Did you ever think you could get a government contract? Certifications, and the Rule of 3

It’s nice to get back to supporting those of you who are interested in pursuing government contracts with out blogs support. After lengthy period of closing out the calendar year, and supporting our clients in their year-end close, its time to help your business win your first government contract. In the last issues of the blog, we reviewed the most basic elements of federal, state, and utility/agency contracting.

We looked at the federal government requirements of SAM registration leading to a CAGE Code, certifications at the federal government level: SDVOSB, Hub Zone, 8(a), EDWOSB/WOSB, all under the Small Business umbrella, with the exception of the Hub Zone certification which is defined as “Historically Underutilized Business Zone.” All that is required to get that certification is to go to the SBA website, click here, identify the area of your office location and then have 35% of your employees living in any hub zone.

Then we moved to states. Many states recognize small businesses and disabled veteran business enterprises, called DVBE. Some other states recognize some of the certifications listed below in the agency/utility certifications. Again, most states require their contracts to utilize small businesses by placing language in their solicitations that requires small business utilization; such as New York, which has a 6% DVBE utilization, and California which has a 25% small business goal in its state procurement and a 3% DVBE utilization.

Each city and county around the country is autonomous and has the ability to implement various diversity requirements in their contracting environment. For example, the County of Los Angeles recognizes DVBE and provides an 8% bid preference. Metro in Los Angeles now has Small Business set asides and is pursuing 25% of its procurement spend on small businesses and 3% DVBE on all non-federally funded contracts. All federally funded contracts throughout the country in the transportation space have a minimum DBE utilization (explained below).

At many levels of government, Agency, Utility, Transportation, and some of the cities; they provide incentives for Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBE), Minority Business Enterprises (MBE), Women Business Enterprises (WBE), and the Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise (DVBE). There are a couple of ways to evaluate whether your company qualifies for any of these certifications. You must meet the Rule of 3 in its entirety: Ownership, Operational Control, Management Control.

Ownership: the owner must have a minimum of 51% of the available stock, in other words, if disabled veterans, one or more disabled veterans must own a minimum of 51%, same stipulations apply in terms of ownership with any of the other certifications. Concerning Operational and Management Control, the owner (s) must have knowledge of the industry the business is in or the ability to oversee the operations. Concerning Management Control, the owner (s) must have the ability to make the final decision regarding the company’s obligations, liabilities, contracts, etc.

In the next issue, we will review the sources and strategies to get certified.