Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business / SDVOSB certification requirements) decisions for government contracts is becoming a hot item in bid protest litigation. When it comes to Department of Veteran Affairs solicitations for SDVOSB Set Aside Contracts, government contracting agencies sometimes fail to follow statutory requirements for market research.
When it comes to learning how to get government contracts for small businesses, service-disabled-veteran-owned small businesses with veterans’ preferences that are faced with competing against larger businesses can sometimes have a difficult time winning bids because of the tough competition. Therefore, small companies looking to secure federal contracts for disabled veterans may have to resort to filing bid protests.
Filing a bid protest can be very tricky. Therefore, as a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Business small business SDVOSB, you want to be aware of the costly mistakes made when filing a GAO protest.
Current SBA current regulations (specifically 13 CFR 125.19(b)(2)(i)) require contracting officers to consider small business procurements for service-connected disabled veteran-owned business entities. If the agency fails to conduct service disabled veteran owned small business requirementsmarket research before setting aside procurements for other small business programs, then it may have violated SBA’s regulations.
What are Agency Requirements for SDVOSB Set-Aside Contracts?
The Small Business Administration (SBA) encourages agencies to reserve certain contracts for Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses (SDVOSB). This is commonly referred to as a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business set-aside. In order for government contracting agencies to set aside contracts for SDVOSB companies the agency and contractor must adhere to certain statutory requirements. The agency must, at a minimum makes sure of the following when considering SDVOSB certification for small business set-asides.
- A competitive disabled veterans’ business program set-aside contract can be awarded if the contracting officer has a reasonable expectation that at least two responsible disabled veterans’ small businesses will submit offers and that the resulting contract can be awarded at a fair market price.
- A sole-source disabled veterans’ business program contract can be awarded if the contracting officer doesn’t have a reasonable expectation that two or more qualified disabled veterans’ small businesses will submit offers, determines that the qualified disabled veterans’ small business is responsible, and determines that the contract can be awarded at a fair price. The government estimate cannot exceed $7 million for manufacturing requirements or $4 million for all other requirements.
When contracts are worth at or below $250,000, they are automatically set-aside for small businesses. If possible, you can choose to set it aside specifically for businesses in socio-economic programs like the disabled veterans’ business program.
For a set-aside contract to be compliant with the law, agencies must also ensure that (1) all offerors are small businesses; (2) the price of offers from SDVOSB firms is not significantly higher than those of other offerors; (3) the awardee is an eligible SDVOSB; and (4) there are no other procurement related issues. To meet these requirements, contracting officers must ensure that they have checked the System for Award Management (SAM), conducted a proper market research effort to determine whether a set-aside contract is appropriate, and taken steps to verify that all offerors meet the SDVOSB certification requirements.
What Can Unsuccesful Bidders Do When the Requirements are Not Met?
When an agency fails to comply with the SBA’s set-aside regulations, a successful bidder may bring a bid protest challenge seeking compensation for additional costs associated with the contract. In such cases, it is important to seek out experienced bid protest lawyers who have knowledge of both government contracting and SDVOSB eligibility requirements. Such lawyers can help ensure that your rights are protected and any violations of the law are appropriately addressed.
By adhering to theseservice disabled veteran owned small business requirements, agencies can create a level playing field for all offerors while promoting opportunities for small businesses owned by service-disabled veterans. By understanding the agency’
SDVOSB Certification Requirements
To get certified and to reap the benefits of VA set aside contracts for disabled veterans, your documentation and application must meet the following SDVOSB certification requirements :
- The Service Disabled Veteran (SDV) must have a service-connected disability that has been determined by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) or Department of Defense (DOD)
- The SDVOSB company must be small under the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code assigned to the procurement
- The SDV must unconditionally own 51% of the SDVOSB
- The SDVO (Owner) must control the management and daily operations of the company
- The SDV (owner ) must hold the highest officer position in the SDVOSB. There is no wiggle room for this requirement
- The management and daily business operations of the concern must be controlled by one or more service-disabled veterans.
- Service-disabled veteran means a veteran with a disability that is service-connected.
- Ownership must be direct. Ownership by one or more service disabled veterans must be direct ownership.
- A concern owned principally by another business entity that is in turn owned and controlled by one or more service-disabled veterans does not meet this requirement.
Filing Bid Protests for SDVOSB Set Aside Contracts
GAO previously sustained protests filed against VA service disabled veteran-owned small business set aside being conducted pursuant to FSS rules where the protester asserted that the agency failed to comply with the SDVOSB set aside contracts requirements of the VA Act and its implementing regulations. See Aldevra, B-406205, Mar. 14, 2012, 2012 CPD ¶ 112. See also Are You a GAO Protest Intervenor? How to Intervene or Defend in A Bid Protest?
Procurements that are being conducted pursuant to General Services Administration Federal Supply Schedule (FSS) procedures and implementing regulations are set forth at Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) subpart 8.4. In accordance with those regulations, the solicitations might be issued on an unrestricted basis. However, the Veterans Administration may act improperly by using FSS procedures without first conducting market research to decide whether the procurement should be a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Businesses.
Tip: Bid protests complaining about the prime contractors SDVOSB status should not go GAO or the SBA Area Office. Instead, you should approach the VA with this issue.
Tip: How the agency decided to set-aside the contract for SDVOSB set aside or VA contracts for disabled veterans could be an issue for GAO.
If you can successfully show that had the agency conducted market research, it would have found that at least two Service Disabled Veteran Owned Businesses could meet the CICA small business set aside requirements at a reasonable price, you might be able to prevail in a GAO protest.
What if You Did Not Submit a Service Disabled Veteran Set Aside Contracts Proposal?
Sometimes, filing a bid protest for SDVOSB certification requirements for a set aside can be problematic if your bid protest lawyer does not fully understand the law. Problems can arise, and the agency will certainly try to get your case dismissed when a question arises as to whether you are an interested party. This is a mandatory requirement to file a bid protest. For example, if you are a teaming partner or subcontractor. See information about CVE SDVOSB Protests.
Do You Meet the Statutory Interested Party Requirements in Bid Protests
Under the Competition in Contracting Act of 1984, 31 USC 3551- 56 (2006) and GAO Bid Protest Regulations, 4 CFR 21.0(a)(1) (2012), only an “interested party” may protest a federal procurement. That is, a protester must meet the requirements of being an actual or prospective bidder or offeror whose direct economic interest would be affected by the award of a contract or the failure to award SDVOSB Set Aside contracts.
The key to overcoming this issue of an SDVOSB certification requirements in a bid protest, is to challenge the government contracting agency’s failure to solicit you for the FSS order, and the agency’s improper issuance of the order to a small business concern where there were other service disabled veteran set aside contracts for small businesses, including you, that could satisfy this requirement.
Under these circumstances, you will more than likely be deemed an interested party, a prospective offeror whose direct economic interest is affected by the issuance of the FSS order to another small business who is not a service-disabled veteran.
Consistent with GAO recent decisions, the Veterans Benefits, Health Care, and Information Technology Act of 2006 requires that the agency makes a determination whether these acquisitions should be set aside for SDVOSB (or VOSB) concerns prior to conducting the procurements using FSS procedures.
SDVOSB Joint Venture Requirements
If you are a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (FAR SDVOSB VA Set Aside Contracts ) needing help with government small business services that challenges service disabled veteran owned small business set aside and SDVOSB certification requirements, call our Washington, DC bid protest lawyers at 1-866-601-5518 for a free initial consultation.