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 www.cloveer.com to discover what Cloveer can do for you. We also offer these options for further assistance in completing your 8(a) and HUBZone Application.

8(a) Application Assistance

Option 18(a) Application Review

  • For those who wish to complete the application on their own 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 28a 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.

HUBZone Application Assistance

Option 1HUBZone Application Review

  • For those who wish to complete the application on their own we offer a HUBZone Application Review service.  Here, one of our HUBZone 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 2HUBZone 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 HUBZone certification, and want us to put it to use for them.  If you opt for our HUBZone Application Completion Service, we will work one-on-one with you to ensure that your HUBZone Application is 100% complete and compliant so the SBA can review and accept it the first time.
Advertisements

Tips on finding 8(a) contract opportunities

The federal government is the largest buyer in the world, but how do you know what agency will buy what you sell?

What do government agencies buy and where to locate opportunities?

The federal government buys everything from office supplies to missiles. No matter what your product or services are, chances are there is a federal agency that buys it.  But you can’t sell your products or services to the federal government if you don’t know which federal agencies are buying and what their needs are.

Here are some tips for finding 8(a) contract opportunities:

  1. The federal government operates an online service called Federal Business Opportunities, known as FBO or FedBizOpps. This single entry, government wide Web site, https://www.fbo.gov, announces available business opportunities and is a powerful tool to help you become successful in government contracting. The site identifies contract opportunities over $25,000.

You can narrow down your search for 8(a) set-aside contract opportunities or set-up an account to automatically receive targeted opportunities via email. We suggest that you specifically look for 8(a) opportunities that are in the pre-solicitation or sources sought phase as most of the other phases are too far along in the procurement process already.

  1. Contact each federal agency’s OSDBU (Office of Small Disadvantaged Business Utilization) office. The OSDBU’s ensure that small and disadvantaged businesses are provided maximum practicable opportunity to participate in the agency’s contracting process. The primary responsibility of the OSDBU is to ensure that small businesses are treated fairly and have an opportunity to compete and be selected for a fair amount of the agency’s contracting and subcontracting dollars. You can find the contact information for each OSDBU office by visiting https://business.usa.gov/OSDBU-Offices.

Most OSDBU offices also offer the availability of looking at their procurement forecasts,  as well as doing business with guides, organization charts with names and phone numbers for points of contact. Each web site should list the Small Business Specialist’s name and telephone number. Contact the Small Business Specialists at targeted installations to request pamphlets, guides, web sites, bidder’s list applications, etc.

Agencies use a variety of means for purchasing items.  8(a) firms should become familiar with how those buying offices advertise these requirements and then monitor them closely.  Most government agencies have common purchasing needs. The government can realize economies of scale by centralizing the purchasing of certain types of products or services.

  1. Visit the Federal Procurement Data System web site. It contains every federal procurement that has ever taken place. The web site can be found by visiting https://www.fpds.gov.

You can search and find out which federal agency is buying your products or services, the names of your competitors who were awarded past contracts, their dollar value, location, NAICS code and more.

Once you have an idea of who you can sell your products and services to, your local Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTACs) (http://www.aptac-us.org/) may offer workshops for small businesses to acquire a basic understanding of the federal government procurement process. Some locations also offer services such as matching a firm’s capabilities with federal solicitations advertised in FedBizOpps, information on subcontracting opportunities, one-to-one technical assistance in completing bid packages and other paperwork, etc.

When Will the Agency Buy It Again?

As stated above, most agencies publish procurement forecasts on their web sites. Procurement forecasts are wish lists of proposed contract opportunities that may or may not come to fruition. Procurement history may be more reliable.  If they’ve been buying it for years, they may continue to buy it. You may want to try to identify knowledgeable officials at the buying agency and then ask for their opinions. But again, their information may be subject to change.  Much of what an agency buys depends on their budget. You should also develop a good rapport with buying agency officials.

One of the most important things that you have to do next is to convince the buying agency that they should buy from you. If the buying agency is using a competitive procurement process, why should it consider using 8(a) procedures? You must show that your business is competent, capable and reasonably priced. Make it in the buying agency’s best interests to contract with you.

If the buying agency is currently using 8(a) procedures, why should it contract with you and not some other 8(a) firm?  How will you provide better service, better quality or better prices?  What is it that you can do to either solve the buying agency’s problems, or prevent problems from occurring, or provide insight into problem solving more than any other firm?  Show them what you bring to the table.

Selling to the federal government is not that much different from selling to the private sector. It all comes down to marketing.  Your 8(a) status is a marketing tool that allows you to get your foot in the door at buying agencies, but you must use the tool wisely. Unless you have an unlimited marketing budget and personnel, you will have to decide which and how many agencies to target. Realistically, an 8(a) company can effectively market only three, four, or at most, five agencies. Which agencies you decide to market will depend on the factors discussed above.

8(a) Certification: Family members with ownership in another business. What do I need to know and provide?

When you apply for the 8(a) Program the SBA will ask if you have any immediate family members who have ownership in a business. Why? 13 C.F.R 121.103(f) defines that the SBA may find affiliation on an identity of interest between individuals or business, including family members.

Immediate family member is defined as father, mother, husband, brother, sister, grandfather, grandmother, grandson, grand-daughter, father-in-law, and mother-in-law.

Tip: They do not ask this question upfront. To alleviate any questions by the SBA during the review process you should provide a signed and dated certification that you or any immediate family members do not have ownership in any other business during the application submission process, if this is the case.

If you do have an immediate family member that has ownership interest in any other business you must provide the following documentation to the SBA:

The above must be supplied if any immediate family member, any owner of more than 10%, any director, any officer has ownership in any other business entity.

  1. SBA Form 355 (listing each firm as an alleged affiliate);
  2. Interim year to date financial statements, as well as number of employees;
  3. Three most recently filed business tax returns, including all schedules, attachments, and proof of tax paid;
  4. If the firm is a corp, provide:
    – Articles of incorporation and by-laws;
    – The last two years of  shareholder meeting minutes showing the election of the board of directors;
    – The last two years of board of director meeting minutes showing the election of the officers;
    – Stock certificates and ledger;
    – Assumed/fictitious name registration, if dba name is used;
    Copies of cert of good standing if your firm is a foreign firm; and;
    – Any buy/sell agreements, stock transfer agreements, etc.
    If the firm is a LLC, provide:
    – Articles of organization and operating agreement;
    – Assumed/fictitious name registration, if a dba name is used;
    – Certificate of good standing; and
    – Any buy/sell agreements, stock transfer agreements, etc.If the firm is a sole prop, provide:
    – Assumed/fictitious name registration.

    If the firm is a partnership, provide:
    – Partnership agreement;
    – Official filings with the state; and
    – Assumed/fictitious name registration, if a dba name is used.

Why do they require this information?
The SBA requires the above information to determine if any affiliation exists between the 8(a) Applicant firm and any other business that your family member owns.

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 Review

  • For those who wish to complete the application on their own 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 28a 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.

 

 

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.
c. Breakdown of all contracts/revenues earned within the last 12 months.

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 and invoices earned within the last 12 months. 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 Review

  • For those who wish to complete the application on their own 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 28a 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.

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 Review

  • For those who wish to complete the application on their own 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 28a 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.