attached)?

No. If you require this information, access it by logging into the FBO system and viewing the document packages tab.

How do I find an appropriate solicitation on FBO?

  1. Login as vendor on fbo.gov. You can search but can't save your results if you are not logged in, so we recommend logging in at the start of any search.
  2. Click on "opportunities" in the upper menu of FedBizOpps.
  3. Click on the "advanced search" sub-tab of FedBizOpps.
  4. Enter the terms of your search in the appropriate fields. If presented on a filter, you can use the "+" tool to select all of the values of the list, such as "all procurement types". Uncheck any choices you wish to exclude. Once you have selected your filters, click "search"
  5. You can find what you are looking for on the "search results" tab.
  6. You can save your search results by clicking "save this search as a search agent" and labeling the search so that you can reference it later. Please note that you CANNOT stack searches on top of each other to filter opportunities meeting criteria from different tabs. Nor can you export this information. You can, however, accomplish these things using the FBO module within the Govgistics system.

I am looking for government contract opportunities that match my business product or service. How can I find appropriate opportunities?

Use NAICS Codes within Fed Biz Opps. Here is how:
  1. Login as vendor on fbo.gov. You can search but can't save your results if you are not logged in, so we recommend logging in at the start of any search.
  2. Click on "opportunities" in the upper menu of FedBizOpps.
  3. Click on the "advanced search" sub-tab of FedBizOpps.
  4. Use the "NAICS Code:" field to filter your search by individually selecting appropriate NAICS codes. Hold down the Control Key (CTRL) with menu open to select more than one line at a time. The NAICS list is hierarchical. You can select both the three digit codes, the six digit codes, and any combination of the two. Once you have selected the appropriate filters, click "search."
  5. You can find what you are looking for on the "search results" tab.
  6. You can save your search results by clicking "save this search as a search agent" and labeling the search so that you can reference it later. Please note that you CANNOT stack searches on top of each other to filter opportunities meeting criteria from different tabs. Nor can you export this information. You can, however, accomplish these things using the FBO module within the Govgistics system.

How can I find business opportunities for a specific set-aside designation?

  1. Login as vendor on fbo.gov. You can search but cannot save your results if you are not logged in, so we recommend logging in at the start of any search.
  2. Click on "opportunities" in the upper menu of FedBizOpps.
  3. Click on the "advanced search" sub-tab of FedBizOpps.
  4. Use the "Set-Aside Code:" field to filter your search.
  5. You can find what you are looking for on the "search results" tab.
  6. You can save your search results by clicking "save this search as a search agent" and labeling the search so that you can reference it later. Please note that you CANNOT stack searches on top of each other to filter opportunities meeting criteria from different tabs. Nor can you export this information. You can, however, accomplish these things using the FBO module within the Govgistics system.

Can I submit an electronic response to an opportunity?

That depends on how the Fed Biz Opps procurement agent set up the notice. If electronic response submissions are enabled for a particular notice, a note will be visible within the "Notice Details" sub-tab indicating that the opportunity allows for electronic responses. You must be logged in to the system to be able to submit an electronic response.

We have had staff changes. I need to remove a current Vendor FBO account holder from accessing FBO on behalf of my company. How can I delete an FBO account associated with my firm?

Submit a request to the FBO "Federal Service Desk" identifying the current FBO account holder (by name, account affiliated e-mail address or system username) that you want to delete.

Submit a request to the FBO "Federal Service Desk" identifying the current FBO account holder (by name, account affiliated e-mail address or system username) that you want to delete.

You either are not registered in SAM, or FBO does not recognize that you have been registered in SAM. With the rise of terrorist activity and the heightened need to safeguard national security, the government has become more sensitive to documents that might provide information to terrorist organizations (such as maps, floor plans, buildings, places, systems, etc.) As such, FedBizOpps attempts to monitor and track who has access to particular files. For this reason, suppliers must register in SAM. In the event something happens to any portion of the facilities, people in those facilities, information, or information inside the technology, the government has a list of potential companies or individuals at those companies, who were provided the full RFP. While no document contained in FedBizOpps is classified, many are secured for viewing only by select individuals and firms. FedBizOpps security measures simply reflect the fact a member of the source selection team believes a document's contents are sensitive. Therefore, it is posted on the secure side to allow the government to provide minimal details of who was given the procurement documents in the event of an investigation. As long as your company is registered in SAM, you should have access to any files on the secure side of FedBizOpps. Entering your 9 digit DUNS number during registration will enable the system to retrieve your company information from the System for Award Management (SAM.gov) database. This sets the stage for you to access controlled, unclassified documents.

What is a subcontract?

A contract between a prime contractor and a subcontractor to supply goods or services for the fulfillment of a prime contract.

