Veterans Business Resources

a portal for all Veterans and SDV Small Business Owners

Veteran Registration Databases

Everyone should be registered in the Vendor Information Pages by now.  If there is anyone that has not registered in this database – you need to do so with a quickness.  The processing timeline is much shorter now than just a few months ago so there is no excuse.  

The Vendor Information Pages (VIP) is a powerful tool and can help boost your business’s exposure and partnering opportunities.  People do not want to partner or do business with someone that has an outdated registration – why should they?  Would you?  Keep your registration information updated and accurate.  

The verification system is not perfect but it is the best system we have at this time.  There is talk about establishing a formal certification process for Veteran-Owned Small Businesses.  We will keep you posted on any developments. 

We have to realize the awesome power and leverage having the Veteran status offers our community.  For example, we have the Veterans Preference in contracting priority when it comes to award of VA contracts.  Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) is number 1 and Veteran Owned Small Business (VOSB) is number 2.  There is currently legislation afoot to bring other federal agencies onboard with their own programs modeled after that of the VA. 

The first place that everyone should have registered is with the Central Contractor Registration (CCR).  That was the very first database we registered in, right?  Remember also, this is where our initial marketing efforts begin.  In addition to everyone being registered in the VIP, we should, at a minimum, also be registered in the Dynamic Small Business (DSB) and the Online Representations and Certifications (ORCA) databases.   

See you on the high ground!

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Filed under: Getting Started, Government Contracting, Registrations & Certifications, Veterans Affairs, ,

Verification NOT Certification

I mentioned this in an earlier post and many of you already know that there is not a Veteran certification.  There is only a verification of ones Veteran status as the 51% owner(s) of a business concern.  This process of verification is currently managed by the Center for Veterans Enterprise (CVE), which is part of the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA).  This verification process is required by Public Law 109-461 which also establishes unique procurement authority for the Department of Veterans Affairs. 

We must self identify; all Veteran Owned Small Businesses (VOSB) need to register in the Central Contractor Registration (CCR), the Dynamic Small Business (DSB), Online Representations and Certifications (ORCA) and the Vendor Information Pages (VIP) databases.  Currently, only one VOSB per Veteran or per Veteran ownership group can receive the CVE verification seal, but multiple VOSBs per Veteran or per Veteran ownership group can be registered in the VIP database without the verification seal.  That particular issue has generated a considerable amount of discussion and dissatisfaction among many in our community.  I will keep you posted as we sort through the particulars. 

Due in part to the tremendous volume of businesses registering with the VIP and applying for verification, the actual verification timeline is quite extensive (4 to 6 months).  Another factor contributing to lengthy verification times is significant under staffing at the CVE.  In addition, businesses are required to re-verify their status each year so peak season at the CVE is year round.  The process isn’t perfect, but it’s the best one we have right now. 

As mentioned earlier, PL 109-461 established unique procurement authority for the Department of Veterans Affairs.  That PL gave the VA the right to establish its own contracting goals (which are much higher than any other agency in the federal government) and it allowed the VA to determine the contracting priority within the VA.  Essentially, the VA has established the “Order of Merit List” for contracting as Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) first and Veteran-Owned Small Business (VOSB) second.  A move designed to benefit legitimate, honest and patriotic Veterans has proven entirely too tempting for some and resulted in wide-spread fraud, abuse and corruption in our program.  You can read more about these stories in the Fraud, Waste and Abuse section under the Discussions Board. 

Do not think for one second that our program is the only one in the federal government with fraud, abuse and corruption.  Far from it, I dare say that every federal contracting program is infected with unscrupulous, corrupt, power and money hungry individuals determined to exploit federal contracting programs and people to serve their selfish purposes.  The VBR is designed in part to give us the information and knowledge to understand how the process works and how to leverage the same to the benefit of our community and our families.  Tell your Veteran friends about the VBR, its vision and its mission.  Tell them they need to “like” the page and learn how to make Government Contracting work for them too!

See you on the high ground!             

