8(a) Application – Contracts, Invoices and Letters of Reference – What you need to know and provide

Among the many items that are required to be submitted to the SBA, with your 8(a) Application, you will need to supply a listing of client work performed, copies of contracts/agreements, invoices and letters of reference.

These items will allow the SBA to determine:
1. If you have any economic dependence issues.
2. That your primary NAICS code identified within your 8(a) application submission is correct.3. Who is signing or has signed the contracts/agreements within your organization to determine if any unconditional control issues may exist or if there is someone else that, not identified, may be a considered a key officer/employee.
4. If you are performing on these contracts to the satisfaction of your clients.

Client Listings Worksheet:
You must supply the SBA with a detailed listings of all work performed by your business for the following periods:
a. Beginning of current year through the most recently completed month end.
b. The last three years.

The client listings worksheet provided to the SBA should contain the following information:
a. NAICS Code for work performed
b. Award date of contract/agreement
c. Customer name (billable client)d. Brief description of work performed for client.
e.Total dollar value of contract/agreement
f. Revenue earned in each period specified above. You should separate out the revenue for the current year, and each of the last three years individually for each client.

Contracts/Agreements:
You must supply the SBA with a copy of all contracts/agreements that are detailed within your client listings worksheet. Make sure that all contracts are signed by all parties and contain all pages.

The SBA will examine these contracts to determine if the primary NAICS code indicated is correct and also to see if someone other than the applicant is signing and executing these contracts on behalf of your company.

Invoices:
You must supply the SBA with all invoices, for work performed, that matches the totals within your client listings worksheet.

These invoices should show the work performed and be descriptive enough to give the SBA reviewer an idea of the type of work performed, that was billed.

Letters of Reference:
You must supply the SBA with at least 2-3 letters of reference from clients listed within your client listings worksheet. These letters of reference should generally speak to the type of work performed, how well it was performed and must be provided on the letter writers letterhead, signed and contain their contact information.

Need assistance with your 8(a) Application?

With 15+ years and over 2,000 successful applications under our belt, we can assure you that no matter which option you choose, Cloveer will work harder and faster to get your business SBA 8a certified.  Contact us today at 813-333-5800 or visiting our website at www.cloveer.com to discover what Cloveer can do for you. We also offer these options for further assistance in completing your 8(a) Application.

Option 18(a) Application Accelerator Tool

  • This interactive, web-based program is designed to guide you through the SBA 8(a) application process with ease.  The program takes you step-by-step through the creation and compilation of all the documentation necessary to submit your SBA 8(a) application. Moreover, it shows you how to organize your 8(a) application in the preferred SBA format.  As the nation’s #1 selling 8(a) application completion tool, we guarantee that no other program makes the process faster.

Option 28(a) Application Review

  • For those who wish to complete the application on their own, either using the 8(a) Application Accelerator or by other means, we offer an 8(a) Application Review service.  Here, one of our 8a program experts will review your entire application, checking it for missing documents and potential eligibility issues.  We will then advise you as to how best to modify your application to ensure it will be approved an SBA reviewer.

Option 38a Application Completion Service

  • The majority of our clients however, prefer a little more of a hands-on approach.  They recognize the expertise we have accumulated in the over 14 years we’ve been assisting clients obtain 8(a) certification, and want us to put it to use for them.  If you opt for our 8(a) Application Completion Service, we will work one-on-one with you to ensure that your 8(a) Application is 100% complete and compliant so the SBA can review and accept it the first time.

Reduce your 8(a) Application review time, at the SBA, by 30+ days.

There are several certifications that are required to be submitted within your 8(a) Application paperwork. Failure to submit these signed and dated certifications will result in a letter back from the SBA deeming your 8(a) Application deficient or incomplete.

Please note. None of the below certifications are identified within the SBA’s current 8(a) Checklist. This blog post alone will save you at least one letter back from the SBA and possibly 30+ days of processing time at the SBA.