Fed Biz Opps codes and classifications – a quick guide to FBO

What are FBO procurement service codes?

In the FedBizOpps system, procurements are classified by Federal Supply Codes/Product Services Codes. The following is a listing of the service codes:

A -- Research & Development
B -- Special studies and analysis - not R&D
C -- Architect and engineering services
D -- Information technology services, including telecommunications services
E -- Purchase of structures & facilities
F -- Natural resources & conservation services
G -- Social services
H -- Quality control, testing & inspection services
J -- Maintenance, repair & rebuilding of equipment
K -- Modification of equipment
L -- Technical representative services
M -- Operation of Government-owned facilities
N -- Installation of equipment
P -- Salvage services
Q -- Medical services
R -- Professional, administrative, and management support services
S -- Utilities and housekeeping services
T -- Photographic, mapping, printing, & publication services
U -- Education & training services
V -- Transportation, travel, & relocation services
W -- Lease or Rental of equipment
X -- Lease or rental of facilities
Y -- Construction of structures and facilities
Z -- Maintenance, repair, and alteration of real property

What are FBO procurement product codes?

In the FedBizOpps system, procurements are classified by Federal Supply Codes/Product Services Codes. The following is a listing of the product codes: 10 -- Weapons
11 -- Nuclear ordnance
12 -- Fire control equipment
13 -- Ammunition & explosives
14 -- Guided missiles
15 -- Aircraft & airframe structural components
16 -- Aircraft components & accessories
17 -- Aircraft launching, landing & ground handling equipment
18 -- Space vehicles
19 -- Ships, small craft, pontoons & floating docks
20 -- Ship and marine equipment
22 -- Railway equipment
23 -- Ground effects vehicles, motor vehicles, trailers & cycles
24 -- Tractors
25 -- Vehicular equipment components
26 -- Tires and tubes
28 -- Engines, turbines & components
29 -- Engine accessories
30 -- Mechanical power transmission equipment
31 -- Bearings
32 -- Woodworking machinery and equipment
34 -- Metalworking machinery
35 -- Service and trade equipment
36 -- Special industry machinery
37 -- Agricultural machinery & equipment
38 -- Construction, mining, excavating & highway maintenance equipment
39 -- Materials handling equipment
40 -- Rope, cable, chain & fittings
41 -- Refrigeration, air-conditioning & air circulating equipment
42 -- Fire fighting, rescue & safety equipment
43 -- Pumps & compressors
44 -- Furnace, steam plant & drying equipment; & nuclear reactors
45 -- Plumbing, heating, & sanitation equipment
46 -- Water purification & sewage treatment equipment
47 -- Pipe, tubing, hose & fittings
48 -- Valves
49 -- Maintenance & repair shop equipment
51 -- Hand tools
52 -- Measuring tools
53 -- Hardware & abrasives
54 -- Prefabricated structures and scaffolding
55 -- Lumber, millwork, plywood & veneer
56 -- Construction & building materials
58 -- Communication, detection, & coherent radiation equipment
59 -- Electrical and electronic equipment components
60 -- Fiber optics materials, components, assemblies & accessories
61 -- Electric wire & power & distribution equipment
62 -- Lighting fixtures & lamps
63 -- Alarm, signal & security detection equipment
65 -- Medical, dental & veterinary equipment & supplies
66 -- Instruments & laboratory equipment
67 -- Photographic equipment
68 -- Chemicals & chemical products
69 -- Training aids & devices
70 -- General purpose information technology equipment
71 -- Furniture
72 -- Household & commercial furnishings & appliances
73 -- Food preparation and serving equipment
74 -- Office machines, text processing systems & visible record equipment
75 -- Office supplies and devices
76 -- Books, maps & other publications
77 -- Musical instruments, phonographs & home-type radios
78 -- Recreational & athletic equipment
79 -- Cleaning equipment and supplies
80 -- Brushes, paints, sealers & adhesives
81 -- Containers, packaging, & packing supplies
83 -- Textiles, leather, furs, apparel & shoe findings, tents & flags
84 -- Clothing, individual equipment & insignia
85 -- Toiletries
87 -- Agricultural supplies
88 -- Live animals
89 -- Subsistence
91 -- Fuels, lubricants, oils & waxes
93 -- Nonmetallic fabricated materials
94 -- Nonmetallic crude materials
95 -- Metal bars, sheets & shapes
96 -- Ores, minerals & their primary products
99 – Miscellaneous

In fbo.gov, Fed Biz Opps has created a complicated interface. Fortunately, Govgistics FBO module can do all that fbo.gov can do and so much more. We are here to help you with any difficulties you have with either website. Please contact your Govgistics rep any time to help you make the best use of your time when dealing with FedBizOpps and capture as many opportunities as possible.