Does your firm qualify as a SDB?

August 26, 2013 by

Small businesses, if qualified, can self-represent their status as a small disadvantaged business (SDB).  Doing so could qualify your firm to be considered for federal contracting, including subcontracting, opportunities.

You do not have to submit an application to the Small Business Administration (SBA) for SDB status.

To self-represent as an SDB, you must register your business in the federal government’s vendor database known as the System for Award Management (SAM).  Navigate to end of the SAM database to find the section that deals with small business certifications.   However, first make sure you and your firm understand the SBA eligibility criteria for SDBs.

In order to qualify as an SDB, generally:

  • The firm must be 51% or more owned and controlled by one or more disadvantaged persons.
  • The disadvantaged person or persons must be socially disadvantaged and economically disadvantaged.
  • The firm must be small, according to SBA’s size standards.

While SBA must still certify all firms that participate in the 8(a) Business Development Program, the requirements to be approved are different and more rigorous than SDB status.  If you believe your firm is ready for the 8(a) Business Development program, click here.

For more information on SDB certification, view the October 3, 2008 Federal Register notice  which explains why SDBs do not need to submit an application to the SBA.

In addition to self-representing your business as an SDB, if qualified, your firm might also meet the requirements for one or more of the following programs:

  • SBA’s 8(a) Business Development Program provides managerial, technical, and contractual assistance to small disadvantaged businesses to ready the firm and its owners for success in the private industry.
  • SBA’s HUBZone Program helps small businesses in urban and rural communities gain preferential access to federal procurement opportunities. These preferences go to small businesses that obtain HUBZone certification in part by employing staff who live in a HUBZone. The company must also maintain a “principal office” in one of these specially designated areas.
  • The Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program authorizes contracting officers to set aside certain federal contracts for eligible women-owned small businesses.
  • The Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Concern Procurement Program provides procuring agencies with the authority to set acquisitions aside for exclusive competition among service-disabled veteran-owned small business concerns.

DoD, TSA and HHS officials provide contracting advice to small businesses

August 23, 2013 by

The Pentagon’s point woman for hiring women-owned small businesses said this week that she “needed a lift” from the travails of furloughs and sequestration.

“This is a tough time for the federal government and DoD in particular if your’re concerned about small businesses,” said Linda Oliver, deputy director of the Defense Department’s Office of Small Business Programs. “Our travel dollars have been cut to nonexistent, our training dollars cut. I’m not second- guessing the decisions, but it’s kind of a down time.”

Speaking on Tuesday to hundreds of current and prospective contractors at the American Express Open’s annual summit, Oliver’s chief advice was to take advantage of the “debrief,” the optional meeting companies may request within three days of learning that they have been eliminated during a contract award process. “The debrief is not on the contracting officers’ list of fun things to do, since they fear they’re being set up for a bid protest,” she said. “But it’s really valuable and gives all involved perspective and closure,” she said.

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How to reduce the growing number of bid protests

August 21, 2013 by

With bid protests increasing by almost 50 percent since 2008, many industry observers and policymakers may be tempted to place the blame for procurement slowdown — particularly in the defense industry — squarely on the contractors. Yet to do so to the exclusion of the other key player in this equation — the Defense Department — ignores that bid protests have proliferated largely as a result of the way government does business.

It may be the case that some government contractors file frivolous protests in order to hang onto a contract they once held but subsequently lost, or in an effort to extract concessions from the government, such as the opportunity to start or continue work while the protest is resolved. However, bid protests are a game of high-stakes poker for most contractors. Protests are expensive, and protestors are prohibited from billing their protest costs against their contracts.

Even if the Government Accountability Office (GAO) sustains a protest (and awards the successful protestor its protest costs), a contractor may still need to go through the bidding process all over again, and there is no guarantee that it will win the second time around. In addition, the GAO retains the power to summarily dismiss a protest it deems frivolous, ultimately rendering any effort put into filing a protest a waste of resources. In other words, bid protests do not just slow down the government; they also slow down business for contractors.

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There is no “free” government money

August 20, 2013 by

We recently heard about a woman who said the “U.S. Federal Government Grants Department” called and claimed she needed to pay $600 in order to receive federal benefits totaling $8,000.   You guessed it … she paid the money, and never got the $8,000.

The phone call was a scam. The Federal Government Grants Department doesn’t exist.   More importantly, the government will never call, email, or text you to ask for money.

Even though the woman wrote down the phone number of the caller, it can be hard to trace it back to a real person because of tricks like caller ID spoofing.   (Click the link if you don’t know what “caller ID spoofing” is.)   She probably won’t be able to get her money back.

