Getting certified as a veteran could help you win government contracts.
If you are a veteran with a small business, do you have veteran certification from the state of Missouri and U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA)?
If not, you could be passing up valuable opportunities through government contracting programs.
Both the state and the VA give service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses (SDVOSBs) priority for some contracts. The VA also gives special consideration to veteran-owned small businesses (VOSBs), and it can offer set-aside and sole-source contracts to SDVOSBs and VOSBs.
These programs result in a large number of Missouri SDVOSB and VOSB companies receiving federal contracts.
Recent federal laws and a sympathetic new VA procurement hierarchy also place the highest priority on SDVOB contracts, followed by VOSB contracts. This procurement authority is a logical extension of VA’s mission to care for our nation’s veterans.
VA refers to its program as the Veterans First Contracting Program.
Veterans First Contracting Program
To qualify for this program, you must first have your status as a veteran verified. You can find step-by-step instructions at the following website: 1.usa.gov/1PZgYW8. It provides an overview of the process, screen shots for submitting an application and detailed explanations. You can find more information at www.vetbiz.gov.
Seeking veteran certification can be complex, but the Missouri Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) has locations across the state where counselors can help with the process.
Even better, these counselors have received training on certification rules from the VA itself, through its Verification Assistance Program. The goal of the program is simple: To reduce denials due to lack of understanding and misinterpretation.
The most common mistakes business owners make when applying for certification as a veteran?
» Not checking the appropriate box for “status” on VA Form 0877.
» Not indicating percentage of ownership for each individual owner.
» Ownership total not equaling 100 percent.
» Not listing all owners.
» Business name in Name of Company on VA Form 0877 doesn’t match the business name listed in the Vendor Information Pages profile.
» Veteran’s name doesn’t match Veterans Benefit Administration (VBA) records. For example, a record hasn’t been updated with VBA after a name change due to marriage.
» Incomplete or incorrect documentation.
» Unusual ownership or management structure.
» Affiliation issues.
» Veteran is unavailable or unresponsive to requests for further information.
State of Missouri Division of Purchasing and Materials Management Program
Meanwhile, the state of Missouri’s Division of Purchasing and Materials Management (DPMM) has a set-aside program for service-disabled veteran enterprises. DPMM’s goal is to award 3 percent of all contracts for jobs or services to qualified service-disabled veteran business enterprises (SDVEs).
The program also has a bonus point system for bidders who meet the requirements of a SDVE on bids or proposals for any job or service, not just set-aside contracts, though there are a few exceptions. A qualified SDVE vendor can obtain DPMM contracts and bonus points by using qualified subcontractors or suppliers that provide at least 3 percent of the total contract’s value.
Any individual, business or organization that meets the definition of a service-disabled veteran and service-disabled veteran business enterprise may submit an application form with copies of discharge papers and other documentation to DPMM. DPMM will then review the completed application form and documentation to determine if the individual, business or organization qualifies as a SDVE.