5 common misconceptions about getting 8a Certified

1. It’s easy to get SBA 8a Certified.

There are less than 10,000 active 8a program participants currently. There has never been more than 10,000 active 8a Program Participants at any one time in the 8a program’s history. The SBA returns over 90% of all 8a applications submitted and rejects 70% of all applications.

2. All I need to do is fill out the SBA’s 8a electronic application.

The SBA’s 8a electronic application is a very small portion of the overall 8a application. Most 8a applications are several hundred pages in length once you include all of the supporting documents required to be submitted along with it. The SBA does not accept any of these supporting documents electronically and they only provide a list of the supporting documents and do not tell you what requirements each of these supporting documents must meet.

3. Once I get 8a certified, I am guaranteed a federal contract.

Getting 8a certified does not guarantee that you will receive an 8a contract. In fact, about 50% of all 8a program participants never receive one contract because they do not know how to market their business to the federal government. Getting 8a certified will certainly open opportunities at the federal level but you must still spend the time and effort in marketing your business to potential federal clients.

4. My ASBDC, PTAC  and local SBA office told me I qualified to become 8a Certified.

There are two processing offices (King of Prussia, PA and San Francisco, CA) that review all 8a applications submitted. Final determination is made within the Washington, DC office. There are roughly 11 reviewers within the two processing offices and they are the individuals who review your 8a Application paperwork. Anyone who tells you that you qualify for 8a certification before reviewing all of your application paperwork does not know what they are talking about.

5. I don’t need any assistance in putting my 8a Application together.

Unless you understand the SBA Program Regulations, you should not attempt to put your 8a Application together yourself. The SBA 8a Application has many tripwires and potential application “killers” that could cause your 8a application to be returned for incompleteness or even rejected. We suggest that you find some assistance to help in some or all areas of your 8a Application.

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The real benefits of getting SBA 8a Certified

By becoming SBA 8a Certified, your business concern will benefit by:

1) Having exclusive access to sole source/non-competitive and competitive set-aside federal contracts.  Sole source/non-competitive contracts will be available to your business concern for federal contracts with a total value up to $4 million for services and up to $6.5 million for manufacturing.  Federal contracts for 8a Certified firms that have a total contract value of more than $4 million for services and more than $6.5 million for manufacturing must be competed but only against other 8a Certified firms.

2) Limiting your potential competition. The big guys (e.g. Lockheed Martin, Turner Construction, etc.) will not have access to these federal contracts. In addition, there are less than 10,000 certified 8a business concerns currently participating in the 8a Program in the entire U.S.

3) Making you attractive to a larger federal government prime contractor. Since a business concern that is not considered small by SBA does not have access set-aside 8a contracts, you will be more attractive for teaming, joint ventures or mentor/protégé relationships.

4) Making it easier for your Federal client to purchase your products or services. 8a set-aside contracts require much less paperwork, time and bureaucracy. 8a contracts cannot be protested, only the size of the 8a participant can be questioned.

5) Getting you the contract/work faster. 8a contracts take much less time to be awarded than most other procurement methods.

Now that you know the primary benefits of becoming 8a Certified, what are waiting for? The key to getting successfully 8a certified is to get it done right the first time. We at Cloveer have assisted more than 2,000 business concerns to get through the tough 8a application process.