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Aspiring 8a

8(a) Certification Go Time

Motivational speakers will tell you that a great way to overcome procrastination is to spend at least ten minutes on a task before giving up. The hope is that inertia can kick in and carry you through the completion of the task. The challenge for this tactic when it comes to the 8(a) application is knowing where or how to begin the process. Without a good starting point it can be difficult to overcome procrastination.

I will be giving you the first ten-minute challenge of the 8(a) process, to determine how you will complete your 8(a) application.  

The first question is…. 

Should I attempt to do this on my own?

Should I ask my accountant or attorney to do it? 

Should I work with PTAC to complete the task, or should I hire a firm that specializes in the 8(a) application?

Only the person spearheading the 8(a) application, which is generally the owner of the firm, can make this decision. However, I am providing a list of pros and cons for the four methods of completing your 8(a) application.

Doing It on Your Own

Advantage:  Lowest Cost Method

Disadvantage:  For most business owners, competently and accurately completing a one-time task application is far less profitable than focusing on their core business.

Attorney or Accountant

Advantage:  Trusted professional you work with all the time, that is familiar with your business.


  1. Unless they have completed many 8(a) applications in the past, they can make costly missteps in the application process that can harm your firm’s ability of gaining acceptance in the 8(a) BD Program.
  2. These professionals are generally working on an hourly rate and this is usually the highest cost method for obtaining your 8(a) Certification.


Advantage:  It’s Free


  1. It is generally less time consuming than completing the application on your own. However, from our experience people working through the application with PTAC usually end up working on the application for a year.
  2. PTAC only helps the company put together the application and does but not usually go through every aspect of the application. Therefore, a company may spend all this time knowing that it is not a good candidate for 8(a) at the time it submits the application.

8(a) Specialist/Consultant:


  1. The firm should in theory be able to obtain the 8(a) Certification in the least amount of time possible.
  2. The consulting firm should have the ability to pace the application so that it gets completed.

Neutral:  Specialized Consultants are not free but generally the cost should be between $4500-$7000 to complete the application compared with $12000-$20000 using a firm’s accountant or attorney.

Disadvantage:  Hiring a professional that you don’t know can cause concerns in terms of competency and security of your firm’s information. This can be overcome by checking reviews and references but should still be a concern.

I hope this information gets you off the dime. Obtaining your 8(a) Certification can greatly enhance the growth of your business. If you need assistance exploring your firm’s eligibility and potential utilizing the 8(a) Certification, I always recommend contacting an industry expert such as ez8a or Advance 8a. Neither charge for an initial consultation.


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