Be suspicious of any call, text, or email that claims to be from the government.  Scammers often use names that sound like real government agencies but aren’t.   The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s consumer protection agency, has more tips on spotting fake callers who pretend to be the government.

You can find the official names and contact information for federal government agencies in our A-Z Index of U.S. Government Departments and Agencies.   Don’t hesitate to contact the agency that claims you owe them money.   Be sure to use the contact information listed in the A-Z Index and not the contact information the caller or email provides.

If you do get scammed, then you should file a complaint with the FTC and your state’s consumer agency.   The link to Georgia’s consumer affairs offices is located at:

Veteran-owned businesses must remove ‘large’ NAICS codes from VetBiz within 30 days

August 8, 2013 by

The Department of Veterans Affairs’ Center for Veterans Enterprise (CVE) has instructed verified service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses (SDVOSBs) to remove so-called “large NAICS codes” from their VetBiz Vendor Information Pages profiles within 30 days – or else.

According to a recent email from the VA’s CVE, SDVOSBs must remove any NAICS codes for which they do not qualify as a small business.  Failing to remove these “large NAICS codes” may result in potentially harsh penalties, including debarment.

The CVE’s August 1, 2013 email states, in part:

Companies verified in the VetBiz VIP database generally list the NAICS Codes under which they are qualified to provide goods and services. The VetBiz VIP database is restricted to service-disabled Veteran-owned and Veteran-owned small businesses. If any verified company lists one or more NAICS Code(s) on its profile in which it is other than small, the Department of Veterans Affairs, Center for Veterans Enterprise (CVE), is requiring that those NAICS Codes be removed. If such NAICS Codes are not removed, CVE may request the SBA to conduct a formal Size Determination, and CVE may also initiate debarment and/or cancellation proceedings against the company.

After quoting a portion of the SBA’s Standard Operating Procedure for Size Determinations, the VA CVE states: “[t]o fulfill the small business concern requirement found in the regulations, CVE is requesting each company, verified in the VetBiz VIP database, to remove all NAICS Codes in its profile that are other than small within thirty (30) days.”

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There’s growth in state and local contract spending

August 7, 2013 by

For those who specialize in work for state and local governments, it can be unsettling to read headlines announcing teacher layoffs in Chicago or bankruptcy in Detroit.

However, the big picture for local governments and school districts is looking much brighter.

Deltek’s growth forecast for state and local consumption of information technology goods and services improved this year to 3.2 percent, with the total market expected to grow from $58.5 billion in 2013 to $68.6 billion in 2018.

One of the best annual market indicators is a review of the governors’ State of the State addresses.

This year, we found governors restoring K-12 education funding and promising to rein in tuition at public universities.

Governors also called for innovative ways to reduce correctional spending and improve health care and social services. All of these goals must be supported by technology investments.

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Here are the Georgia firms who won federal contracts in July 2013

August 1, 2013 by

Ever wonder who’s winning federal contracts in Georgia?

Wouldn’t this information be helpful if you are looking for subcontracting prospects?  Or when you’re trying to figure out who your competitors are?

Each month, the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC) publishes a list of federal contracts awarded to Georgia businesses.  The list comes complete with point-of-contact information on the awardees, the name of the awarding agency, the dollar value of the contract, and much more.

Download the award winners for July 2013 right here: FEDERAL CONTRACT AWARDS IN GEORGIA – JULY 2013

Copies of earlier reports are listed below:


‘Good faith efforts’ — effective enforcement or a convenient excuse?

July 10, 2013 by

[Note: The following article is taken from a blog operated by Bryan Cave’s Airport Concessions Law blog.  The article was originally published on July 5, 2013.  A link to the blog appears at the end of this excerpt.]

Over the years, I have often heard complaints within the airport industry about the Good Faith Efforts (“GFE”) standard contained in the federal regulations governing Disadvantaged Business Enterprises. The complaints generally decry the use of GFE and consider the GFE requirements more form than substance, a convenient excuse for non-compliance. Although there may be some merits to the complaint, the effectiveness of the GFE standard hinges upon the manner in which recipient applies the standard to a bidder’s efforts to meet the goal.

The GFE requirements for GFE on a federally assisted contract that contain contract goals is governed by 49 CFR Part §26.53. Section 26.53 provides that when a DBE goal is established, the recipient can award the contract only to a bidder or offeror that has made a GFE to achieve the contract goal. The GFE Guidance is contained in Appendix A to Part 26 and outlines the factors or efforts that should be considered in making the determination. It is important to note that the list of factors contained in Appendix A is not intended to be exhaustive and other factors may be considered in making the GFE determination.