5 certification sheets that you must provide to the SBA within your 8(a) Application paperwork:

  1. Certification that the applicant firm’s financial statements truthfully and accurately represent the financial condition of my company.
  2. Certification that no 8(a) applicant, owner, director, or key officer of the applicant firm, or the applicant firm itself, have any delinquent federal obligations, past due taxes or liens.
  3. Certification that no immediate family member of any 8(a) applicant, owner, director, or key officer of the applicant firm has ever been an officer, director or shareholder of any other firm that is a current 8(a) Program participant or was a previous participant in the 8(a) Program.
  4. Certification that no 8(a) applicant, owner, director, or key officer of the applicant firm has ever been an officer, director or shareholder of any other firm that is a current 8(a) Program participant or was a previous participant in the 8(a) Program.
  5. Certification that the no 8(a) applicant, owner, director, or key officer of the applicant firm has any ownership interest in any other business other than the applicant firm,  or has an immediate family member who has ownership interest in any other business.

You should put each of the above certifications on a separate printed sheet and sign/date all of these and include a copy within your 8(a) Application. Please make sure all of these certifications provided to the SBA are accurate and truthful. Penalties for misrepresenting anything in your 8(a) Application are severe.

If any of the above cannot be provided because they might apply in your circumstances, please call us at 813-333-5800 for more information.

What role can a consultant play in your SBA 8(a) Application

Hiring a reputable consultant to assist in the preparation of your 8(a) Application can be very important. Most self prepared 8(a) Application are rejected outright or send back multiple times for deficiencies or inconsistencies. In fact “Only 2 out every 10 self prepared 8(a) Applications are approved by the SBA“.

Hiring and investing in a reputable consultant can dramatically increase your chances to achieve successful 8(a) Certification and decrease the time it takes to get 8(a) Certified. A consultant that does not have the experience or proven track record may hurt your chances. The old adage of “You Get What You Pay For” is important. If you believe that you can pay your consultant a few hundred dollars to prepare a successful 8(a) Application you will most likely “Get What You Pay For“. It takes anywhere between 40-80 hours’ worth or work typically to properly review and prepare the 8(a) Application with work on both sides. An 8(a) Application can be several hundred to over a thousand pages in length and is not just a bunch of forms to fill out.

A reputable 8(a) Consultant should perform a free pre-qualifying interview to determine your current state of 8(a) Program eligibility before they enter into any agreement with you. As a result of this pre-qualifying interview they should let you know if your chance of qualifying or not. If you don’t qualify for the 8(a) Program they should let you know why and how to get around these issues without breaking any of the rules.

When you hire any consultant, accountant or attorney to assist with your 8(a) Application they are required to report the SBA that they assisted you and what fees you paid them to assist you. They must also provide a copy of any agreement between the client and the them for review by the SBA.
If you choose to enter into an agreement with a consultant you should make sure:

1. The consultant must have extensive experience in preparing 8(a) Applications that have resulted in successful 8(a) Certification by the SBA and can provide real references for you to speak to directly.

2. The consultant must thoroughly understand the current SBA 8(a) regulations and Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA) cases that might impact your 8(a) Application.

3. The consultant you speak to initially should be the person who will assist in your 8(a) Application and not be passed off to some junior analyst with limited experience.

4. The consultant should also have detailed knowledge of Federal procurement. For example did they previously work for an 8(a) Certified company or work in the federal market space as a contractor.

5. The consultant should provide you with very specific guidance and clear recommendations to you while preparing your 8(a) Application with clear answers to your questions with no double-talk.

6. No consultant should offer a guarantee that your application will accepted by the SBA as the SBA is the final determiner in whether you get certified. It is actually a violation of the SBA rules for any consultant to guarantee that your application will approved by SBA.

7. The consultant agreement should ensure that all of your personal information is protected properly and not shared with anyone other than you and the consultant.

8. The consultant should assist you after the 8(a) Application is submitted to the SBA should the SBA ask for additional information.

Cloveer employees live and breathe 8(a) Certification. When you hire Cloveer to prepare your 8(a) Application you will working directly with Rick Otero, our President/CEO who has 15 years to experience with proven results.

Rick keeps up to date on all of the latest daily SBA 8(a) Program changes and has a detailed understanding of the current SBA 8(a) regulations and the latest SBA OHA cases on 8(a) Certification.

Cloveer has a very strong success rate. We maintain a rate over 99% for clients we pre-qualify and have assisted thousands of small businesses to achieve and maintain their 8(a) Program Certification.

Rick worked in his family owned 8(a) Certified business, RJO Enterprises, Inc.. This business was one of the most successful 8(a) Certified companies in the 8(a) Program. In fact this business was recognized by INC. Magazine for five consecutive years as one of the country’s most successful 8(a), high-tech, information technology and electronics concerns.

