What is it?
The Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUBZone) program was established by the SBA to help small businesses in both urban and rural communities. Unlike other set-asides, such as WOSB, VOSB, and 8(a), the HUBZone set-aside has to do more with the location of the business.
All across the country, there are designated HUBZone areas and you can use the SBA’s HUBZone map to see if your principle office is located in one.
Benefits for HUBZone-certified companies include:
- Competitive and sole source contracting.
- 10 percent price evaluation preference in full and open contract competitions, as well as subcontracting opportunities.
When your business is registered as a HUBZone, you will get preferential treatment from contracting officers. Sometimes, they’ll post an opportunity in which only HUBZone entities can submit offers.
These officers also have quotas to meet when awarding contracts. So even if the set-aside isn’t designated in the solicitation, you might get selected because they have to reach a certain amount of dollars when awarding contracts. This also applies when you’re looking to work as a subcontractor.
To qualify for the HUBZone program, a business must:
- Be a small business by SBA standards.
- Be owned and controlled at least 51% by U.S. citizens, or a Community Development Corporation, an agricultural cooperative, or an Indian tribe.
- Have a primary location within a "Historically Underutilized Business Zone," which includes lands considered "Indian Country" and military facilities closed by the Base Realignment and Closure Act.
- At least 35 percent of its employees must also reside in a HUBZone.
Why Should I Get HUBZone Certified?
The U.S. federal government is trying to dump money into HUBZones. They’re allocating more dollars to the set-aside than they can possibly spend on qualified vendors. The benefits of this certification are so substantial, that many businesses are moving their primary location to these areas. If you match the criteria mentioned above, then a HUBZone certification will be the best business investment you will ever make.
How long does it take to get HUBZone Certified?
The HUBZone certification process typically takes about 90 days. After you submit your initial application, it is up to you to approve the request to authorize the application. The request is emailed shortly after submitting the online application and can sometimes end up in your spam folder. This must be done within 10 days of submitting the application.
For additional details on the certification process, you can view the Application Timeline Document.
Get Certified with USFCR
At US Federal Contractor Registration, we offer a variety of services that help businesses get a foothold in the federal marketplace. If your entity is located in a HUBZone, we will get you certified so you can have the competitive edge when perusing contracts. Here’s what we’ll do:
- File your HUBZone Employment and Principal Requirement Eligibility Forms.
- Submit identity verification paperwork, tax returns, and proof of citizenship.
- Process business ownership verification paper/File applicable trust agreement(s).
- Submit validation of lease/rental agreement/deed of principal office location.
- Submit copies of business utility bills.
- Verify your paid and unpaid employees, and prove that at least 35 percent of your employees reside in a HUBZone.
- Help maintain payroll records (which the SBA needs in order to verify you qualify for the program and remain qualified).
Length of Registration
Every three years, you will have to recertify your businesses’ HUBZone status. There’s no limit to how many times you can do this. You will also have to notify the SBA in case any changes occur that can affect your set-aside status. This includes factors such as:
- Change in business ownership
- Change in entity structure
- Change of principal office location
- Not meeting the requirement of at least 35% of your employees residing in the HUBZone
When the time comes to recertify, US Federal Contractor Registration can help you with this process as well.