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Aspiring 8a

8(a) Question: “Can I have a full-time job and get certified?”

For 8(a) purposes, the SBA wants for an individual applying for the 8(a) Certification to have full-time devotion to the firm in which they are applying. “Full-time devotion” is also a requirement for most federal or state certifications.



The majority owner of the company must prove that she or he is working full-time during traditional business hours for the applicant firm, as well as being totally in control of the management of said firm.


Certifications with Full-time Devotion Requirement

* 8(a) Certification through the SBA

* WOSB & EDWOSB Self Certifications through the SBA (Woman Owned Small Business & Economically Disadvantaged Woman Owned Small Business)

* SDVOSB & VOSB Verification through the VA (Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business & Veteran Owned Small Business)

* WBENC (Women’s Business Enterprise National Council) Certification

* NMSDC (National Minority Supplier Development Council) Certification

* State specific MBE – various agencies (Minority Business Enterprise)

* State specific DBE – State DOT (Disadvantaged Business Enterprise)

* State specific WBE – various agencies (Women’s Business Enterprise)  



I often times see different scenarios where the individual that owns the company is simultaneously working a full-time job while running the applicant company as well. While this is the most efficient method to start a business and ensure that the bills get paid, it does not work when pursuing certification.


As a consultant, I have submitted applications in which the majority owner is “burning the midnight oil as well as the candle at both ends” hoping to secure certification approval in order to work full-time for the business. The outcome of this type of application generally results in lengthy questioning from the certifying agency.


Key Point

If you have outside employment and are looking to get certified with one of the agencies mentioned above, the most successful scenario would be to show that your outside time commitment with other employment occurs on evenings and weekends. This explanation and schedule allows for normal business hours for the firm in which you are applying for the certification (8:00am-5:00pm, etc.). This route however will require explanation of outside employment work schedule as well as documentation for hours worked. This documentation can take the form of a letter written by the outside agency confirming your hours of employment.


Most other scenarios will require the majority owner to separate her or himself from the “W-2 job” after the applicant company can sustain her or his livelihood.


If you have any other questions about full-time devotion, or are interested in any federal and/or state certification or federal contracting, I would recommend contacting an industry expert such as ez8a. They do no charge for an initial consultation and can be reached at (859)442-3300.


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