Congratulations on your acceptance into the 8(a) Business Development set-aside program. That can be quite a feat but is well worth the wait. Now that you are 8(a) certified it is time to educate you on the program. Remember the more you know the better prepared you are to make the best educated decisions for your business. Think of this article as a brief overview of just one small segment of the 8(a) program, the 8(a) set-aside site visit.
What is an 8(a) Site Visit?
SBA uses set-aside site visits in many ways. Set-aside site visits help the BOS gather facts and validate information. A set-aside site visit can also help determine how your business location impacts eligibility and compliance with the 8(a) program regulations.
When are Set-Aside Site Visits Conducted?
Set-aside Site Visits maybe conducted multiple times. The better you understand the regulations the better prepared you will be when your BOS comes to visit. Let’s discover times when a BOS will visit.
Bona fide Office
Applying for a SBA approved Bona fide office will require a site visit. A Bona Fide Office is necessary for construction firms wishing to bid on 8(a) competitive contracts in another state or area not currently covered by their local district office. The SBA office where the Bona Fide Office resides will perform the site visit not your local office.
SBA regulations require site visits at least once per year. This is a great time for your BOS to visit your office and get an update on how things are going. I have found that seeing something in person is much better than trying to understand a business from their business plan It is the perfect opportunity to get to know your BOS and to ask them questions that have been on your mind, but you have not had an opportunity to ask yet.
Most BOSs will visit the 8(a) business when the business must recertify that it still meets the program requirements. However, it is up to each BOS to determine when to do the visits. Many BOSs will visit multiple firms within an area in order to save travel costs. Your BOS can visit your firm multiple times per year and they do not have to schedule an appointment. SBA can perform unannounced site visits. The decision resides with the BOS.
Determining Service District Office
SBA will use site visits to determine which which SBA office will service the 8(a) business. There is usually only one SBA office in each state except those states that cover larger territories like California and Texas for example.
A site visit help determine a business’s eligibility. For example, if your business is co-located with another business SBA may have to determine if the other business has any control over your business. Set-aside site visit may prove affiliation with another business.
Eligibility Determination Determine whether a firm’s location impacts eligibility (e.g., size, affiliation, control)
What Can Cause a Site Visit?
A site visit may be prompted when a BOS has questions from a previous site visit or when reviewing your annual review paperwork. They also may visit when requested by SBA Headquarters.
As you can see that are several reasons why a BOS will visit your business. If you are operating from the location and have been completely transparent on your application, annual reviews and site visits there is nothing to worry about.
It is best to think of your BOS as your partner. By keeping them in the loop on what is happening in your business they can better provide advice and guidance.
As always, we hope you enjoyed today’s topic and are better prepared when the local SBA official comes to visit. Now stop, subscribe to this podcast and provide a rating. Your feedback is very important to us. If you have a topic you would like discussed, please contact me. My contact information will be in today’s show notes.
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