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For MBE’s: Why Getting Certified should be No. 1 on Your Checklist


For MBE’s: Why Getting Certified should be No. 1 on Your Checklist

Getting Certified

Why Certify? Businesses that are certified as minority-owned are subject to different laws and regulations than other businesses, and as such are very different entities from typical enterprises. Unlike a standard business license or registration, a minority-owned business enterprise certification is not required to run a minority-owned business, although certification can provide many benefits for a company - especially in regards to government contracting. 

Below are some of the certification processes your company can expect to navigate when seeking minority-owned business enterprise certification. Also listed are the requirements that must be met by businesses that are seeking certification.  

• Manufacturers - Maximum number of employees must not surpass 500 or 1500, depending on the product being manufactured
• Wholesalers - Maximum number of employees must not surpass 100 or 500, depending on the product being provided
• Service providers - Annual sales receipts must not be higher than $2.5 or $21.5 million, depending on the service being provided
• Retailers - Annual sales receipts must not be higher than $5.0 or $21.0 million, depending on the product being provided
• General and Heavy Construction businesses - Annual sales receipts must not exceed $13.5 or $17 million, depending on the type of construction the company is engaged in
• Special Trade Construction businesses - Annual receipts must not be higher than $7 million
• Agricultural businesses - Annual sales receipts must not be higher than $0.5 to $9.0 million, depending on the agricultural product being produced

Business Requirements

1)      The company applying for certification must have a racial minority owner who owns at least 51% of the company.

2)      The same owner must hold the highest position in the company.

3)      The company must pay a fee based on company annual gross sales and also file an application that details basic company information, such as what year the business          was founded.

4)      The company’s primary business locations must be available for site visits.

Getting Bids

Build Relationships. When it comes to winning bids in the government contracting marketplace contacts are everything. Business owners are advised to take the time to make connections, build relationships and network extensively. The contacts a business develops are often the key to furthering their success in government contracting. Proactively networking with larger companies, agencies and even competitors can lead to subcontracting opportunities while also showing agencies that you are a trustworthy and reliable business partner. 

Subcontract. Building a reputation as a professional enterprise is crucial to the success of any business. Winning a government bid isn’t only about the monetary aspects involved with a contract; other factors are evaluated too. An agency will often look at company financials, work history and reputation before selecting a winning organization. It helps to have contacts who can vouch for your company and the work that you do. By subcontracting, you build your reputation and gain valuable experience.

You never know when the contacts you develop will come in handy. Therefore, you should make each and every relationship meaningful because in the long run, these are the relationships that will further your company’s success. 

Government RFPs are a great way for minority-owned business enterprises (MBE) to win spot and term contracts. Every year, the U.S. federal government spends over $200 billion on goods and services, all of which are provided by private companies and many of which are minority-owned businesses. From federal to state, local and special districts, all levels of government have programs in place to increase their involvement with certified minority-owned business enterprises. Only companies who have gone through the MBE certification process are eligible for the money that is made available through such programs. 

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