About SAM (System for Award Management)

Screenshot of SAM.gov homepage. In July 2012, the General Services Administration (GSA) combined the Central Contractor Registration (CCR/FedReg), Online Representations & Certifications Application (ORCA) and the Excluded Parties List System (EPLS) into one main contractor database. This database was named System for Award Management or better known as the SAM registration. Since its inception, the SAM registration has been a step in the right direct for collaborated federal systems that have a heavy interaction with both federal officials and United States business owners.

Integrated Award Environment (IAE): Future Plans of Incorporation

SAM registration helps to streamline the acquisition of grant, loans, contracts and intergovernmental transactions. According to the GSA, the federal government plans on integrating 10 different federal procurement systems and the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance into a single, streamlined system that uses the Integrated Award Environment (IAE).

The IAE vision includes the following systems:

  • System for Award Management (SAM) – Active
  • ESRS – Not Active
  • Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act Sub-award Reporting System(FSRS) – Not Active
  • Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA)
  • Contractor Performance Assessment Reporting System (CPARS)
  • Electronic Subcontracting Reporting System (eSRS)
  • Federal Business Opportunities (FedBizOpps)
  • Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS)
  • Past Performance Information Retrieval System (PPIRS)
  • Wage Determination Online (WDOL) – Not Active

SAM Registration Benefits

SAM registration incorporates all government contractor information into one system. Contractors and vendors can register, file representations and certifications, and search for contracting opportunities from one location. A contractor enters information once, which reduces the risk of duplicating or entering conflicting information.


Companies that register in the System for Award Management (SAM) will be assigned a Commercial And Government Entity (CAGE) Code. This Code is a five-character ID number used extensively within the federal government, assigned by the Department of Defense’s Defense Logistics Agency (DLA). The CAGE code is used to support a variety of mechanized systems throughout the government and provides a standardized method of identifying a given facility at a specific location. The code may be used for a facility clearance, or a pre-award survey. Companies who let their SAM Registration expire will also lose their CAGE Codes. The Defense Logistics Agency decided in 2016 to tie a company’s CAGE Code to its SAM Registration. CAGE Codes expire, if a company’s SAM Registration lapses, but as soon as the company renews its SAM Registration, the CAGE Code is renewed.

Role in the SAM Registration

The Administrator has the complete authority over users within the business’s entity. There are four different non-federal roles: Entity Administrator, Entity Registration Representative , Entity Registration Viewer, Services Contract Inventory (SCI) Reporter.

  • Entity Administrator creates and manages the entity’s registration and all entity users.
  • Entity Registration Representative edits and maintains an entity’s registration.
  • Entity Registration Viewer only has read-only access to an entity’s registration.
  • Services Contract Inventory (SCI) Reporter creates and maintains an entity’s SCI; The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) requires civilian agencies to prepare an annual inventory of their service contracts. To complete this report, some data must be entered by the SCI Reporter who have been awarded such contracts.

SAM Renewal

The federal government requires every business renew its SAM registration at least once a year. The SAM registration will notify registered users 15 days, 30 days, and 60 days prior to expiration. Procurement officers recommend that a business renew its SAM registration 1 to 2 months in advance, to avoid any inconsistencies or complications.

SAM Registration Companies

Many companies don’t have someone who can spend between 20 and 40 hours completing the initial SAM registration process; renewing the registration each year; or submitting updates, such as when processing a merger, novation, or even an address change. This is why hiring a third-party registration company like US Federal Contractor Registration makes good business sense. You supply the company with the required information, and the company does the rest, from completing your initial registration to handling the renewal each year.

For more about choosing a SAM registration company: Click Here for some suggestions on how to pick a SAM Registration Company.

Migration from CCR/FedReg/ORCA to the SAM Registration

SAM migration is dependent upon the user maintaining the same email address and remembering their login information for each current system, which can be a daunting task for most individuals. If there are any errors or incorrect data entered into the legacy systems, those errors will at best be migrated into SAM and, at worst, may complicate the migration process. Officials are advising current users to review their registration for errors, outdated point of contacts, and other problems before SAM goes live next month.

The best way to be assured of a smooth, stress-free transition is by working with a US Federal Contractor Registration Case Manager. Case Managers are highly experienced with the registration requirements for federal contractors and grant recipients. They thoroughly review all the vendor’s information to prevent discrepancies or errors and can quickly resolve any problems that do occur. Businesses which originally signed up with the legacy systems will be migrated to SAM by their Case Manager when the new system is available.

Difference Between SAM.gov and US Federal Contractor Registration

US Federal Contractor Registration is the world’s largest third-party government registration firm. Its acquisition specialists have more than a combined 60 years of government contracting experience. USFCR completes and maintains SAM Registrations for its clients and updates the Registration when regulations change.

In 2016 alone, the U.S. General Services Administration required registered contractors address more than 70 changes. USFCR made sure all of the Registrations it administers remained compliant, as each change was rolled out. SAM.gov is the government’s system for contractors interested in completing a SAM Registration. Contractors submit their information on their own, but the government does not tell them if they need to submit supplemental information in order to become registered. The government also does not help contractors who self-register remain compliant with any changes that are rolled out. The government makes registration possible, but does not help contractors do it. USFCR helps its clients become and remain government contractors and also makes sure its clients are best positioned for contracting success.