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Metro’s DBE Certification

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(818)551-9400

 

As Business Owners, we always try to promote and brand ourselves to everyone we can. This includes but is not limited to, other business owners, family, friends etc. We get particularly excited when a close friend calls us for assistance. Three years ago, I met with a friend of mine who is a producer and video editor. I mentioned to him the advantages of becoming certified as a Minority Owned Business. I told him what I would tell any other business owner, regarding the benefits and advantages for Minority Owned Business and doing business with Federal, State and Local Agencies.

Although I frequently see this friend, he did not proceed with the certification immediately. Fast forward three years to 2015 and I receive a call from him letting me know of an opportunity coming up with Metro in September of this year. Of course I was excited for him and told him I would help. With 3 weeks from the due date of the proposal, I sincerely wanted to help my friend grow his business. I believe he already new the “I told you so” story, so I did not mention in it to him. My first advice to him was to focus on application and the gathering of the supporting documents so that we may submit the application as an expedited application to become approved as an SBE with Metro. Over the course of two weeks, we met multiple times to ensure the accuracy of the application. He still needed to complete the RFP and submit it by the due date, but since the RFP had a SBE Set aside, the application needed to get done first.

After submitting the completed Metro Application, my friend was approved within two weeks and the RFP was submitted on time. If he does indeed get this contract, it will significantly help his business grow over the next few years. In addition, it will give him notoriety working with Metro and also help him get future projects.

The reason I am writing this article is if my friend were to take my advice originally, he would not have to go through the stress of getting approved and complete the RFP within a two week time period. This put a significant strain on him because he needed the certification to bid on the project, we put in extra hours to get in submitted on time.

The typical time it takes Metro to approve a Business for DBE Certification or SBE Certification is roughly three months. However, Metro has an expedited application process, if the applicant needs to get certified for a specific bid coming up. This will significantly reduce the wait time for applicants, assuming all required documents are submitted in a timely manner, as was the case with my friend.

My recommendation to all businesses would be to identify your opportunities ahead of time and not be in a position of rushing. This is true for all certifications. Doing your research and forecasting which ones you will need will significantly help, once you come across a situation like the one above.

 

Paul Mazbanian CEO Small Business Community Consultants, Inc. www.sbclending.com

Paul Mazbanian
CEO
Small Business Community Consultants, Inc.
www.sbclending.com

DBE Certification in Two Weeks

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(818)551-9400

 

Most times when clients ask about about Certifications, the same questions always come up.”How long does it take to get certified?” Normally it would take roughly 3 months for Metro to approve a Business under each certification. This may seem long, but actually is a short time frame compared to other certifications, such as the SBA 8(a) program.

There is however a mostly unknown process that will significantly reduce the approval time line from 3 months to two weeks. Metro, has an option in one of their documents which allows you to expedite the process, if there is a solicitation that has already been publicized. This option may only be marked if there is an actual solicitation which has a DBE or SBE set aside.

In the previous article, I wrote about a friend who was in this exact predicament. He knew of an opportunity coming up with Metro and needed get certified as an SBE in order to become eligible, since the RFP did have an SBE set-aside. We were able to work relentlessly on the application, asked Metro to expedite the application and was approved within two weeks right when the RFP was announced.

In order to become certified via the expedited process, the METRO application needs to be completed, along with all of the necessary supporting documents. Metro will not approve any application until all required documents have been received and verified. The trick in getting the application approved within two weeks, is entirely reliant on the applicant and how soon they can respond to Metro on additional documents if needed.

There is no special formula. All applications are the same and require the same supporting documents. However, the expedited process will allow you to get certified sooner and allow you to bid on opportunities immediately.

 

Paul Mazbanian CEO Small Business Community Consultants, Inc. www.sbclending.com

Paul Mazbanian
CEO
Small Business Community Consultants, Inc.
www.sbclending.com

 

Why are broker Dealers Ineligible to participate in the 8(a) program?

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(818)551-9400

 

Why are broker dealers ineligible to participate in the 8(a) program?

If you are labeled as a broker, but do not feel that you are, this article will help you understand how to get approved for the 8(a) certification and other programs by taking some important precautionary steps.

SBA wants success to come to every 8(a) approved firm. Making sure they will be successful is why the approval process is stringent. Based on the Federal Acquisition Regulation code FAR 124.08 “Brokers are ineligible to participate in the 8(a) BD program. A broker is a concern that adds no material value to an item being supplied to a procuring activity or which does not take ownership or possession of or handle the item being procures with its own equipment or facilities”.

Recently we were hired by two separate clients who happen to be in the same line of work, distributors of office products. One was applying for the 8(a) certification, while the other for Metro’s Disadvantage Business Enterprise (DBE) Certification. In both instances, client did not feel that they were brokers as defined by the SBA, but rather a dealer. A broker is a pass through entity which at times makes commission paid to them by the manufacturer or distributor. In this case, both parties made neither. The only flaw they possessed was that they did not stock inventory. This is of course the most important rule of being a broker, that they don’t keep stock of their products.

