Trick question, how much does the government charge contractors to register for SAM or any other government database? The answer is zero, zip, zilch. There is no charge to register for any government database. And neither the Wizard of Oz nor any of these vendors can get you no bid contracts from any federal agency. Let’s start with Mr. Pirolo and his FEMA contract registration scheme.
FEMA Contract Registration. Michael Pirolo, the owner of Government Contract Registry (GCR) was sentenced to four years and two months in federal prison for wire fraud. Pirolo served as the president of GCR doing business as FEMA Contract Registration. He employed telemarketers who, during communications with victim-companies, falsely claimed that, for a fee, GCR would “register” the companies with FEMA to enable them to receive preference in obtaining contracts from FEMA. The telemarketers stated that for a one-time fee of $500, the customer would be registered with FEMA, and that this registration would place the customer on a list of preferred vendors. When the need for a vendor arose, the GCR telemarketer falsely stated that FEMA would bypass the contract acquisition process, contact the registered victim-company, and then offer a no-bid contract. Mr. Pirolo netted hundreds of thousands of dollars before he was caught.
SAM Registration. There are companies who market their services to federal contractors to handle their SAM registration renewals. These companies require you to give them your password and user name for SAM. Then they charge you for updating your SAM registration. Your SAM update is always free on www.sam.gov. I don’t even have time to tell you about all the GSA Schedule emails I get about the wonderful world of no bid contracts that I will get from GSA once I sign up with this GSA Schedule vendor. Centre Law has its own PSS Schedule so I see what is going on in the industry. My inbox is full of these types of emails.
Here is a screenshot from one of the many emails from vendors that I receive. I had to input information on several different screens before I got to the one below. In my opinion, it looks like an official government website but it is not.
It does not appear obvious at first, but the company does note on its website that it is a private company: “U.S. Contractor Administration is not a government agency. We are a third-party federal registration processing firm.”
About the Author
Barbara Kinosky has more than twenty-five years of experience in all aspects of federal government contracting and is a nationally known expert on GSA and VA Schedules and the Service Contract Act. She has a proven track record of solving complex issues for clients by providing strategic and business savvy advice. Barbara was named a top attorney for federal contracting by Smart CEO magazine in 2010, 2012, and 2015.