Cloveer will pre-qualify you for FREE as we don’t want to waste your time or investment if you do not qualify. When you ask Rick a question you will get an honest answer with no double-talk. Even if Rick finds that you do not currently qualify he will identify the workarounds to your specific issues, if possible, so you can apply down the road.

All information provided to Cloveer is protected and will be secure and will never be shared with anyone.

Finally, our Full 8(a) Application Service is turnkey and once we prepare and you submit your 8(a) Application we will be there for you until with full support, at no additional fee, should the SBA ask for additional information.

Give us a call at 813-333-5800 to speak with Rick or visit us at www.cloveer.com for a wealth of information on the 8(a) Program.

Don;t Miss Out On End of FY 8(a) Contracts

Do you have a potential or upcoming 8(a) Contract opportunity before the end of the Federal Governments FY (September 30, 2015). It is a known fact that a large portion of 8(a) contracts are awarded in the last three months of the Federal Government’s fiscal year.

Waiting to start the process of getting 8(a) Certified in late summer (July or August) is a sure way to miss out on being able to bid or to be awarded an end of fiscal year 8(a) Contract. It takes approximately 3 months for your 8(a) Application to be reviewed and processed by the SBA.

Now (May 2015 or at the latest, June 2015) is the time to get your 8(a) Application completed and submitted to the SBA if you do not want to miss out on 8(a) Contracts this fiscal year.

Need assistance with your 8(a) Application? With 15 years and over 2,000 successful applications under our belt, we can assure you that no matter which option you choose, Cloveer will work harder and faster to get your business SBA 8a certified.  Contact us today at 813-333-5800 or visiting our website at www.cloveer.com to discover what Cloveer can do for you. We also offer these options for further assistance in completing your 8(a) Application.

Option 18(a) Application Accelerator

  • This interactive, web-based program is designed to guide you through the SBA 8(a) application process with ease.  The program takes you step-by-step through the creation and compilation of all the documentation necessary to submit your SBA 8(a) application. Moreover, it shows you how to organize your 8(a) application in the preferred SBA format.  As the nation’s #1 selling 8(a) application completion tool, we guarantee that no other program makes the process faster.

Option 28(a) Application Review

  • For those who wish to complete the application on their own, either using the 8(a) Application Accelerator or by other means, we offer an 8(a) Application Review service.  Here, one of our 8a program experts will review your entire application, checking it for missing documents and potential eligibility issues.  We will then advise you as to how best to modify your application to ensure it will be approved an SBA reviewer.

Option 38a Application Completion Service

  • The majority of our clients however, prefer a little more of a hands-on approach.  They recognize the expertise we have accumulated in the over 15 years we’ve been assisting clients obtain 8(a) certification, and want us to put it to use for them.  If you opt for our 8(a) Application Completion Service, we will work one-on-one with you to ensure that your 8(a) Application is 100% complete and compliant so the SBA can review and accept it the first time.

8a Certification: The most overlooked eligibility issues.

Getting successfully 8(a) Certified can be very difficult. The latest statistics show that only 2 out of every 10 self-prepared 8(a) Applications result in successful 8(a) Certification by the SBA.

In fact, as of April 29. 2015 there are only 6,659 firms that are active 8(a) participants according to the the SBA Dynamic Small Business Search System. Don’t go it alone. Cloveer is here to help should you need assistance with your 8(a) Application.

Here are just a few of the most overlooked eligibility issues that come up from clients we speak that assumed they qualified for the 8(a) Program.

1. Economic Dependence.

No where in the SBA regulations does it clearly spell out that a firm must have multiple active clients to get successfully 8(a) Certified nor does it speak specifically to the economic dependence rules. The only mention in the Code of Federal regulations where it discusses economic dependence is within CFR 13; part 121 – 124.103 – How does the SBA determine affiliation. Here is an except from the current regulations:

(f) Affiliation based on identity of interest. Affiliation may arise among two or more persons with an identity of interest. Individuals or firms that have identical or substantially identical business or economic interests (such as family members, individuals or firms with common investments, or firms that are economically dependent through contractual or other relationships) may be treated as one party with such interests aggregated. Where SBA determines that such interests should be aggregated, an individual or firm may rebut that determination with evidence showing that the interests deemed to be one are in fact separate.

The simple fact is that the SBA will look at the totality of your circumstances to determine whether economic dependence exists. Read our blog article on Do you meet the 70% Economic Dependency Rule for detailed information on whether or not you will be found to be economically dependent by the SBA.