The office supply industry is a multi billion dollar industry and both companies receive orders from all over the United States and their customers demand delivery promptly, sometimes the next day. If they were to stock inventory, take order from customers thousand of miles away and deliver the next day, Small Businesses in this particular industry would not exist. In order for them to be able to do this, they will need to have multiple warehouses across the nation and stocking hundreds of thousand of dollars worth of daily inventory. This would make perfect sense for a company such as Hewlett Packard or Amazon, but most definitely not a Small Business.

We were able to get both companies approved. We did this by proving to each agency, that keeping that level of inventory was not viable. Thus, we also provided the SBA and Metro with current levels of inventory held as well as receipts and invoices of purchase orders made. In addition, we provided the shipment charges made by the clients proving that their products were housed at the manufacturers warehouse and later shipped to the customer along with pictures of the inventory etc.

When applying for any type of certification, particularly the ones mentioned above, and if your business may be labeled as a broker but you clearly are not, an explanation will be needed. It is important to answer and questions they may have with actual data proving you are not a broker.

To learn more about our services, please visit www.sbclending.com.

 

Paul Mazbanian CEO Small Business Community Consultants, Inc. www.sbclending.com
Paul Mazbanian
CEO
Small Business Community Consultants, Inc.
www.sbclending.com

What is SAM and should you pay someone to register you?

 

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System For Award Management also referred to as SAM is a system the Federal Government uses to identify potential contractors. It is also the system which is required to register with do do any type of business with the Federal Government.

As usual, we get calls from clients hiring us for different certifications. Part of the process required for Federal Certifications as noted above, is to register the clients business in to SAM. Recently we received two distinct client calls.

The first client desires to become certified as a Women’s Business Enterprise or WBE. After explaining to her the requirements she told me that she paid a company $1,600 to register them in to SAM. Our services as a whole, including the WBE Certification which includes SAM does not cost $1,600. In addition, after a thorough review of their SAM profile, not only was their business being misrepresented, but their SBA profile was not created which pretty much makes them invisible to Government buyers. In short the $1,600 was put to waste.

The second example was from a call we received from a client hiring us for the WBE and WOSB Certifications. The client had once again paid this firm a ridiculous amount of money greater than what we were charging for both certifications combined which also included SAM. Once again, after a thorough review of their SAM profile, their profile was incorrectly being represented and their SBA profile was nonexistent. This client however, reached out to us just as her SAM profile was due for renewal, and she had been contacted by the same company to renew their profile for $599. I explained to the client that the SAM renewal will take no more than 10 minutes and that I will do it at no charge. The client was extremely happy that I had just saved her almost $600.

The reason I am writing this article today is to let you know that the SAM registration is FREE. The two clients mentioned above told us that the reason they paid those amounts was because they thought they were speaking to a Federal Agency, which leads me to believe that companies posing as a Federal Agency but not actually representing themselves as such on their website are taking advantage of Small Businesses and the limited resources they have. The money spent may have been put to good use if, 1. the SAM registration was done correctly and 2. their SBA profile was completed properly. Regardless, $1,600 and even $600 is too much to pay for registering with SAM.

Things to Consider:

1. When you are being solicited, remember that anything that ends in .GOV is legitimate and anything which ends in .com, .net, .org etc. are solicitors and are not part of the Government. We have NEVER charged separately for registering a client with SAM.

2. If you do hire someone, make certain your profile is correctly representing your business.

3. Make certain your SBA profile has been created successfully in order to have the greatest presence with Government agencies.

Please take a moment to visit our website and learn more about our services: www.sbclending.com

CEO Small Buisness Community Consultants, Inc. www.sbclending.com paul@sbclending.com

CEO
Small Business Community Consultants, Inc.
www.sbclending.com
paul@sbclending.com

Applying for 8(a) Social Disadvantage Waiver

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(818) 551-9400

In the article published on March 26, 2014, I wrote about the Social Disadvantage Requirements by the SBA to become an 8(a) participant. But what if you are not a member of one of the presumed socially Disadvantaged groups? Can you still apply? The simple answer is YES, but there are a few extra steps which need to be explained to the SBA.

The SBA presumes that African Americans, Asians, Hispanics and Native Americans are socially disadvantaged. However, other individuals may similarly be found socially disadvantaged and eligible for the program on a case-by-case basis.

An individual who is not a member of one of the presumed groups can be admitted into the 8(a) Business Development program.  To do so, the business must prove to SBA that the individual(s) meeting SBA’s ownership and control requirements is socially disadvantaged. This process includes showing personal experiences where applicable in education, employment, and business history.

The individual must provide evidence to SBA proving one’s individual social disadvantage.

