CONTRACTING 101

8(a) offer letters are a critical step in securing government business

Kiya Perrin, a business opportunity specialist for the Small Business Administration, explained last week at the AQCUIRE trade show what the 8(a) Business Development Program is and how government agencies should submit offer letters to get involved. 

The 8(a) Business Development Program offers assistance for small disadvantaged businesses and helps them gain traction in government contracting, according to the Small Business Administration website.

“Basically, this is how an agency offers a requirement or offers work to our program,” Perrin said during her presentation. “They submit an offer letter, so it’s a written letter basically saying that we have this requirement and we would be great for the program and we have also identified a firm that we think could be the one.”

Perrin said agencies should include the following information in offer letters:

  • Description of the work to be performed
  • Estimated period of performance
  • NAICS Code that applies to nature of the acquisition
  • Anticipated dollar value of requirement, including options, if any
  • Any restrictions or geographical limitations
  • Location of the work to be performed
  • Any special capabilities or disciplines needed
  • Type of contract to be awarded
  • Acquisition history of the requirement
  • Names and addresses of any small business contractors that have performed on this requirement in the last 24 months
  • A statement that prior to the offering, no solicitation for the acquisition has been issued as a small business set-aside
  • Name of a participant that the contracting officer nominates for award of a sole source contract (should be left blank for competitive requirements)
  • Identification of all participants who have expressed interest in the acquisition
  • Statement of work
  • Contact person’s name, email address and phone number

Offer letters should be sent to either dcofferletters@sba.gov or by mail to the 8(a) Business Development Office in Washington, D.C. Perrin recommended that contracting officers not send letters to specific business opportunity specialists.

“You don’t want to do that because oftentimes we’re out of the office, things are going on; you just want to send it to the general mailbox so it will get processed as soon as possible,” she said.

The Small Business Administration has a five-day working acceptance, so if an agency does not hear back within that time, they “have the right to move forward,” Perrin said.

“What I usually suggest is that you don’t do that,” she said. “Call us, let us know. Make sure the firm is compliant. You know, things happen, but for the most part, we’re really able to make those requirements of turning around in five days.”

About the Author

Hannah Lang is an intern with Washington Technology. You can reach out to her at hlang@1105media.com.

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