2. Outside Ownership in Any Other Business

No where in the SBA regulations does it clearly spell out that you cannot have ownership interest in any other business to get 8(a) Certified.

The rule is that the applicant must devote full-time to the 8(a) Applicant business without any outside employment. When you have ownership interest in an another business the SBA will most likely conclude that you are not devoting full-time to the 8(a) Applicant business even if you are not materially participating in this outside business.

The only exception by the SBA is if this outside business is an LLC for the purposes of solely holding or investing in real estate. The tax returns for this other entity must clearly show that this is the sole purpose of the business.

3. Applying for a Waiver to overcome the fact that the business has not been business for two full years.

No where in the SBA regulations does it indicate that your firm must have at least 1 (one) year of revenue earned in it primary NAICS shown on a tax year to even apply for a waiver. If you are start-up and have not filed at least one tax return showing sufficient revenues (@100K or more) on it do not even think about applying for the 8(a) Program. You will most likely be denied by the SBA for not meeting their “Potential for Success” requirement.

Read our blog article on How to get 8(a) Certified if your firm has been in business for less than two years for more information.

These are just a few of the most overlooked eligibility issues. For more, just give us a call at 813-333-5800. We would be pleased to take you through a FREE and very detailed pre-qualifying interview that will help identify any potential show stoppers.

Need assistance with your 8(a) Application? With 14 years and over 2,000 successful applications under our belt, we can assure you that no matter which option you choose, Cloveer will work harder and faster to get your business SBA 8a certified.  Contact us today at 813-333-5800 or visiting our website at www.cloveer.com to discover what Cloveer can do for you. We also offer these options for further assistance in completing your 8(a) Application.

Option 18(a) Application Accelerator

  • This interactive, web-based program is designed to guide you through the SBA 8(a) application process with ease.  The program takes you step-by-step through the creation and compilation of all the documentation necessary to submit your SBA 8(a) application. Moreover, it shows you how to organize your 8(a) application in the preferred SBA format.  As the nation’s #1 selling 8(a) application completion tool, we guarantee that no other program makes the process faster.

Option 28(a) Application Review

  • For those who wish to complete the application on their own, either using the 8(a) Application Accelerator or by other means, we offer an 8(a) Application Review service.  Here, one of our 8a program experts will review your entire application, checking it for missing documents and potential eligibility issues.  We will then advise you as to how best to modify your application to ensure it will be approved an SBA reviewer.

Option 38a Application Completion Service

  • The majority of our clients however, prefer a little more of a hands-on approach.  They recognize the expertise we have accumulated in the over 14 years we’ve been assisting clients obtain 8(a) certification, and want us to put it to use for them.  If you opt for our 8(a) Application Completion Service, we will work one-on-one with you to ensure that your 8(a) Application is 100% complete and compliant so the SBA can review and accept it the first time.

How to get 8(a) Certified if your firm has been in business for less than two years.

The SBA may waive the 2 year requirement if you meet each of the following conditions:

Condition 1: The individual or individuals upon whom eligibility is based have substantial business management experience.

In order to prove that the applicant and other key individuals of the business concern meet this condition, the individual or individuals resumes and past employment history must exhibit significant management experience either;

a. previously employed performing management duties (VP, CFO, President, Director) with a firm that operated in the primary industry or NAICS code  that the business concern is seeking 8(a) Certification for, or;

b. has owned and operating a similar business concern in the past.

In addition, the applicant and other key individuals of the business concern must also have the required technical capabilities, if required in your business situation. The applicant must also hold all requisite licenses and professional certifications within a firm who have been in business for less than two years.

Condition 2: The applicant has demonstrated technical experience to carry out its business plan with a substantial likelihood for success if admitted to the 8(a) BD program.

In order to prove that you meet this condition, you must provide evidence of a business plan or some semblance of a business plan that:

a. Details your Marketing/Sales, Products/Services, Management/Organizational/Personnel and Finance goals and demonstrated progress towards the goals you specified.

b. Outlines any unique or special technical expertise that you and your team have and how you believe it will sustain your business during its early formative years.

You must also provide copies of independent reference letters from your clients, directly addressed to the applicant, that establish successful contract performance.

Condition 3: The applicant has adequate capital to sustain the operations and carry out its business plan as a participant.

