Small businesses need every possible advantage when it comes to competing with the big boys, and this is especially true of contractors. If you want to grow your contracting and construction business, you’ll need to work on large municipal and government projects, like performing road work or working in underutilized business zones. That’s where HUBZone contracting comes into play.
Many small businesses who are just starting out may not even realize what the HUBZone program is. Check out what it means to become a HUBZone certified contractor under the SBA, and how it can help you grow from a startup to a major player in contracting.
What Is HUBZone?
HUBZone stands for “Historically Underutilized Business Zones.” It’s a federal program operated under the U.S. Small Business Association (SBA) which aids small businesses that function in certain rural and urban communities to gain access to federal procurements. It was first brought into law in 1997 as part of the Small Business Reauthorization Act, and is designed to help encourage economic development in areas that historically were underutilized.
Access to Contracting Opportunities
The key factor of importance in the HUBZone program is that it provides small businesses access to opportunities for federal contracting. It does this by determining who is eligible to get HubZone contracts, maintaining a list of qualified small businesses to help federal agencies locate contractors, reviewing eligibility protests and reporting the impact of the program to congress.
The Benefits of HUBZone Certification
Companies that become certified under the HUBZone program gain access to sole-source contracting, making them much more competitive in the industry. They gain a 10% preference in price evaluation regarding open contract competitions, full contract competitions and subcontracting. In addition, the federal government seeks to award 3% of all federal prime contract dollars to businesses that are HUBZone certified.
Who Is Eligible for HUBZone Certification?
Like all federal programs, there are a list of qualifications to become eligible for certification under this program. These include meeting the standards of operation as a small business established by the SBA, having controlling ownership of at least 51% by community development corporations or United States Citizens, an Indian tribe or an agricultural co-op.
Your business must also be located in an area designated as an Historically Underutilized Business Zone, which includes Indian lands and closed military facilities. Finally, a minimum of 35% of your employees must live in a certified HUBZone area.
Bonding and SBA Certification
Of course, in order to compete with the large construction companies out there, gain federal contracts and grow your business, you’ll need the proper surety bonding. National Surety Services, Inc., has been in business providing small business surety bonds for over 25 years, and we cover all manner of business needs, including SBA bonding services.
Our only goal is to streamline and simplify the process of bonding for small- to medium-sized construction and contracting businesses. We offer a streamlined process as well as a range of educational materials to our customers, and we look forward to helping you. If you need more information about becoming a HUBZone certified contractor or how SBA bonding can help, get in touch with us today!