How to qualify for the 8(a) Program if you have been in business for less than 2 years.

Your business must possess reasonable prospects for success in competing in the private sector if admitted to the 8(a) program.

To do so, it must be in business in its primary industry classification (NAICS code) for at least two full years (24 months) immediately prior to the date of its 8(a) application and be able to provide business tax returns for each of the two previous tax years that show sufficient operating revenues earned within the primary industry (NAICS code) in which the applicant is seeking 8(a) certification for.

The SBA may waive the two years in business requirement if each of the following five conditions can be met:

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

  • Provide resumes for the 8(a) Applicant(s) showing past employment history that exhibit significant management experience such as:
    • Being previously employed performing management duties (CEO, VP, CFO, President, Director).
    • Showing you successfully operated a similar business concern in the past and/or managing projects and employees to at least the equivalent size of the contracts and number of employees that the applicant business is working on currently.
  • 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 hold all requisite licenses (Contractors, Professional Engineer, Accountant, etc.) and professional certifications within firms who have been in business for less than two years.
  • If you only have 1-3 years of business management experience you may not meet the substantial business management experience required by the SBA.

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.

  • Provide evidence of a business plan or some semblance of a business plan that:
    • Details your Marketing/Sales, Products/Services, Management/Organizational/Personnel and Finance goals and demonstrated progress towards the goals you specified.
    • 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.
  • Provide copies of independent reference letters from your active and completed 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.

  • Your business must have sufficient working capital available. Sufficient working capital is generally defined as a minimum of 3 months’ worth of working capital immediately available to your business.
  • Provide your most recent business bank account (s) statements that support that you have 3 times your monthly burn rate.
  • In lieu of cash in your business bank account, a business line of credit may be substituted. In this case, you will need to provide a copy of the business line of credit documents and a current statement showing the availability of enough working capital.
  • You should also describe your general payment terms and what actions your business takes to expedite the timely collection of receivables including how fast you typically receive payments from invoices.

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

  • Provide at least one business tax return showing approximately $100,000 to $150,000 in gross receipts. The business tax return provided must be the most recently filed year with the IRS (2018). If your most recently filed business tax return (2018) shows none or less than $100,000 you will most likely not be able to seek a waiver.
  • Be able to display to the SBA that your business is not economically dependent on one client for more than 70% of your revenues from its inception. This means that your breakdown of contracts must show you are earning revenues from multiple entities, within the primary NAICS code you are seeking 8(a) Certification for and show that not more than 70% of the total revenue earned was with one single entity. The 70% rule does not apply if your direct billable client is a federal, state or local government agency.
  • Provide copies of all paid invoices and bank statements showing the depositing of all revenue earned that matches the business financial statements provided to the SBA.
  • If you have a potential federal client that may want to procure your products or services, should you become 8(a) certified, you should attempt to obtain and provide noncommittal letters of reference 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 8(a) procurement’s that have occurred and are similar in nature to your products or services offered by your business.

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.

  • You must have all required personnel needed for your current contract requirements. You should detail the current number of employees you have, any future hiring of personnel required 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. You must also be able to show the SBA that you meet the 8(a) subcontracting requirements. See CFR §125.6 for what are the prime contractor’s limitations on subcontracting for the specific percentages.
  • 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 bonding is required, you will need to provide a letter from your surety company stating your single and aggregate amount of bonding available.

Cloveer offers a 8(a) Length of Time (Two Year) Waiver Guide and Sample for sale and immediate download through our site for $150.00. Our two year waiver guide and sample explains and shows you how to properly address all five (5) required areas.

What information will need to be provided with your 8(a) Application.

Keep in mind that each 8(a) Application is unique and document requirements vary for each 8(a) Application.

Below is a general list of items that will need to be included within your 8(a) application. Your unique application may require additional items not specified below.