In order to prove you meet this condition, your business must have sufficient working capital. Sufficient working capital is usually defined as a minimum of 3 months worth of liquid working capital immediately available. Your business bank account (s) statements must show that you have 3 times your monthly burn rate, at a minimum. In lieu of cash, a business line of credit may be substituted.

You should also describe your general payment terms and what actions your business takes to expedite the timely collection of receivables.

Condition 4: The applicant has a record of successful performance on contracts from governmental or nongovernmental sources in its primary industry category.

In order to prove you meet this condition you must provide proof of a minimum of at least two completed contracts showing operating revenues earned in the primary industry (NAICS code) in which it is seeking 8(a) Certification. The contracts must meet the following minimum conditions:

a. Show that you billed and received a minimum of $50,000 – $100,000. You must have at least one tax return filed for the business that shows revenue earned in the primary NAICS code. This being said, you cannot apply for the waiver if your business just started up and has not filed a tax return yet.

b. The contracts must be with different entities and show that not more than 70% of the total operating revenue earned is with one single entity. The 70% rule does not apply if your direct billable client is a federal, state or local government agency.

Copies of all paid invoices and business bank account statements to support the operating revenue earned and collected from the contracts will need to be provided.

If you have a potential federal client that may want to procure your products or services, should you become 8(a) certified, you should provide letters of noncommittal as additional evidence.

In addition, the SBA may require proof that the government previously procured and is likely to procure the types of products or services offered by your business. Proof can be provided in the form of fbo.gov or FPDS.gov printouts of previous procurements that have occurred and are similar in nature to your products or services offered

Condition 5: The applicant has, or can demonstrate its ability to timely obtain, the personnel, facilities, equipment, and any other requirements needed to perform contracts as a Participant.

In order to prove you meet this condition you must provide an explanation of current and future personnel requirements, facilities and equipment.

For personnel requirements you should detail the current number of employees you have, any future hiring and how you will recruit and attract additional employees including timelines for hiring and any special relationship that exist with recruiters, personnel agencies and temporary agencies.

For facilities requirements you should detail your current office space, any future locations or expansions, how you will lease or purchase new office space including any relationships that exist with local commercial real estate brokers.

For equipment requirements you should detail your current equipment owned or leased that is needed to perform on contracts, any future equipment needed along with where you will lease or purchase and how you will finance or lease the equipment needed.

If you want more information on becoming 8(a) Certified, please visit http://www.cloveer.com/8aprogram.html or call us at 813-333-5800.

Do you meet the 70% Economic Dependency Rule?

Economic Dependence is a significant obstacle to the eligibility of many applicants desiring to gain 8(a) Certification for their firms. In fact, it is currently the issue for which we have to turn the greatest number of potential applicants away, until the issue is resolved.

Here is a simple flow chart that will help you determine if economic dependency applies to your business. Click on the chart below to see a larger image.

Economic Dependency Chart

Economic Dependency Chart

Need assistance with your 8(a) Application? With 14 years and over 2,000 successful applications under our belt, we can assure you that no matter which option you choose, Cloveer will work harder and faster to get your business SBA 8a certified.  Contact us today at 813-333-5800 or visiting our website at www.cloveer.com to discover what Cloveer can do for you. We also offer these options for further assistance in completing your 8(a) Application.

Option 18(a) Application Accelerator

  • This interactive, web-based program is designed to guide you through the SBA 8(a) application process with ease.  The program takes you step-by-step through the creation and compilation of all the documentation necessary to submit your SBA 8(a) application. Moreover, it shows you how to organize your 8(a) application in the preferred SBA format.  As the nation’s #1 selling 8(a) application completion tool, we guarantee that no other program makes the process faster.

Option 28(a) Application Review

  • For those who wish to complete the application on their own, either using the 8(a) Application Accelerator or by other means, we offer an 8(a) Application Review service.  Here, one of our 8a program experts will review your entire application, checking it for missing documents and potential eligibility issues.  We will then advise you as to how best to modify your application to ensure it will be approved an SBA reviewer.

Option 38a Application Completion Service

  • The majority of our clients however, prefer a little more of a hands-on approach.  They recognize the expertise we have accumulated in the over 14 years we’ve been assisting clients obtain 8(a) certification, and want us to put it to use for them.  If you opt for our 8(a) Application Completion Service, we will work one-on-one with you to ensure that your 8(a) Application is 100% complete and compliant so the SBA can review and accept it the first time.