SAM SDB Self-Certification

A PTAC Counselor can help you with questions like this one:


Question:  How can I self-certify for the SDB designation?  According the SBA website, all that is required is to register in SAM. The only place where I can find the SDB designation is in the SBA profile but the field is not editable. I’ve contacted my local SBA and the SAM help desk and no one seems to know how to change the designation to YES.

Answer:   Self-certifying means that you simply check the “small disadvantaged” box on Reps & Certs and on any bid documents or anywhere else that asks for socio-economic status. However, to be recognized as small and disadvantaged in the federal system, you must first complete the basic SAM registration by filling in three areas of data in SAM, for both “global” and “local”:

1. all the NAICS codes you are presently capable of performing in and designate the primary one which represents the bulk of your business activity (you only need one but may have more).

2. total number of employees (head count, not full-time equivalent) and if there are seasonal variations, use the annual average number.

3. total revenues from all sources.

The system will then compare these three areas of data against the Small Business Size Standards and will insert the business size for each industry. This can take a few days and will open up access to edit the DSBS profile where you can then fill in the capability statement, federal and other references, searchable keywords, etc. Note that any time you go back in to SAM to add or delete a NAICS code, employee head count, or revenues, the system will lock out the DSBS while it re-calculates the business size, so you should time such updates accordingly.

The former Online Reps & Certs (ORCA) are now integrated into SAM, so the business size boxes in the regulated wording are automatically checked based on SAM data and you would not manually check them. However, the “disadvantaged” part is derived from Question #17 in the Reps and Certs section. The question must be answered Yes or No. This question can be answered once the business is identified as a small business.

When the business size has correctly appeared in SAM, the you can then go to “update” and scroll down to “validate/update reps & certs” in order to check the box for “disadvantaged”. You might want to review the standards for disadvantaged status to be sure you are eligible both socially and economically. Checking the “disadvantaged” box constitutes self-certification and should not be misrepresented.

A common reason you cannot get editing access to update the small disadvantaged status is that the three elements of data needed for determining size are incomplete, and/or you may not have waited long enough for the system to process those data. Another possible cause is the wrong organizational structure is checked, so go back and be sure it says either proprietor, partnership or corporation, because if it says not-for-profit, it is not a business and therefore not a small business. A minor error in data entry can cause your problem, so be sure to check every data element carefully and be sure nothing is left blank.

If the system’s processing time causes a delay in meeting a bid date, you might enclose a paper copy of the Reps & Certs with the size box and the disadvantaged box checked manually, and insert a statement that the online self-certification is in process, and submit the bid that way on time.

Have more questions?  Find your local PTAC (click here) and get some answers!