  • Signed 1040 personal tax returns (last three filing years) including all schedules, attachments, W-2’s, 1099’s and proof of payment for any tax owed for each 8(a) Applicant and their spouse.
  • Signed business federal tax returns including all schedules and attachments for the last three filing years, or as many as you have been in business, if less than 3 years. Proof of payment for any tax owed may be required, if applicable.
  • Balance Sheet, Income Statement, A/P and A/R aging statements no older than 30 days old for the current year to date. Please note, your financial statements must be prepared either on an income tax basis or be GAAP compliant.
  • Balance Sheet, Income Statement, A/P and A/R aging statements for the last three completed fiscal years.
  • resume for each 8(a) Applicant and any other key officer, employee, director or 10% or more owner.
  • A detailed listing of all clients broken down by revenue earned for the last 12 months and possibly for the last three years.
  • A current certificate of good standing (required for Corporations and LLC’s only).
  • Stock certificates/Stock ledger (Corp), Membership Certificates/ledger(LLC).
  • Articles of Incorporation/Organization/Partnership filing/DBA Filing.
  • Foreign Organization Filings and associated Certificates of Good Standing (If applicable).
  • Articles of Conversion/Buy-Sell Agreements, Voting Agreements (if applicable).
  • Bylaws, Operating Agreement or Partnership Agreement.
  • Stockholder/Board or Member Meeting minutes (Most Recent).
  • Proof of US Citizenship (if required).
  • Business bank signature cards.
  • Copies of all business and special licenses.
  • Copies of any business loan agreements.
  • A copy of the current lease agreement for business.
  • A current personal financial statement and supporting statements for  the following: (Checking/Savings, IRAs with terms and conditions, Life Insurance (Cash Surrender only), Stocks/Bonds, Mortgage, Deeds, Fair Market Value for Real Estate, Home Owners Insurance Policy, Any Other Assets (Boats, RV’s, Motorcycle, Other Business Ownership, etc.), Automobile Title/Registration and associated loans, Credit Cards, Home equity or any other Loan Agreements (Student, etc.).

Want to know if you qualify for the SBA 8(a) Program?

Exploring the possibility of applying for the SBA 8(a) Program?

Don’t know where to start? The first step is to find out if you meet the SBA’s 8(a) Program eligibility requirements before you decide to take the leap into the complex 8(a) Application.

Cloveer offers a free online 8(a) eligibility questionnaire that will help determine your current state for 8(a) Program eligibility.

8(a) Eligbility Questionnaire

The questionnaire will take approximately 15-20 minutes to complete online and is free.

As you answer the majority of the questions, our tool will automatically inform you if you have a potential 8(a) Program eligibility issue.

The questionnaire covers 100% of all current 8(a) eligibility criteria.

Upon your submission of eligibility questionnaire we will review your responses and follow up to discuss your current state of 8(a) Program eligibility and answer any additional questions you might have.

8a Eligibility Tool Screenshot

Sample Screenshot of 8(a) Eligibility Questionnaire

Five 8(a) Program Annual Review Tips

TIP 1: Keep an eye on your Adjusted Net Worth. To remain economically disadvantaged while you are a participant in the SBA 8(a) Program the 8(a) applicant(s) Adjusted Net Worth must be less than $750,000 when you submit your 8(a) Annual review.

The algorithm used to determine Adjusted Net Worth for 8(a) Certification purposes is:

Adjusted Net Worth = Personal Assets – Personal Liabilities – [Equity in primary residence + value of ownership interest in applicant business + value of any IRA/401(k) or other retirement account that are subject to a penalty for early withdrawal]

If the applicant is married and the asset or liability is jointly held, you split the value 50/50. If the applicant is married and lives in a community property state, you only split assets and liabilities 50/50 if you have a transmutation or pre/post nuptial agreement that states otherwise.

You can easily determine your Adjusted Net Worth by using our adjusted net worth calculator.

Each applicant, and their spouse, must submit a separate SBA Form 413, Personal Financial Statement. Along with the SBA Form 413 you must also submit statements for each asset or liability supporting the amounts reported. These statements cannot be any older than 30 days at the time of 8a Application submission.

*Important* You cannot transfer an asset out of the applicant’s name for less than fair market value. Doing so will result in the full amount of the asset being re attributed back to the applicant.

TIP 2: Watch out for Excessive Withdrawals. Withdrawals are excessive if in the aggregate during any fiscal year of the Participant they exceed (i) $250,000 for firms with sales up to $1,000,000; (ii) $300,000 for firms with sales between $1,000,000 and $2,000,000; and (iii) $400,000 for firms with sales exceeding $2,000,000.

The term withdrawal includes, but is not limited to, the following: Cash dividends; distributions in excess of amounts needed to pay S Corporation, LLC or partnership taxes; cash and property withdrawals; payments to immediate family members not employed by the Participant; bonuses to officers; and investments on behalf of an owner. Although officers’ salaries are generally not considered withdrawals for purposes of this paragraph, SBA will count those salaries as withdrawals where SBA believes that a firm is attempting to circumvent the excessive withdrawal limitations through the payment of officers’ salaries. SBA will look at the totality of the circumstances in determining whether to include any specific amount as a withdrawal under this paragraph.