Evidence of individual social disadvantage must include:

  • At least one distinguishing feature such as race, ethnic origin, gender, physical handicap, long-term residence in an environment isolated from the mainstream of American society, or other similar causes not common to individuals who are not socially disadvantaged.
  • Personal experiences of social disadvantage in American society, not in other countries.
  • Negative impact on the individual’s entrance into the business world or advancement in the business world because of the stated disadvantage(s).

* A detailed description of each of the bullet points must be given along with proof of examples and documents such as letters from reputable sources. To prove social disadvantage, the individual(s) owners must ultimately show that such personal experiences had a negative impact on entry into or advancement in the business world.

Paul Mazbanian SBC Consultants, Inc. www.sbclending.com/ paul@sbclending.com/ 818-551-9400

Paul Mazbanian
SBC Consultants, Inc.
www.sbclending.com/
paul@sbclending.com/
818-551-9400

Hiring a consultant to help you with your 8(a) application can save you time and money

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We recently received a call from a client requesting details on the SBA 8(a) certification. Clients nature of business was providing Environmental Testing such as Phase 1 reports. Client was intrigued that we had assisted other Environmental Firms in receiving their 8(a) certification. After a very productive conversation, I left the client with plenty of information to digest.

A few days later, the client, who was extremely experienced in his field of work, emailed me and told me  that he spoke to someone and they told him that all first time applicants get rejected, and this is how the SBA controls their capacity issues. He then proceeded to write, “we may attempt the first application ourselves, save the money, get rejected and proceed with you with the 2nd attempt”.

There are plenty of concerns I have with the above statement:

  1.  The application process can take up to 40 hours to complete, thus, the time and energy spent on submitting a package you ultimately know will be declined is counter productive.
  2. The reason why our clients hire us, is because of the experience we bring to the table and the clients we have helped get certified.
  3. Our clients also hire us because not only do they not understand the details of the program, but also because they do not have the time to spend on completing the application, gathering supporting documents, analyzing it for it’s completeness, writing letters to explain inconsistencies etc.

Ultimately, what will happen with this client is, they will begin the process and after spending 20 or so hours getting everything together, they will come to road blocks and wish they hired someone who knows the ins and outs of the program. 20 hours of lost work and man hours later, they will realize that hiring a professional to do the work would have saved them time and money.

Unfortunately, all I can do is explain to him what the process entails by being honest and upfront. Ultimately, the research he has done will allow him to make the best decision for himself and his business.

We encourage all of our clients to due their due diligence in understanding the program, but you must leave it to professionals to get it done.

Paul Mazbanian SBC Consultants, Inc. www.sbclending.com/ paul@sbclending.com/ 818-551-9400

Paul Mazbanian
SBC Consultants, Inc.
www.sbclending.com/
paul@sbclending.com/
818-551-9400

Government Contracting Basics

Are you currently bidding on contracts or maybe you would like to get into the game of bidding on contracts? Below are several reasons for any business to have a certification.

Businesses who DO bid on contracts

Businesses who do bid on contracts will find that becoming certified by the State or the Federal Government will allow them to bid on new opportunities not available to them otherwise. Both the State and Federal Government set aside funds for certified companies. State and Federal agencies are required to designate a percentage of their contracts to certified agencies. Being certified not only increases your chances of getting new contracts, but it allows you to do it with less competition thus increasing your chances of winning the bid.

For Example: If there are 1000 machinists in the city they would all be able to bid on a particular contract that the Government makes available. Some are larger then others, therefore giving them the advantage of underbidding their smaller competitors and winning the bid. What if from those 1000 machinists only 100 were certified with the Government as a Small Business? If you were one of the 100 certified, you would only be competing against 99 competitors rather then 1000, thus significantly increasing your chances to compete in a fairer playing field.

 

Business who DO NOT bid on contracts

During time of uncertainty, consumers are looking to do business with people they can trust. Money is scarce nowadays and people are weary about spending as frequently as before. Gaining a new customer is the most difficult business activity. This is because you as the service provider must convince the consumer that not only are you trustworthy, bur rather you can get the job done at a reasonable price.

What makes someone choose one service over another? Most of you would say price is a key deciding factor, which is true but people are willing to pay a little more for quality. For instance, a friend of mine owns an insurance company (he mostly sells business and personal insurance). After having multiple discussions with him regarding his business, he consistently tells me that he is not the cheapest price in town. The reason for his success has been due to the legitimacy he has been able to establish amongst his peers. People are willing to pay a little extra for his knowledge knowing that they will get unmatched service.

Imagine for instance that you need to purchase a custom made machine from a manufacturer. You have two options: 1. A company that has been in business for 5 years or 2: A company that has been in business for 5 years and is Federally Certified.

Being designated as a certified business with the State or Federal Government gives you more legitimacy!

 

As Small Business owners we all need help to get ahead and becoming certified with the State or Federal Government will allow you to significantly increase future revenues. Visit our Certification link HERE.

 


Paul Mazbanian (2011 SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year – Los Angeles District Office)
SBC Lending
http://www.sbclending.com/