DO NOT check this box if you are using a public computer. User IDs potentially containing sensitive information will not be saved.
Sign on to Online Banking
4-Step Guide to Getting Certified as a Veteran-Owned Business
by Rebecca Lake
Veterans who are hoping to launch a small business or grow an existing one have a unique opportunity to benefit from government initiatives that encourage entrepreneurship among military members. For example, the Veterans Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development Act of 1999 earmarks three percent of all federal prime contracts and subcontracts for small businesses run by veterans.
Becoming a federal contractor starts with getting your business certified as veteran-owned. That involves documenting your military service and disability, if applicable, and registering with the appropriate government agencies. If veteran-owned certification is something you'd like to pursue, here's what you'll need to do.
1. Get verified by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) sponsors the Vets First Contracting Program, which ensures that government set-asides are available to veteran-owned small businesses (VOSB) and service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses (SDVOSB). To participate in this program, you have to be certified by the VA.
To apply for verification, you'll need to register for a VetBiz account. From there, you'll have to upload supporting documentation, including a Department of Defense Form 214, an official letter from the VA certifying your disabled-status if you're disabled, and financial documents for your business. The financial documents include tax forms, bank statements, and articles of incorporation if you have a C corp., an S corp., or a Limited Liability Company (LLC).
The VA then reviews all of your information to make sure you meet their requirements before giving you an official certification. For example, you must have at least a 51% ownership stake in the business. Also bear in mind that it can take up to 60 days to get a final decision.
2. Register with the System for Award Management.
Once you're registered with the VA, your next move is registering with the System for Award Management (SAM), formerly known as the Central Contractor Registration (CCR). As a side note, this is only required if you want to pursue government contracts. If you're just hoping to attract more customers to your business by being certified as veteran-owned, you could skip this step.
There are two things you'll need to register your business through SAM. The first is a federal Tax Identification Number (TIN), Employer Identification Number (EIN), or a Social Security number (SSN). Which one you decide to use ultimately depends on how your business is structured. In addition to that, you'll need a nine-digit D-U-N-S Number. This number is issued by Dun & Bradstreet and is used to establish your business credit file.
It doesn't cost anything to register with SAM and you can check your application's progress through the SAM Status Tracker. Typically, it takes between seven and 10 days for registration to be completed, but it can take longer if you have to request an EIN from the Internal Revenue Service.
3. Register with the General Services Administration.
The General Services Administration (GSA) is the gateway point for obtaining access to large government contracts. To have a shot at scooping up one of these contracts, there are a few things to cross off your to-do list.
First, you'll need to register through the System for Award Management and get a D-U-N-S Number if you don't already have one. Then you have to verify your small business status with the Small Business Administration and determine your North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code with the Census Bureau. Finally, you have to provide past performance evaluations from previous customers. Once you've done all that, you can get certified to begin pursuing these government contracts.
4. Look into certification at the state level.
Being certified as a veteran-owned business through the federal government isn't the only option. At the state level, certification may be available through your home state's Commerce department or Secretary of State's office. The National Veteran-Owned Business Administration offers a helpful state tracker tool  that highlights which states are most receptive to veteran-owned business contractors.
A Final Word
Getting certified as a veteran-owned business can be exceptionally rewarding if you're interested in becoming a federal contractor. It's also helpful if you're hoping to expand your customer base by appealing to consumers who prefer to frequent businesses run by vets.
Just remember that the process can be time-intensive and the certification isn't guaranteed. If you want to increase your odds of becoming certified, be sure to read over the guidelines for each government agency carefully so you don't miss anything that could cause your application to be denied.
About This Author
Rebecca Lake has been writing about small business, investing and real estate for nearly a decade. Her work has been featured on a number of online outlets, including The Huffington Post, Fox Business, CBS News and the Intuit QuickBooks Small Business Center.
Cash Flow Challenges
Insights on the top cash flow challenges business owners are facing today.
Browse All Articles »
Sign Up Now
Receive an email with featured articles and valuable insights for today’s business owners.
We've Made One Business Decision Easier —
Business Checking from PNC
Earn a $200 cash reward when you open and use a qualifying PNC business checking account by 09/30/19.
Get Offer Details »
Start Your Cash Flow Conversation
Give us a call at 1-855-762-2365 or fill out our simple form and a PNC Business Banking representative will get in touch with you.
Request a Contact »
Optimize Your Business Cash Flow
Important Legal Disclosures and Information
PNC is a registered mark of The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. (“PNC”). This article has been prepared for general information purposes by the author who is solely responsible for its contents. The opinions expressed in these articles are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of PNC or any of its affiliates, directors, officers or employees. This article is not intended to provide legal, tax or accounting advice or to suggest that you engage in any specific transaction, including with respect to any securities of PNC, and does not purport to be comprehensive. Under no circumstances should any information contained in the presentation, the webinar or the materials presented be used or considered as an offer or commitment, or a solicitation of an offer or commitment, to participate in any particular transaction or strategy or should it be considered legal or tax advice. Any reliance upon any such information is solely and exclusively at your own risk. Please consult your own counsel, accountant or other advisor regarding your specific situation. Neither PNC Bank nor any other subsidiary of The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc., will be responsible for any consequences of reliance upon any opinion or statement contained here, or any omission. Banking and lending products and services, bank deposit products, and Treasury Management products and services for healthcare providers and payers are provided by PNC Bank, National Association, a wholly owned subsidiary of PNC and Member FDIC. Lending and leasing products and services, including card services and merchant services, as well as certain other banking products and services, may require credit approval.
GET IN TOUCH
Banking on the Go
We have tools to help you bank when and where you want.Mobile Apps Directory »
Be part of our inclusive culture that strives for excellence and rewards talent.Visit PNC Careers »
The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. All rights reserved.