TIP 3: Watch your percentage of 8(a) vs Non 8(a) revenue earned as you enter the transitional stage of the 8(a) Program.

To ensure that Participants do not develop an unreasonable reliance on 8(a) awards, and to ease their transition into the competitive marketplace after graduating from the 8(a) program, Participants must make maximum efforts to obtain business outside the 8(a) program. Work performed by an 8(a) Participant for any Federal department or agency other than through an 8(a) contract, including work performed on orders under the General Services Administration Multiple Award Schedule program, and work performed as a subcontractor, including work performed as a subcontractor to another 8(a) Participant on an 8(a) contract, qualifies as work performed outside the 8(a) program.

During both the developmental and transitional stages of the 8(a) program, a Participant must make substantial and sustained efforts, including following a reasonable marketing strategy, to attain the targeted dollar levels of non-8(a) revenue established in its business plan. It must attempt to use the 8(a) program as a resource to strengthen the firm for economic viability when program benefits are no longer available.

Required non-8(a) business activity targets during transitional stage—(1) General. During the transitional stage of the 8(a) program, a Participant must achieve certain targets of non-8(a) contract revenue (i.e., revenue from other than sole source or competitive 8(a) contracts). These targets are called non-8(a) business activity targets and are expressed as a percentage of total revenue. The targets call for an increase in non-8(a) revenue over time.

Non-8(a) business activity targets. During their transitional stage of program participation, Participants must meet the following non-8(a) business activity targets each year:

Participant’s year in the transitional stage Non-8(a) business activity targets (required minimum non-8(a) revenue as a percentage of total revenue)
1 15
2 25
3 35
4 45
5 55

TIP 4: Make sure your financial statements breakout 8(a) and Non 8(a) Revenue.

Your annual financial statements, specifically your Profit & Loss Statement, must show a breakout of your revenue earned by any 8(a) contract revenue and any non 8(a) revenue. This is a common issue we see when we perform 8(a) Annual Reviews for our clients.

TIP 5: Ensure that you provide the correct type of prepared financials depending on your gross annual receipts.

Participants with gross annual receipts of more than $10,000,000 must submit to SBA audited annual financial statements prepared by a licensed independent public accountant.

Participants with gross annual receipts between $2,000,000 and $10,000,000 must submit to SBA reviewed annual financial statements prepared by a licensed independent public accountant.

Participants with gross annual receipts of less than $2,000,000 must submit to SBA an annual statement prepared in-house or a compilation statement prepared by a licensed independent public accountant, verified as to accuracy by an authorized officer, partner, limited liability member, or sole proprietor of the Participant, including signature and date

Need assistance with your 8(a) Annual Review? With 15 years and over 2,000 successful applications under our belt, we can assure you that your 8(a) Annual Review will be completed properly.

8(a) Annual Review Completion Service

This service is designed for the 8(a) Certified business who needs an expert to prepare all aspects of their required 8(a) Annual Review paperwork.

We work one-on-one with you to ensure that your 8(a) Annual Review is completed properly so you can continue to operate within the SBA 8(a) Program each year.

  • Our staff will gather and analyze all required data so you can turn your attention to “doing business” instead of “doing paperwork”.
  • We will complete an adjusted net worth analysis to ensure you will still be considered economically disadvantaged and also an adjusted gross income analysis if necessary.
  • We will advise you of any possible eligibility issues as well as remedies to any potential problems.
  • We will complete the online 8(a) Annual Review submission and the paper/supporting sections of your 8(a) Annual Review.
  • At the conclusion of this service your 8(a) Annual Update will be 100% ready to be submitted to the SBA. All electronic and paper documents will be prepared for you and packaged the way the SBA wants it.

 

 

 

8(a) Certification: Are you earning revenue from a past employer?

When you apply for the 8(a) Program the SBA will look at your current year to date and the past two to three years of revenue and whom it earned its revenue from. If you have earned revenue from a client who happens to be your past employer the SBA may take issue with this.

The relationship your firm has with your former employer can have a negative impact on your ability to get successfully 8(a) Certified if it results in the ability for them to impact the ability for you to control your firm. Earning a large percentage of your revenue from a past employer may result in the SBA denying your application.

