More and more companies are choosing to focus their attention on acquiring the 8(a) Certification. According to our sources at the SBA, the number of weekly applications was up from the normal average of 25 to over 120 last week. This spike in applications is likely due to the fact that the average 8(a) firm makes nearly $7MM per year in federal contracts, and during times of economic uncertainty, government contracting is a sure bet given they are always doing business.
Therefore, during times of higher 8(a) application volume, it is important that firms submit “clean and tight” applications to reduce the SBA reviewer’s burden of time on their application. Part of submitting such an application is the applicant’s resume. I will go over the ins-and-outs of the 8(a) applicant’s resume, and why it is an important part of the application.
8(a) Resume Basics
First, your resume must be up to date, containing all prior employers in which the applicant worked. The resume should contain pertinent information such as the company name, job title, job duties and dates of employment.
The resume must match up to all 1099’s and/or W-2’s that are included with your tax returns.
Your resume should go back ten years or more, and include all education and certifications the applicant possesses. It is a good idea as well to highlight information the SBA will find relevant in evaluating the applicant.
SBA Resume Evaluation Process
Potential for Success - Does the applicant have the skills necessary to be successful in completing federal contracts?
Resume Needs to Meet Readers Reasonable Expectations
Example of a Problematic Resume: An applicant has been a school teacher for fifteen years. She begins working for a construction company as an office manager, and 8 months after beginning her job as the office administrator she purchases 51% of the construction firm and applies for an 8(a) Certification. (The problem with this scenario is that the applicant does not have enough relevant business experience to run the firm. This resume without supplemental information to provide additional experience/clarity to the SBA will be a failure point for the application.)
Example of a Plausible Resume: An applicant begins as a laborer without an educational background. This person holds that position for two years, and then gets promoted to foreman for three years. Then they are promoted to project manager for two years, and then purchase 51% ownership in the firm. (Even though the applicant might not have an applicable college degree, the resume is logical and would meet a reasonable person’s expectations.)
Resume with 2-year Waiver
In the case of a waiver of the two years in business requirement, the applicant’s resume will be highly scrutinized in terms of educational background and industry experience as evidence for the “likelihood of success” of the business in completing federal contracts.
Resume with the Purchase of a Business
The SBA will review the buyer’s resume to determine if the new owner demonstrates enough industry experience to establish that the business is likely to be successful going forward.
Control of the Business
Certifications the business owner holds should be included as part of the applicant’s resume.
The SBA will be looking to answer the following questions:
1. Does the 8(a) applicant have all the business certifications required to run the firm?
2. Are the certifications necessary to run the business in the name of another individual?
Example: An instance of this would be a licensed surveyor, a contractor’s license for a construction firm, or being a CPA for owning an accounting firm.
3. Partial Presumed Group - If the applicant is not 100% blood heritage from a presumed group, the SBA will review the applicant’s resume to determine if the person holds her/himself out to be a member of the social group she or he is applying for 8(a) under. Belonging to social groups, which proves the applicant holds her/himself out to be part of the presumed group, will be a factor to prove social bias. Example – A person with 50% Hispanic lineage who belongs to a Hispanic American Business Group provides this evidence to the SBA.
4. Good Moral Character – The SBA will reconcile the applicant’s W-2’s to the resume to determine if the applicants resume is accurate. Deficiencies or errors in the application could be used by the SBA regarding “good moral character.” There should be no such inaccuracies in the resume.
5. Negative Control Issues – The SBA will reconcile the applicant’s employment history with names listed as the applicant firm’s customer and supplier lists. If the applicant was employed by either a large customer or a large supplier, as part of the applicant’s past employment, a negative control issue could become evident to the SBA.
The Resume can become a focal point for any and/or all of the issues stated above, therefore should be critically evaluated before presenting it to the SBA. If you have interest in obtaining an 8(a) Certification in order to take your future business development goals to the next level by focusing on the government marketplace, I always recommend contacting an industry expert such as ez8a or Advance 8a. Both have an excellent record with getting small businesses 8(a) certified. Neither charge for an initial consultation.