How To Get 8A Certification

Most small businesses would like the opportunity to compete for federal contracts.  Many small companies find it hard to compete in the federal bid process because they can not compete as well with larger corporations.  The Small Business Administration has created a program called 8a that helps small businesses enter into the federal contract arena.

Prior to applying for your SBA 8a certification there are a few things that you should do to help you be prepared.  First make sure that you have a DUNS number.  A DUNS number is free, and you can apply online.  This number is required to do any business with the government.  It is like a credit report on the company.  You will also need to apply for your NAICS Code.  This is the North American Industry Classification System Code, and it describes what your company produces and can offer to the government.  You can have several NAICS Codes, and knowing this information is also required to do business with the government.

Register with Central Contractor Registration (CCR) as a vendor; you can upgrade your status to 8a once you receive certification.  CCR is a database of most government agencies that put out Requests for Bids (RFB).  If you have a particular agency that you wish to contract for, then you must also visit that agency's website or office to register as a contractor.

Once you have established all of these credentials for your company, you will need to visit the Small Business Administration's website and apply for 8a certification.  There is a button for electronic applications visible on the front page, and you can start the application process here.  You will be required to sit through an online presentation from the SBA prior to the application loading on your computer.

Make sure you have available financial statements for the last three years; you should also be ready to write out a statement regarding why you feel your company should qualify for 8a certification.

Once you have completed all of the necessary information and submitted it to the Small Business Administration, you will have to wait for their final approval.  If you are approved, you will receive certification papers in the mail.  If you do not qualify, they will provide you with the reason for their decision and whether there are any appeals processes that you can utilize.  Having 8a certification can provide your small business with many advantages that it would not have had before.  The paperwork can be a little difficult to process, but it is well worth the effort.


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