 

Filed under: Getting Started, Government Contracting, Registrations & Certifications, Veterans Affairs, ,

Central Contractor Registration is Marketing 101

When does it all begin?  Where does it all begin?  Why does it all begin?  How does it all begin?  These questions all relate to the Central Contractor Registration (CCR) and Marketing.  Perhaps the first place we begin to Market our businesses is in the CCR.  By being registered in the CCR, we are screaming to the government and others looking for us, “HERE I AM OVER HERE!  LOOK AT ME!  I’M OPEN AND READY FOR BUSINESS!”  Being registered in the CCR is mandatory before a federal contract can be awarded to your company, period.  

Getting your business registered in the CCR is just part 1 of a 3 part process.  Before moving to the other 2 parts of the process, I want to take a moment and talk about what a good CCR registration looks like.  A good registration has all the required data entry fields completed with good, accurate and truthful information.  Under the heading Business Types, every category that applies to your business is selected.  If you are a construction company or one that requires bonding, that information is filled in accurately and completely.  You want to select every North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code that applies to your business.  You can now enter up to 1000 NAICS codes.  List all Standard Industry Classification (SIC) codes, Product Service Codes (PSC) and Federal Supply Classification (FSC) codes as they apply to your business.  If you have a Federal Certification, check Small Business Types to ensure your certification is listed.  If not listed, contact your district SBA office for assistance.  People often get slightly confused on this next part.  Under CCR Points of Contact, they are asking for the points of contact within your company for these specific areas; Government Business, Past Performance and Electronic Business.  When you have green boxes with white checks in them on the left side of the CCR registration page, you are good to go and ready to proceed to the 2nd part of the registration, the SBA Profile or the Dynamic Small Business Search information.  

Much of the information from the CCR will transfer over to the SBA Profile.  There is   still critical information you must enter and critical fields that must be completed.  I always advise clients to consider adding the capacity to accept Government Credit Cards and when possible, establish a General Services Administration (GSA) schedule.  Try and try as you may, you will not be able to enter information in any field controlled by the SBA.  You can, however, enter certifications under Non-Federal-Government Certifications.  Under the Products & Services category is the all important Capabilities Narrative.  This area is critical to even getting looked at.  When this field is blank, the Contract Specialist will not even bother to give you a first look.  There is a limit of 255 characters you can enter here so choose your words wisely and construct a complete paragraph.  The next critical area is Keywords.  Now, there is a limit of 525 characters you can enter in this space and a 20 character restriction on word length.  Unlike the Capabilities Narrative, the Keywords field doesn’t have to make sense.  Simply include different words that describe what you do and be sure to separate them by comas.  The final critical category is Performance History (References).  The government wants to know you can and actually have done the work you’re claiming you can do.  Don’t be afraid to fill in all the requested boxes.  The government can’t verify your ability to do the work unless they can actually talk to your references.

The 3rd and final registration is the Online Representations and Certifications (ORCA).  This is the information that goes in Section K of contracts.  The government decided to ease the requirement of having you complete this information every time you go after a contract.                  

 

Filed under: Getting Started, Government Contracting, Registrations & Certifications, ,

Understanding the Checklist; Part 2

This is Part 2 of our 5 part series on Understanding the Checklist.  Let’s address the most obvious reason why you need to be registered and (this part is critically important) registered in the right places.  You need to be registered so people can find you and believe me, they’re looking for you.  You have something incredibly valuable, something incredibly powerful, something incredibly honorable, you have the lifelong status and designation as a Veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces.  No matter what may come, no matter what life or circumstances may bring, you are now and will forever be a Veteran.  That fact alone carries a tremendous amount weight, especially in the contracting arena.  As a matter of fact, it carries so much weight that some people falsely claim to be Veterans in order to win government contracts.  Others represent big companies that play a shell game and trick legitimate Veterans into heading up dummy companies that subcontract all the work back to those same big companies.  See my blog entitled Fast Cash (https://veteransbusinessresources.wordpress.com/2010/02/15/fast-cash/) for more on this scam.  

