what are state registrations?
In theory, state registrations are similar to the federal System for Award Management (SAM), except geared toward specific state government purchases. To some degree, that is true, but maybe somewhat unfortunately, state governments do not have set standards of registrations. This can make getting started with the state government a little challenging at times -- sometimes made even more complicated as local governments (particularly major cities) also have supplier registrations that may well be more significant than the state registrations.
Unlike the SAM, many state registrations are outsourced to companies like PeopleSoft (Oracle) or CGI Technologies, making their navigation sometimes difficult. Many of them are not overly up-to-date (see North and South Dakota), making companies understandably a little wary of utilizing them. Nonetheless, they are excellent starting points for getting involved with your state government, and can lead to other avenues of registrations at the more local level. One benefit to state and local registrations are that, by and large, they ARE local; gaining access to the people behind the technology is a little less tricky, and Chamber members can even get direct contact information upon request for these individuals.
should my business register with a state?
Much like with the SAM, getting registered with state governments largely depends on your interest in working with them. State and local governments can be excellent sources of revenue for a business, especially a small business as they do tend to be more localized in their spending (causing less competition in some regards). The type of purchasing can be a little more limiting at the state level as opposed to the federal level; schools, prisons, and transportation systems being the hefty spenders at this level. Law enforcement and rescue can also be big spenders, but keep in mind, many of these entities tend to lead on federal portals for their spending (eg, GSA Schedule 84), as those portals frequently allow for "cooperative purchasing" and tend to be better funded and regulated.
Perhaps it is obvious, but it should be mentioned that registering in a state that your company does not do business in will do little benefit you. There are many consultants out there that will ostensibly register you within all or most of the states -- possibly charging your business hundreds if not thousands of dollars -- all for little benefit to your business. While your company can always seek out these consultants, keep in mind that most state registration processes are not overly difficult -- some being extraordinarily easy, with entering in your EIN being the major aspect of it. The Chamber recommends taking a look at the difficulty in obtaining these registrations before investing too much money in outside help.
If you are having trouble or need further assistance, feel free to reach out to us for additional support. Some assistance -- such a personalized attention or consulting referrals -- may require your company to becoming a member of the Chamber. Feel free to click on the below button to go to our contact page and reach out to us.