Why?

As stated above, the SBA will look at your mix of clients and if a large percentage of your revenue comes from a past employer they could possibly try to affiliate you with your past employer since you had a employer/employee relationship. There is no magical number for the percentage since they look at the totality of the relationship such as contracts, subcontracts, sharing of employees, facilities, etc.

If you do have a relationship with your former employer you should try to keep any possible affiliation to a minimum.

To determine your overall state of 8(a) eligibility including possible issues such as above, please visit https://cloveer.com/8a-eligibility-questionnaire/ and complete/submit your responses to us for a free eligibility analysis.

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 cloveer.com to discover what Cloveer can do for you.

 

8(a) Certification – Contract Listing Report, Copies of Contracts and Letters of Reference

When you apply for the SBA 8(a) Program the SBA will require that you provide a detailed listing of your contracts* for the current year, through the most recently completed month, and at least the last two years along with 2 -3 letters of reference from current or past clients. You may also have to provide the SBA a copy of your client contracts for the last 12 calendar months.

*The term contract means contract, agreement, PO, etc.

The contract listing breakdown. You must detail the following to the SBA:
1. Contract Name. List the name of the contract, if applicable. (e.g., DISA Contract)
2. NAICS Code. List the six digit NAICS code which you are performing the work under. (e.g., 541511)
3. Award Date. List the date the contract was awarded (e.g., 01/01/2015)
4. Customer Name (Billable Client). List the name of the customer/client you are billing for the work being performed. (e.g. Lockheed Martin)
5. Description. Provide a brief description of the work being performed for the client. (e.g., Web based software application for DISA)
6. Total Dollar Value of Contract. List the total value of the contract. (e.g. $100,000 or TBD, ongoing if no total value)
7. Revenue earned from Client. List the amount of revenue your company has earned from this client in the current year to date and the last two fiscal years. (e.g., $53,275)

See below for a example.

sample contract listing

Sample Contract Listing

You must also prepare another breakdown for the last 12 calendar months of your revenue too. See Below for an example.

Last 12 Months of Contracts

Last 12 Months of Contracts

The SBA will also use the above breakdown’s to look at your economic dependency over these periods of measurement to see if you are or have been earning more than than 70% of your revenue from one billable client. See our blog posting on economic dependency for more information on this topic.

Reference Letters:
As stated above the SBA will also require 2-3 letters of reference from current or past clients that speak to your performance on the work performed. The letters should be on the letter writers letterhead, provide a brief description of the work performed and whether it was performed successfully, and also contain the letter writers contact information and signature.

Copies of Contracts:
Although not specified by the SBA in their 8(a) Application checklist you should gather and store electronic copies of all contracts, agreements, PO’s, etc between your firm and the client for the last 12 months as you have reported within the last 12 months of contracts/revenue breakdown. Be sure that all documents are duly signed by all parties, if the SBA requests this information from you.

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 cloveer.com to discover what Cloveer can do for you.

 

Don’t think the 8(a) Program or HUBZone Program has any work? Think Again!

If you don’t think the 8(a) Program or HUBZone Program can be a valuable tool for your business just look at the following 8(a) and HUBZone contract information pulled from the Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS) for just the period of 10/1/2014 through 09/30/2016.


8(a) Sole Source Contract Actions:
Total Action Obligations: $17,327,494,322.14
Total Contract Actions: 122,381

8(a) Competitive Contract Actions:
Total Action Obligations: $16,760,620,275.87
Total Contract Actions: 72,546

8(a) with HUBZone Preference Contract Actions:
Total Action Obligations: $13,444,789.30
Total Contract Actions: 29

Summary:
Total 8(a) Sole Source, Competitive and HUBZone Preference:

Total Action Obligations: $34,101,559,387.31
Total Contract Actions: 194,956


HUBZone Set-Aside Contract Actions:
Total Action Obligations: $3,300,688,237.85
Total Contract Actions: 23,405

HUBZone Sole Source Contract Actions:
Total Action Obligations: $78,474,087.11
Total Contract Actions: 1,014

Summary:
Total HUBZone Set-Aside and Sole Source:

Total Action Obligations: $3,379,162,324.96
Total Contract Actions: 24,419


Need assistance with your 8(a)  or HUBZone 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 8(a) or HUBZone certified.  Contact us today at 813-333-5800 or visiting our website at cloveer.com to discover what Cloveer can do for you.