Obtaining Your Veteran-Owned Business Certification
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Only U.S.-Based Businesses are Eligible
Did you know that 70% of Americans prefer to do business with veteran-owned businesses than with one that is not? Did you know that you can receive a certain percentage of federal government contracts with a veteran-owned business certification? Did you know that as a veteran who owns your own business, you can get an edge up on the competition when it comes to competing for government contracts?
If you are a veteran who owns your own business and is looking to obtain government contracts, you may want to consider getting your Veteran Owned Business Certification. This certification, along with a few registrations, will get your business on the map.
The following laws protect your rights as a veteran business owner:
- The Veterans Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development Act of 1999 states that if you have served in the military, especially if you have a service-related disability, you are most likely eligible for a certification that squares you to receive up to 3% of prime federal government contracts and subcontracts.
- The Veterans Benefits, Health Care, and Information Technology Act of 2006 provides the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA/) with unique authority for service-disabled veteran-owned business and veteran-owned small business set-aside and sole-source contracts. The VA refers to this program as the Veterans First Contracting Program.
Things to Consider Before Certifying Your Business
Before you obtain your certification, make sure you scope the size and restrictions of your operation. If the government purchases from your business and you have the funds to market your business to obtain big government contracts, go for it! But just know you will have to work for the contracts, and they do not come to you.
Also, if you're not looking to pursue government contracts, you may not need to get certified through the VA. Currently, there are over three million veteran-owned or service-disabled veteran-owned businesses in the United States. You may find that advertising your veteran-owned business via social media, signs, storefront, website, letterhead, email signatures, etc. is more than what you need to obtain business.
Qualifying for a Veteran-Owned Business Certificate
The requirements for becoming a veteran-owned business are extremely specific:
- You must be a veteran
- You must own at least 51% of the business applying for the certification
- You must control day-to-day operations of the business
- You must control business management
Note: If you are a disabled veteran with a disability score of 100%, it is acceptable for a spouse or caregiver to run your business on your behalf. If you have a score of 100% and you die from the injuries sustained, your spouse or caregiver can continue to run the business for up to 10 years as a veteran and accrue all of the veteran benefits.
Additionally, if applying to become a service-disabled veteran-owned business, you must also have a letter from the United States Department of Veteran Affairs (VA/) stating your service-disability status.
If you have misplaced your letter, contact the VA Benefits Office to obtain a copy.
To show proof of veteran status, you will need to provide your Department of Defense Form 214 (DD 214/), which was issued upon your military service retirement, separation, or discharge from active duty military.
Getting Certified as a Veteran-Owned Business
If you qualify for veteran-owned business certification and you think your business will be able to afford the marketing campaign required to target the government, you should head down to the VA. The VA is the only government agency that can verify your veteran-owned business, which may seem difficult, but can add a level of legitimacy to your certification.
1. Register your veteran-owned business with the VetBiz Registry on the veteran business database. The is conducted by the Center for Veteran Enterprise and provides step-by-step guidelines on applying for certification with the VA.
2. Fill out your DD 214 form.
3. Acquire your United States Department of Veteran Affairs service-disabled veteran letter, if necessary.
4. Submit all applications.
Once the VA begins the verification process, they will evaluate:
- Partnership agreements
- Corporate charters
- Organizational charters
- Board of Directors
- Mission Statements
- Service Providers
- Bank Statements
- Tax Information
- On-site visits (for a select few at random/), either announced or unannounced
Once you jump through all the hoops, provide everything that has asked, and go through the verification, you will receive your veteran-owned business certification.
Central Contractor Registration
Once you have registered with the VA, to become eligible for government contracts, you must then register with the Central Contractor Registration (CCR/). You will need to provide:
- Tax Identification Number (TIN/) (either an Employer Identification Number (EIN/) or Social Security Number (SSN/)/).
- If you recently received a new EIN, it can take two to five weeks to become active. If it has not been activated yet, wait for the EIN to activate before registering with the CCR.
- The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS/) code your business operates under.
- Your business's nine-digit identification number (DUNS/)
General Services Administration Registration
Once you have received your certification, and you're ready to start landing those big contracts, it's time to register with the General Services Administration (GSA/), which is an auditing body that determines if your services/products are of high enough quality for the government to purchase/acquire. Essentially, the GSA is a huge catalog of everything the government buys and if you're one of the vendors included, you are more likely to receive government contracts.
To register, you must:
- Review the list of GSA schedules to determine which category your services/products fall under (CCR certification is required for this to be done/)
- Complete the Online Representation and Certifications Application
- Obtain an Open Ratings Past Performance Evaluation
This registration can be extremely difficult to understand, so you may consider reviewing the GSA website, along with their online training sessions (offered throughout the year/) to gain visibility into understanding government agency procurement programs.
Looking to Start a Veteran-Owned Business?
If you find yourself needing to find funding for your veteran-owned business, First Union Lending is here to help.
We have nine different business loan types to choose from. This means that we're uniquely qualified to help you find the perfect loan to open your small business.
Applying for a business loan doesn't affect your credit. Better yet, your business loan may be approved as soon as the same day.
To discuss our business loans with one of our lending experts, click here or call 863-825-5626. We'll talk about our various business loans and help you find the right one for your medical practice.
Get started with the process now by learning more about our business loan types.