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PRE- and POST- Programming for the 8(a) Firm

by cynthiabgardner, Window Shopper

  • Created: October 15, 2012, 9:17 am
  • Updated: October 15, 2012, 9:43 am
Selling Construction Services to the federal government is a different proposition altogether. We have encountered the special wrinkles presented by our industry, and feel that a particular orientation to the government's system of buying construction-related services would have been helpful to us. Since becoming an 8(a) Program Participant we have spent enormous time and energy to prepare for utilizing our 8(a) opportunity, only to 1) stumble upon this different set of construction rules (e.g. bone fide place of business); and 2) position for bonding and % self-performance. Our firm is in its 29th MONTH of the 108-MONTH program, and we remain frustrated that the clock is ticking. Our time is still being consumed learning the ropes! A waste of valuable "Opportunity Time," don't you think? Certainly each district office of SBA with its many programs cannot be staffed with construction experts, but we wonder if the best practices and special requirements of federal Construction Constracting could be presented in district/regional forums as part of the standard 8(a) Program orientation? (If this content is already offered, and we were not made aware, our feelings are very hurt! And if the j-7 Construction Contracting 101 is all you got, it's not enough.) At last year's Annual Meeting of the National 8(a) Association, an invitation was extended from Headquarters to comment on the concept of "Pre- and Post- Programming" for 8(a). We admit we failed to submit formal comment in timely fashion. However, if input is still being solicited, we wish to contribute our opinion now that a PRE-8(a) Program Period would have been extremely helpful to us. We may have rankled initially at the thought of any delay(because of our ignorance and being Gung-ho to get into the Program), but candid information about the steep learning curve (for Construction for sure) and the for-real lost opportunity time would have, we hope, made us recognize and choose to become better prepared so that we would hit the ground running. So then, what additional preparation should we seek to complete as a CONSTRUCTION FIRM, having credible private past-performance, but no federal contracting past-performance to-date? And what is the status of the PRE-Program initiative?

JGabriel | Community Moderator | 10/17/2012 - 11:38 am

Hi, I suggest you visit our local assistance guide to find your local SBA resource partners by entering your zip code. That way, you can reach out to them about your suggestions for the 8(a) program orientation and to see if you can contribute your opinion for the Pre-8(a) program. Another approach that may be useful is talking to a mentor who could offer you specific guidance. Good luck!