Tuesday, December 14, 2010

SDVOSB Adventures

As I type this, I wait on hold with the St. Louis VA.

I started this adventure with two objectives:  Order extra lapels pins for my SDVOSB, and find out how long it would take for one of my clients to have their firm listed on the searchable directory of SDVOSB's at vip.vetbiz.gov.

Reading the letter I received from the Department of Veterans Affairs Center for Veterans Enterprise, I noted this paragraph:

"If you would like additional lapel pins for members of your staff, please visit www.VetBiz.gov for instructions on how you may order additional pins."

I encourage any reader to visit www.vetbiz.gov and if you find out how to order additional pins, please let me know.

After spending ten minutes rooting around, I decided to move on to objective number two.  As part of GallantFew's work, I consult with the Kansas Small Business Development Center (KSBDC) to help guide veteran owned small businesses through the certification process.  Any money I receive goes directly into GallantFew in order to serve more veterans. 

In early November, I was introduced to a cool small business.  Owned by a Service Disabled Veteran, no one (and they had multiple governmental resources assisting their start-up) ever took them through the process of applying for the VA's CVE designation - which is becoming more and more important for a governmental agency looking for a legitimate SDVOSB in order to satisfy set-aside purchasing requirements.  So I told the owner about my experience, which was one of going to www.vip.vetbiz.gov and registering my business as a SDVOSB.  This involved downloading a form, completing and faxing it back and in a few days my company appeared in the directory, without the cool little wreath logo indicating a "certified" veteran business.  About six months later and a few more hurdles and I became "certified" and entitled to display the wreath.

So November 15th this business submitted their packet, and almost immediately received an email response that stated:  

"Congratulations VETERAN! (The real person's name was here)

COMPANY (again, real name omitted) LLC has successfully been added to the Vetbiz Registry.  Your record is being reviewed by our staff and will appear in the Vetbiz Registry upon approval.  You may edit your record by logging on at:

vip.vetbiz.gov" (this link is important later)

So knowing it only took a week or so for my company to make the listing, I kept checking www.vip.vetbiz.gov and no luck - it wasn't showing.  After a month (now December 14) I asked the owner if I could call and check on status for them and was given their permission, and they forwarded me the email I quoted above.

Clicked on the link, again here:  vip.vetbiz.gov.  Try it - you'll probably get the same message.

Oops! Google Chrome could not find vip.vetbiz.gov
Did you mean: www.­vip.­vetbiz.­gov 

Yup - of course I did.  Under the contact link, I found 202-303-3360 to the main DC office.  Listening to all the prompts, I went through to "7", or "verification process".  A gentleman answered (and stated he was a contractor for the government), and I explained that I had two requests, and outlined the two above.  He said the lapel pins was EASY!  All I had to do was call the VA Canteen, at 866-256-0266!  As for the request on verification, I of course have the wrong extension, and must call back and this time select option "6" for "certification".

OK - back to 202-303-3360 and option 6.  This time another fine gentleman answered and I explained I was a consultant with a Small Business Development Center and was calling on behalf of a client, further describing their situation.  He told me that we would have to wait for an email and then ask for certification in order for the record to be viewable.


I explained that in MY experience, I was listed in about a week and then certified in about six months.  Since they already received a nice Congratulations! email, shouldn't they also be listed?  

Ah, he said.  Due to Public Law 111-275 that was just passed, only certified companies can now be available for public viewing (dang, now that I write this I should have asked if governmental purchasing officers can see their record - and no, not calling back).

Would you confirm they are in the system?  I asked.

He asked me for the company name, and I gave that to him.  Hmmm, he said... 40%.  (Gee bud, thanks for telling me their disability rating).

And how long should they expect to wait?  I asked.

About four months, he replied.

To which I thanked him and hung up the phone.  Ah, now to my lapel pins!

Call the Vet Canteen at 866-256-0266... Patriot Store Direct

Dell Computers... press 1
Goodyear tires...press 2
All other products...press 3
For customer service...press 4

I figured lapel pins must be All other products, sooo now on hold which is where I started this call.  But wait!  A nice woman answers the phone, and when I tell her I need to order lapel pins, she says - Hey, that's Mary!  I'll transfer you!

I left Mary a voicemail.


  1. A follow up note.

    Today I decided to research Public Law 111-175. It has to do with satellite transmission and there is nothing in it pertaining to the CVE process.

    A google search for CVE public law 2010 reveals nothing. Further when I search for a business at www.vip.vetbiz.gov there ARE businesses listed that are not certified.

    Was this guy at the VA yanking my leg, ignorant, or both?

    Still no return call from the VA Canteen...

  2. I just submitted my SDVOSB and was told it takes 3-5 months for final certification. Completely ridiculous considering registering in SAM took 2 months alone. I'm lucky that I already have my disability rating - but what about the veterans that wait 24 months, only to be jerked around another 8 months to recieve the buisness certifications.

    It's a benefit once you get the certifications -but the process is slow and painful.

  3. Excellent tips. Really useful stuff .Never had an idea about this, will look for more of such informative posts from your side.. Good job...Keep it up
    lapel pins