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.

Do you meet the 70% Economic Dependency Rule?

Economic Dependence is a significant obstacle to the eligibility of many applicants desiring to gain 8(a) Certification for their firms. In fact, it is currently the issue for which we have to turn the greatest number of potential applicants away, until the issue is resolved.

Here is a simple flow chart that will help you determine if economic dependency applies to your business. Click on the chart below to see a larger image.

Economic Dependency Chart

Economic Dependency Chart

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.

 

Active SBA 8(a) Certified Firms as of July 1, 2014 by Location

There are 7,078 active SBA 8(a) Certified firms as of July 1, 2014. Below is an info graphic showing the location by state and number of active SBA 8(a) Certified firms. The source of this information is the SBA Dynamic Small Business database.

8(a) Certified Firms as of July 1, 2014

8(a) Certified Firms as of July 1, 2014

The top five states with 8(a) Certified Firms are:
1. Virginia – 880
2. California – 789
3. Maryland – 668
4. Texas – 605
5. Florida – 441

The top five states or US territories with the lowest number of 8(a) Certified firms are:
1. Vermont – 2
2. U.S. Virgin Islands – 3
3. Rhode Island – 7
4. Delaware – 9
5. North Dakota  – 10

This information is provided by Cloveer.com.

Cloveer provides products and services on the SBA 8(a), HUBZone and VA VetBiz programs.

Have additional Questions? or want to get started on your SBA 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.

 

8(a) Program. Ownership vs. Control

Control is not the same as ownership. For example a disadvantaged individual may own 51% of the business that is applying for 8(a) Certification but they may be found to not unconditionally control the company by the SBA.

As defined by the SBA in CFR 124.106, the SBA regards control as including both the strategic policy setting exercised by boards of directors and the day-to-day management and administration of business operations of the business.

In order to be found to control the business, here are the following requirements.

1. The disadvantaged individual must manage the daily business operations (Except for concerns owned by Indian tribes, ANC’s, NHO’s or CDC’s)

2. The disadvantaged individual must have managerial experience of the extent and complexity to run the business.

3. The disadvantaged individual need not have the technical expertise or possess the required license to be found to control the business if he or she can demonstrate that he or she has ultimate managerial control over those who possess the required license or technical expertise. However – where a critical license is held by a non-disadvantaged individual have an equity interest in the business, the non-disadvantaged individual may be found to control the business.

4. The disadvantaged individual must work full-time in the business, without any outside employment. In addition, the disadvantaged individual must devote full-time during the the normal working hours of the business. If the disadvantaged individual works in a wholly owned subsidiary of the business this full-time devotion may be considered to meet the requirement of full-time devotion.

5. The disadvantaged individual must hold the highest officer position in the business. (Usually President or CEO)

6. The disadvantaged individual must be physically located in the USA.

7. If the business is a partnership, the disadvantaged individual must serve as the the general partner with control over all partnership decisions.

8. If the business is a limited liability company, the disadvantaged individual must serve as management members with control over all decisions of the LLC.

9. If the business is a corporation, the disadvantaged individual must control the Board of Directors. See CFR 124.106 for Board of Director Control requirements.

10. No non-disadvantaged individual or immediate family member may be a former employer or principal of any disadvantaged individual, unless the relationship between the former employer or principal and the disadvantaged individual does not give the former employer actual control or the potential to control the business and such relationship is in the best interest of the business.

11. The disadvantaged individual must be the highest compensated individual.

12. Non-disadvantaged individuals who transfer the majority ownership or control of the firm to an immediate family member, within two years prior to the 8(a) Application and remain involved in the firm are presumed to control the firm.

13. The disadvantaged individual must be a guarantor of any critical financing or bond, if required.

14. Business relationships that exist with non-disadvantaged individuals or entities which cause economic dependence will cause a control issue.

Have additional Questions? or want to get started on your SBA 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.

 

 

 

10 Resume Tips for SBA 8(a) Applicants

Every individual claiming disadvantage status, as well as each officer, director, partner, member, key employee or holder of 10% or more ownership interest in the firm applying for the 8(a) Program must submit a detailed personal resume.

Here are 10 important tips to make sure these individual’s resume contain all information required by the SBA.

1. Make sure that all employment information on the resume matches any W-2 Forms submitted with your 8(a) Application.

2. Explain any gaps in employment. If previously unemployed, state that for the gap of employment on the resume. All gaps of employment, regardless, must be explained.

3. Ensure the resume clearly outlines the respective title of the individual and corresponds with all other pertinent information contained with the 8(a) Application. Examples (all 8(a) electronic application forms, organizational chart, contracts, taxes, etc.)

4. Fully explain all current and past employment management duties and responsibilities. Not just technical duties. and responsibilities.

5. Provide a listing of all formal and informal education, courses and professional licenses or certifications. Including any major study areas in which may be applicable to your primary industry you are seeking 8(a) Certification for

6. Note any past ownership in any other business. This includes ownership in a business for holding real estate.

7. Ensure that resume for the individual claiming disadvantage status is the highest ranking officer and notes that they run the day to day operations of the business.

8. Ensure that the resume for anyone other the individual claiming disadvantage status does not indicate that they can cause negative control with the applicant firm.

9. If anyone received a W-2 from any source, other than the applicant firm, in the most recent tax year, provide a letter from each employer indicating their final date of employment to prove full time devotion.

10. Check the resumes one last time before submitting to make sure items 1-9 above have been completed.

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.

 

Do you qualify for the SBA 8(a) Program?

There are many eligibility criteria that a small business must meet to qualify for the SBA 8(a) Program. We have developed a free online 8(a) eligibility questionnaire that anyone can use to see if their business meets the 8(a) eligibility criteria.

http://www.cloveer.com/8aquestionnaire.html Screenshot

Cloveer.com 8a Program Eligibility Questionnaire

This free online 8(a) Certification Eligibility Questionnaire should generally be completed by the individual who primary 8(a) Program Eligibility will be based upon.

The questionnaire will take approximately 10-15 minutes to complete and as you answer most of the questions, it will automatically inform you if you have a potential eligibility issue.

If you find that you do qualify, we have three 8(a) Application Completion options:

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.

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 to discover what Cloveer can do for you.