Government Contracting (Part IV) Required Certifications for Pursuing Government Contracts

GSA partners shaking hands

Last time we explored how to prepare to do business with the government by acquiring your DUNS # and CAGE Code. We also discussed some of the steps that will help you be found by contracting officers.

When it comes to government contracting, there are actually several levels. These levels are:

  • Federal level as prime and/or subcontracting to a large prime.
  • State-level prime contracting and/or subcontracting to a large prime.
  • Municipal and School Districts
  • Utilities

Understanding the differences between them is imperative in developing a strategy to pursue any of these types of markets. Each of them have different requirements and different language in their announcements, solicitations, and contracts, and knowing this in advance will guide you in the roadmap of success.

Certifications to Pursue Government Contract

Certifications for Federal contracts

The federal sector spends about 25% of its trillion dollars in procurement with small businesses, so a great strategy is to open the door using a small business certification such as Small Business (SB), Woman Owned Small Business (WOSB), Economically Disadvantaged Woman Owned Small Business (EDWOSB), Veteran Owned Small Business (VOSB), Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB), 8(a) – A socioeconomic certification, Hub Zone ( a geographic certification). These are the only certifications recognized at the federal and federal prime contractor level.

Did you know that if you are a veteran, minority, woman owner of a business you can receive special incentives and preferences when competing for federal government contracts? Called the rule of 3, all you need is 51% ownership in your company, Operational control of your company (knowledge of daily work), and management control where you can not be outvoted by shareholders.

Certifications for the State Level

At the State level, very few states incentivize the small business community like California, New York and Texas. In California, for example, they recognize Micro Business, Small Business, and Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise (DVBE). New York does the same, and Texas lumps all small businesses in a Hub certification.

Understanding Municipal and School District opportunities

For municipalities and school districts, each one is different and helps to ask if they have small business programs to open the door to contracting opportunities for your business. Again, in California, most school districts recognize Small Businesses and DVBEs (parallel to the State certification program).

Certifications recognized by Utilities

And finally, the utility and Supplier Diversity sectors recognize Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (*DBE, generally obtained through your county MTA), Minority Business Enterprises (MBE), Woman Business Enterprises (WBE), and many recognize some form of Disabled Veteran.

Today, we covered most of the information on certifications. Next time we will discuss diverse certifications and unique cases in which you will want to consider them.

Read Part V Here

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