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.

8(a) Certification Tip – Your primary NAICS code and what’s reported on the business tax returns.

When you apply for the SBA 8(a) Program you must report to the SBA what your primary NAICS (North American Industry Classification System) code is.

Your primary NAICS code is defined as the six digit code in which your business earned its largest segment of revenue, in the most recently completed fiscal year. To get 8(a) certified you typically must have earned your largest segment of revenue in your primary NAICS code for at least the last two fiscal years. If your business has not earned the largest segment of revenue in the primary NAICS code reported to the SBA for the last two fiscal years you will need to apply with a 2 year waiver.

To determine the primary NAICS code for your business you can visit our blog post titled “How to Determine your Primary NAICS Code” for detailed instructions.

The primary NAICS code for your business must also match what is reported on your business tax returns otherwise the SBA will assume that the business does not meet the two years in business requirement.

If your primary NAICS code is different that what is reported on your filed business tax returns, and the NAICS code reported on the business tax returns is incorrect you must:

Submit a letter of explanation to SBA, as part of your 8(a) Application, from your CPA or tax preparer regarding the business activity code and service listed on the filed business tax returns vs what NAICS code that should have been reported on them. This letter will save you 15-30 days of processing by the SBA.

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.

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.