For Veteran-Owned small businesses (VOSB) and Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned small businesses (SDVOSB), getting into government contracting often proves to be a wise decision. Working with the government can be very profitable for your business, particularly if you’ve been struggling to establish yourself in a particular niche industry. For many businesses, winning a government contract means the difference between success and failure.
Starting a new company can be challenging and risky; maintaining growth after an initial success can be even trickier, especially for smaller businesses that have limited resources to pursue new opportunities. Fortunately, if your business is a registered VOSB/SDVOSB, you are probably eligible for what government agencies refer to as “Set-Asides”. Set-Asides are agency purchases with an anticipated value between $2,500 and $100,000; by law, these opportunities must be set aside for small businesses, including Veteran-Owned, Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned, Women Owned and Minority Owned businesses. The only condition for contracts of eligible value to be designated Set-Asides is that there must be two competing companies that can provide the type of products and services that the agency is soliciting for, to ensure a fair and competitive bidding process. As part of Set-Aside programs, federal contracting goals are established for each type of participating business: for VOSB/SDVOSB’s, the government is obligated to reserve 3% of all contracting dollars in Set-Asides for these businesses with these designations. Because of these regulations, the odds are good that your business will automatically be considered for a contract if you can provide the goods and services the contracting agency is looking for.
Veterans Benefit Act of 2003
In 2003, Congress passed the Veterans Benefit Act which established the Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Business Concern Procurement Program. The purpose of the program is to allow government agencies to set aside acquisitions for exclusive competition, as well as sole source awards (if certain conditions are met) among SDVOB’s.
Verification and Eligibility
In order to be designated as an eligible business under the Veterans Benefit Act, your business must meet a series of eligibility requirements. Importantly, you must be verified by the Center for Verification and Evaluation (CVE) in order to bid on contract Set-Asides. In order to be verified, your business must:
1.) Obtain confirmation from the Dept. of Veteran Affairs or Dept. of Defense that the veteran business owner has a service-connected disability;
2.) Be considered small under the NAICS code assigned to the procurement;
3.) The Service Disabled Veteran must own at least 51% of the business;
4.) The Service Disable Veteran owner must also control the management and daily operations of the business;
5.) The Service Disabled Veteran must hold the highest officer position in the business.
For more information about eligibility requirements, check out the General Service Administration’s Office of Small & Disadvantaged Business Utilization. This is a great resource for businesses that are seeking to get verified; the Office also provides tools and training on how to run a successful business and how to navigate the process of doing business with the government.
Things to Remember Before Bidding on Government Contracts:
- Make sure that your business is eligible to bid as a VOSB/SDVOSB.
- Make sure you have obtained all of the correct certifications and have completed the necessary registrations.
- Be prepared – make sure that you have the resources to complete the job.
- Read through all of the bid documents before bidding to make sure the contract is right for your business and that you can handle the workload.
If you are materially prepared and confident in your ability to do the job, have completed the process for certification as a Veteran-Owned small business, and take the time to identify contracts that are a good fit for your business, you should have no trouble winning government contracts.
Danielle Calamaras | BidNet.com