We must realize the awesome power and leverage having the Veteran status offers our community.  For example, we have priority when it comes to award of VA contracts.  Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) is number 1 and Veteran Owned Small Business (VOSB) is number 2.  There is currently legislation afoot to bring other federal agencies onboard with their own programs modeled after that of the VA. 

Now, let’s look at the critical areas under Registration. 

NAICS:  Your NAICS code is critical and will be used repeatedly throughout the Government Contracting process.  Take your time and search the tables for the NAICS code(s) that most accurately describes the work your business does or the service your business provides.  These 6 digit codes will be used to; register in the CCR, SBA Profile and VIP.  They will be used by Contract Specialists conducting market research, they will be used by Prime Contractors searching various data bases to find and identify qualified subcontractors.  They will be used when applying for different certifications.  They will even be used as part of your marketing material.  You can now list up to 1,000 NAICS codes in your CCR. 

Small or not Small:  Why is that important you ask?  The Small Business Administration (SBA) has negotiated a contracting goal with federal government agencies and large prime contractors that says 23 percent of all federal contracts will be awarded to Small Business.  Small Businesses can compete for both small and large contracts.  Large businesses can ONLY compete for large contracts.  OK, that makes sense, but how can Small Businesses compete for both small and large contracts?  See my blog entitled T.E.A.M. (https://veteransbusinessresources.wordpress.com/2010/02/22/%e2%80%9ct-e-a-m-%e2%80%9d-together-everyone-achieves-more/) for a better explanation. Your business’ size limitations are determined by your primary NAICS code. 

Dun & Bradstreet:  Before you can register your company in the Central Contractors Registration (CCR) you must have a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number.  Once you have the DUNS number, you must wait 24 hours before you can enter it into the CCR database.  Getting your DUNS number and registering in the CCR are among your initial steps in marketing your business.  D&B will sell your contact information to other companies, so be prepared for all the e-mail you are about to start getting.  Some of it is actually usable.  NOTE:  The DUNS number is free of charge.    

Small Business Classification:  There are only 2 federal classifications you can obtain for your business.  Both classifications/certifications are administered by the SBA.  Those classifications are:  SBA 8(a) and the HUBZone programs.  Go to the following sites to read more about these SBA Programs:  www.sba.gov/aboutsba/sbaprograms/8abd/index.html and http://www.sba.gov/hubzone/ 

CCR:  A lot of people look in the CCR for a lot of reasons, awarding contracts happens to be just one of them.  The government can’t award you a contract if you’re not registered in the CCR and if your registration is not current.  Only about 5 percent of businesses are registered in the CCR.  Said another way, being registered in the CCR places you ahead of 95 percent of the other companies out there.  Don’t get happy just yet, we still have a very, very long way to go.  

VIP:  To enjoy the Veteran contracting priority with the VA, you must be registered and have your Veteran status verified by the CVE.  To date, there is no certification for Veteran Owned Businesses, only a verification process.  The verification as SDVOSB or VOSB is good for 1 year and must be re-verified annually.   

  1. Registration: 
  • Determine your company’s North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code(s):  www.census.gov/epcd/naics02/naicod02.htm
  • Determine if your company is considered a “Small” business:  www.sba.gov/sizetable2002.html
  • Register your company with Dun & Bradstreet:  www.dnb.com
  • Determine your company’s small business classification:  SDVOSB, VOB, 8(a), SDB, WOB, HUBZone, etc.
  • Register your company on the Central Contractors Registration (CCR):  www.ccr.gov
  • Register in the Vendor Information Pages (VIP) at Center for Veterans Enterprise (CVE) run by the VA:  www.vetbiz.gov
  • Register on your state’s contractor Website.
  • Register on your county and local government contractor Websites.
  • Register and consult with your local Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC), run by Defense Logistics Agency (DLA):  www.dla.mil/db/procurem.htm
  • Register with companies that you know purchase the products or services you sell.

Filed under: Getting Started, Government Contracting, Registrations & Certifications, Veterans Affairs, , , , , , ,