The GFE guidance articulates a clear standard that requires that the bidder’s efforts to meet the goal must be reasonable and necessary steps to meet the goal. The scope, intensity and appropriateness of the bidder’s efforts should be evaluated in order to determine if the efforts would reasonably lead the bidder to obtaining sufficient DBE participation. Mere pro forma efforts are not good faith efforts to meet the goal. The guidance also cautions the recipients not to reject bona fide GFE by a bidder or offeror to meet the goal. In short, the determination of a bidder or offeror’s good faith efforts is a judgment call and the recipient must make a reasoned and balanced decision in making the GFE determination.

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Here are the Georgia firms who won federal contracts in June 2013

July 1, 2013 by

Ever wonder who’s winning federal contracts in Georgia?

Wouldn’t this information be helpful if you are looking for subcontracting prospects?  Or when you’re trying to figure out who your competitors are?

Each month, the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC) publishes a list of federal contracts awarded to Georgia businesses.  The list comes complete with point-of-contact information on the awardees, the name of the awarding agency, the dollar value of the contract, and much more.

Download the award winners for June 2013 right here: FEDERAL CONTRACT AWARDS IN GEORGIA – June 2013.

Copies of earlier months are posted in an article here:


DLA to make major changes in contractor shipping requirements

July 1, 2013 by

The Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) plans to make big changes in its contractor shipping requirements.  The changes will take place in October 2013, so if your business sells products to DLA, now is the time to get ready. 

DLA’s new shipping requirements are called First Destination Transportation (FDT), and the new rules apply to the movement of material from suppliers to the first military depot or direct to military customer.  In these instances, shipping will change from FOB destination to FOB origin.

  • FOB is an abbreviation for free on board.  This term is used with the designation of a physical point to determine the responsibility and basis for payment of freight charges and, unless otherwise agreed, the point at which Title for supplies passes to the buyer of consignee.  (The policies on designation of contracts as FOB Origin or FOB Destination are set forth in FAR 47.3.)
  • Irrespective of whether a contract is designated as FOB Origin or FOB Destination, the government bears the cost of shipping (either as part of the item price under FOB Destination or separately under FOB Origin).   An important consideration between the two designations, however, is who bears risk for damage or loss of the item during shipment.  Typically, under FOB Destination, the seller bears the risk of loss or damage to the item during shipment.  Under FOB Origin, the buyer typically bears the risk of loss or damage to the item during shipment.

Slated to begin with solicitations and awards in late October 2013, DLA’s new FDT rules will require the removal of transportation-related cost from contractor bids.  Shipping will be designated FOB Origin, thus contractors need only be concerned with quoting the associated costs of manufacturing their products.  Products affected by the October roll-out will be those labeled as Class IX consumables and some Class IV and VII materials to CONUS destinations. Supply Chains included in the FDT initiative are: Aviation, Land and Maritime, Construction and Equipment, and Industrial Hardware.

According to DLA, the new FDT rules mean that geography will no longer play a part in competitive bidding because distance-based shipping expenses will not have to be factored into bids.   The drawdown of troops from Afghanistan signals a reduction of necessary parts and supplies to U.S. troops.  Contractors who utilize this change in transportation terms, and find additional avenues for cutting costs, will find their reward in additional business opportunities.

In these uncertain budgetary times, DLA is challenged to decrease costs at the same time as being challenged with increased support to the troops in both the U.S. and abroad.  It is DLA’s goal to take control of its supply chain by improving in-transit visibility (ITV) and dock productivity as well as safety stock requirements.  ITV offers opportunities to consolidate.  Loading fewer, fuller trucks increases DLA’s effectiveness and reduces its carbon footprint.

Once the FDT rules become effective, vendors are advised that before  submitting a bid (minus the cost of transportation), they will need to Log In and subscribe to DLA’s Vendor Shipment Module (VSM).   VSM is the vehicle by which vendors will notify DLA’s transportation team that a shipment is ready for pick up.  No matter the size or weight, VSM will assess the information provide by vendors, assign the carrier best suited for the shipment, and notify the vendor of the carrier choice. At that time, VSM will allow each vendor to access its own contract information in order to print a commercial bill of lading, military shipping labels, packing slip, address labels and small parcel carrier labels.

For VSM registration and instruction, please click on the link below.   A Help Desk is available and can be reached by email at lim.aldnull@yreviled or by phone Monday through Friday, between the hours of 6:00 am and 6:30 pm Eastern Time, at 800-456-5507.

Will you be ready for this change in October 2013?  Now is the time to register for VSM:   Watch for solicitations that use the freight term FOB Origin, and don’t forget to sharpen your pencil!

For more information on FDT, visit: