• 5322 Primrose Lake Circle, Suite B, Tampa, FL 33647
  • (813) 333.5800
  • info@cloveer.com

Though there is much more to 8(a) certification than meeting a few simple criteria, there are in fact some basic requirements that must be met to consider applying. If you are ready to begin the 8(a) application process, you will need to organize a lot of information. We at Cloveer know this can be daunting, so we've compiled an 8(a) certification checklist to help you make sure you're on the right track. Take a look at this 8a checklist to see if you meet the basic eligibility requirements to qualify to apply for 8(a) certification.

  • All applicant(s) must be a US Citizen. (Applicant = The 51% or more owner or anyone else who is considered the applicant for 8(a) Certification purposes)  
  • The applicant(s) must devote full-time to the business that is applying for 8(a) Certification at the time of application submission. This means that they must work at least 40 hours per week in the business concern without any other outside employment.
  • The primary applicant must hold the highest management position within the business that is applying for 8(a) Certification. Generally this is the CEO, President or Managing Member.
  • The primary applicant must be able to demonstrate that they are the highest compensated in the business that is applying for 8(a) Certification. Generally the SBA will deny your 8(a) application if you cannot demonstrate the applicant currently is the highest compensated or there is a very good reason why they have elected not to be.
  • The applicant(s) must have an adjusted net worth of less than $250,000 at the time they apply for 8(a) Certification. Adjusted net worth = Assets - liabilities - (Equity in primary residence + value of ownership interest in business concern + IRA/401(k) or Other Retirement Accounts subject to a penalty for early withdrawal). Complete our adjusted net worth calculator to help determine yours.
  • The applicant(s) AGI (Adjusted Gross Income) cannot be more than $250,000 averaged over the last three tax years. If you suspect you might exceed this, we have an AGI Analysis to help determine your AGI
  • The applicant(s) cannot have transferred any personal assets during the last two years to an immediate family member for less than fair market value.
  • The applicant must be able to provide a detailed narrative statement of economic disadvantage, if a member of one of the SBA's designated groups. If the applicant(s) are not a member of one of the SBA's designated groups they must also be able to submit a narrative statement of social disadvantage.
  • The applicant(s) must generally hold all licenses or professional certifications required to operate the business concern. The only exception is if the individual who holds the license or professional certification is not an equity owner and the applicant(s) can prove that they have supervisory control of this individual.
  • The applicant(s) and any other owner in the business or who is considered a key officer, employee or director cannot have any delinquent SBA loans, federal (taxes), state (taxes), liens, or local obligations unless they can provide proof of a payment arrangement agreement with the associated party along with copies of timely payments being made. All liens must be satisfied.
  • The applicant(s) and any other owner in the business or who is considered a key officer, employee or director cannot have used their eligibility to qualify another 8(a) concern or been an officer of another current or past 8(a) participant.
  • The applicant(s) and any other owner in the business or who is considered a key officer, employee or director cannot have an immediate family member who is or has been a participant in the 8(a) Program unless this other business was is in a totally separate line of business.
  • The business concern, applicant(s) and any other owner in the business or who is considered a key officer, employee or director cannot have filed for bankruptcy in the last 7 years unless the bankruptcy has been discharged by the court.
  • The applicant(s) and any other owner in the business or who is considered a key officer, employee or director should generally not be involved in any pending civil lawsuits.
  • The applicant(s) cannot have any ownership in another business concern other than the business concern that is applying for 8(a) Certification
  • Any other owner in the business or who is considered a key officer, employee or director who has ownership interest in any other business, other than the business concern that is applying for 8(a) Certification may possibly cause the SBA to affiliate the associated business. Please call for further clarification.
  • Any other owner in the business or who is considered a key officer, employee or director who has ownership interest in any other business cannot be the former employer of the applicant(s) for 8(a) Certification.
  • The applicant(s) and any other owner in the business or who is considered a key officer, employee or director cannot be debarred from doing business with the federal government.
  • The applicant(s) and any other owner in the business or who is considered a key officer, employee or director cannot be on probation or parole. If the anyone has been arrested in the past it does not automatically deny them unless they were convicted of a specific crime. Having an arrest, regardless of how long ago, will severely delay the review of your 8(a) Application by a minimum of 90+ days.
  • The business concern must be considered small by the SBA. Your primary NAICS code, gross sales and sometimes the number of employees define your size standard that the SBA will base its determination on.
  • The business concern must have been in business for 2 full years. In addition, the last two years of its filed tax returns must show a reasonable amount of revenues. If it has not, you must seek a waiver and meet the 5 conditions set by the SBA to overcome this condition.
  • The business concern and the applicant cannot have any delinquent tax filings or have any cannot have any delinquent SBA loans, federal (taxes), state (taxes) ,liens, or local obligations unless they can provide proof of a payment arrangement agreement with the associated party along with copies of timely payments being made. All liens must be satisfied.
  • The business concern must be at least 51% directly owned by the applicant. The business concern must be a for-profit business and cannot be classified as a broker or be a subsidiary of another business concern.
  • The business concern's current financial statements must exhibit positive net income, positive net equity and positive working capital at the time of application submission.
  • The business concern cannot be earning more than 70% of your total revenue from one (1) billable client in the current year. Your past and current 2 to 3 years of contract mix must show that you no have earned more than 70% of your total revenue from one of your billable clients. Note. The 70% rule does not apply if your direct billable client is a federal, state or local government agency.
  • If the business concern has existing management, joint venture, indemnity, consulting, distributorship, license, trust or franchise agreements, the SBA will want to review these in great detail. Please call for further clarification.
  • If changes of ownership have occurred to the business concern in the past two years, and the current applicant(s) have become the new majority owners, the SBA will want to examine these ownership changes in great detail. This can possibly be an eligibility issue based upon your unique circumstances. Please call for further clarification.
  • If the business has ownership in or an affiliation with another business the SBA will want to examine this in great detail. Please call for further clarification.
  • If another business has ownership in the business concern applying for 8(a) Certification, the SBA will want to examine this in great detail. Please call for further clarification.
  • If the business concern buys from, sells to, or uses the services or facilities of any other business concern, or conduct business with any other business concern in which any other owner in the business or who is considered a key officer, employee, other than the applicant(s), the SBA will want to examine this in great detail. Please call for further clarification.
  • The business concern applying for 8(a) Certification cannot have been previously approved for the 8(a) program.
  • If any other business concern or anyone who is considered a key officer, employee, other than the applicant(s) provides financial, bonding support, licenses, or required professional certification, office space or equipment to the business concern that is applying for 8(a) Certification, the SBA will want to examine this in great detail. Please call for further clarification.
  • The business concern applying for 8(a) Certification cannot be started with the assets of a previously certified 8(a) program participant.
  • The business concern must not be subcontracting out more than the allowable percentages. Please call for further clarification.
  • Please Note. The above are the general 8(a) eligibility requirements! There may be more eligibility requirements based upon your unique business circumstances.

Not sure if you qualify for the SBA 8(a) Program? Just call us at 813-333-5800 to go through our Free prequalifying Interview. If you prefer, you can also setup a convenient time for a free consultation by selecting the button below:

Request a Free Consultation 8(a) Application Completion Service