Do I qualify for 8a Certification?

Failure to spend the time to find out whether you fully qualify can:

1. Result in a formal denial of your 8a application by the SBA. If this happens, you cannot re-apply for 12 months from the date you are denied.

2. Result in a seemingly endless 8a application review process at the SBA and cost your business concern the ability to bid on and win federal set-aside 8a contracts.

3. Cause you to spend 40+ hours putting together a bunch of paperwork that will result in nothing more than a paper weight.

Below are just 16 of the 8a Application “Killers”. These will immediately tell you whether you have an issue that may prevent you from qualifying for 8a Certification.

1. The applicant (51% of more owner) must be a US Citizen when they apply.

2. The applicant must devote full time to the business concern that is applying for 8a Certification when they apply. This means that they must work at least 40 hours per week in the business concern without any outside employment.

3. The applicant must hold the highest management position within the business concern. Generally this is the CEO, President or Managing Member.

4. The applicant must be able to demonstrate that they are the highest compensated. Generally the SBA will deny your 8a application if you cannot demonstrate the applicant currently is the highest compensated or there is a very good reason why they have elected not to be.

5 The applicant must have an adjusted net worth of less than $250,000 at the time they apply. Adjusted net worth = Assets – liabilities – (Equity in primary residence + value of ownership interest in business concern). To determine what your adjusted net worth is click here.

6. The applicant’s AGI (Adjusted Gross Income) cannot be more than $200,000 averaged over the last two tax years. If you suspect that your AGI is over the limit click here.

7. The applicant must generally hold all licenses or professional certifications required to operate the business concern.

8. If the applicant has ownership in another business concern other than the business concern that is applying for 8a Certification the SBA will most likely determine that you do not devote full time and therefore deny your 8a application. There are ways to solve this issue and they vary depending on your unique condition.

9. The applicant cannot be on probation or parole. If the applicant has been arrested in the past it does not automatically deny them unless they were convicted of a specific crime. Having an arrest, regardless of how long ago, will severely delay the review of your 8a Application.

10. The business concern must have been in business for 2 full years. In addition, the last two years of its filed tax returns must show a reasonable amount of total sales. If it has not, you must seek a waiver and meet the 5 conditions set by the SBA to overcome this condition. Click here for detailed information on each of the 5 conditions.

11. The business concern and the applicant cannot have any delinquent tax filings or have any unpaid Federal, State or local obligations at the time of application. This condition can be overcome by filing the proper extension for delinquent taxes or by providing evidence of a current re-payment arrangement for unpaid Federal, State or local obligations.

12. The business concern must be at least 51% directly owned by the applicant. The business concern must be a for-profit business and cannot be classified as a broker or be a subsidiary of another business concern.

13. The business concern’s current financial statements must exhibit positive net income, positive net equity and positive working capital at the time of application submission. The SBA requires that the business concern meets “Potential for Success”.

14. The business concern must not have earned more than 70% of its total revenue within the last 12 months with one single client. This does not apply to a business concern if its direct billing client is a Federal or State Government.

15. The applicant or business concern cannot have previously participated as an 8a participant. The applicant cannot have any immediate family members who are current participants in the 8(a) Program.

16. The business concern must be defined as a “Small Business” by the Federal Government. Your primary NAICS code, gross sales and sometimes the number of employees define your size standard that the SBA will base its determination on.

These are just 16 of the “Killers” that can potentially prevent your 8a Certification application from being successful. There are additional “Killers” and other areas that you should be concerned with prior to making the decision on whether you fully qualify for 8a Certification. If you have additional questions or would like to discuss your specific business situation, please call us at 813-333-5800. You can also take our Free 8a Eligibility Questionnaire.

Spending the time upfront to ensure that your firm meets all of the eligibility requirements for 8a Certification can save you countless hours of frustration, the expense of putting the application together and the difference between obtaining formal 8a Certification or not.

8a Certification – A Powerful Tool You Should Have In Your Toolbox

There is a lot of opportunity within the federal government for minority, women, handicapped and service disabled owned businesses. The federal government has a very large budget, a lot of customers and a seemingly endless list of requirements that must be met.

In order to work with the federal government you need patience, a clear cut strategy and funding.

But most importantly you need a tool that the federal government can use to get to your products and services.

One powerful tool is SBA 8a Certification.

Getting 8(a) Certified

Navigating through the complex 8a Application process can be daunting.

Many companies find the need to outsource the 8a Application process to a company that specializes in getting companies 8a Certified. Why? The process is very time intensive and most business owners need this time to focus on their core competencies and realize that completing the complex SBA 8a Application is not a skill set of theirs. Using a company that specializes in getting companies 8a Certified can provide a good return on investment (ROI), is a very good use of resources available and can be much faster than doing it themselves.

8a Certification is like getting a license to hunt for business. It does not automatically bring in new business but it gives your more opportunities if you are already out there. 8a Certification is just one tool in your important toolbox that can be used to open doors and give your business a “leg-up” in the federal contracting arena.

Developing a Clear Cut Strategy Once You’ve Become 8a Certified

Every agency has an Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU). You as the business owner need to be out there formulating relationships with the key contacts within the OSDBU’s. They may use your 8(a) Certification to procure your products and services but ultimately they buy from people and it is about the relationships you establish.

We suggest you start with a narrow focus. Focus on one agency that is closely aligned to your core competencies.

Find an agency that is small business friendly. Some are more small business friendly than others.

Work to develop your relationships within that agency both directly, with your key contacts and indirectly, with prime vendors through subcontracting relationships.

The Importance of Funding for Your Business Once You’ve Become 8a Certified.

It is important to also have a strong financial infrastructure for your business. Two things that can put a company out of business are unmanaged growth and under capitalization. Many young 8a Certified companies company are at risk for one or both of these.

Unmanaged growth can occur when you land a large federal 8a set-aside contract and you are unable to meet the manpower, facility or other contract needs in a timely and cost effective manner.

Under capitalization can occur when you have to scale quickly and hire people but can’t pay those people. This can literally put you out of business. It is important for your business to have a strong financial backbone.

The best time to look for a bank that believes in your business plan, mission and vision and that can help you grow strategically is when things are going well. The time to go evaluate potential banks for funding is when you have profits. Setting up these funding relationships before you need them, not when you are in panic mode is important so you can think strategically.

If you are looking for a company to assist in the process of getting your business 8a Certified, contact us today to discover what Cloveer can do for you.