It has been a couple of years since you took the first steps to adventure into government contracting. Your business is HUBZone certified and the business has won HUBZone contracts. Things are going well when suddenly a visitor walks in stating that they are from the Government and you need to answer a few questions. Before you panic, stop and take a deep breath. Let the air out slowly. Now go and talk to the Government Official. More than likely the Government Official is from the U.S. Small Business Administration and he or she is performing a HUBZone site visit.
HUBZone Site Visit
Nancy, why does the Government need to visit my office when they already declare the business is HUBZone certified? That is a great question. SBA is responsible for ensuring that only qualified small businesses receive the HUBZone certification. They visit firms to ensure that they are still HUBZone qualified. Since SBA does not have the resources available to visit every firm when they apply for the HUBZone certification they have elected to visit the small business when they receive HUBZone contracts.
How to Prepare?
There is really nothing to do to be prepared for a visit. The SBA official will usually show up unannounced to a HUBZone company. They will take some pictures of the building possibly inside and outside and signage. They will ask you the number of employees that report to this location. Who is the President or CEO? Lastly, they will ask for a business card. Now there could be more questions but they will be in line with ensuring that your business meets the HUBZone qualifications.
What Happens Next?
The SBA Official will write up a report with the pictures and send the information to SBA HUBZone office in Washington, DC. There a program analysis will review the information and either re-certify your business or start the decertification process. The only reason to decertify a business is because the small business does not meet the qualifications.
Can I Stop the Decertification?
SBA will not decertify you until they have given you an opportunity to respond to the issues discovered either through the site visit or the review of paperwork. Most of the time the errors discovered can be corrected. The only thing that will disqualify your business would be if the business principal office is not located in a HUBZone declared area or the required number of employees (35%) do not reside in a HUBZone area.
Advantages of Visits
This is a great opportunity for you to get to know your local SBA office and find out what other services they provide. Spend some time and talk to your local SBA representative. Ask them for a copy of their resource guide (if available). This guide contains tons of information specific to the local area. SBA does offer a lot of valuable services outside of the government contracting programs. You never know when you will need some assistance in the future.
As always, we hope you enjoyed today’s article and are better prepared when the local SBA official comes to visit. If you enjoyed today’s article and want to read other articles published by this author, please click here. Do you prefer a podcast? Great because we publish our podcasts weekly just like our blog.