Everything you need to know about DBE Certification

What is a DBE certification?

A DBE certification or Disadvantaged Business Enterprise certification defines your business as being owned, controlled and operated by government recognized disadvantaged groups. If you own a small business enterprise and belong to such group, you could potentially miss out on a comparatively less known revenue stream.

Therefore it is important to understand that, as a business owner, a DBE certification allows you to compete for government contracts, increasing your business’ profit.

Even during a recession, the government must continue funding its operations and stimulate growth. So if you are seeking small business certification, it is important to decide who your target customer is to see if a DBE certification is best for you.

Set-Aside Contracts

Basically, many different government agencies, as well as various private corporations engaged in conducting business with the government, must spend at least twenty percent of their total budget on small disadvantaged companies (SDCs). The same applies to large companies that also follow the same policies as part of their corporate culture.  

It is important to understand that virtually all DBE requirements are essentially uniform in every single state of the union. This is due to the fact that they come under the direct authority of the United States Department of Transportation (US-DOT). This means that US-DOT bears the central responsibility for setting all DBE application goals. Furthermore, this department also has full responsibility for the implementation of the whole program from the ground up.

If you are a stakeholder in a small business enterprise (sbe), then it is imperative that you understand the many different requirements and modalities of a DBE certification. If you meet the requisite criteria, you will have the chance to compete for several reserved government contracts that would not be available to you otherwise. This is a really great way of enhancing your business operations and revenue stream.

The best part of working with the government is that its expenditure never really stops, regardless of the state of the economy. And even during recessionary periods, the government has to continue to spend in order to stimulate growth and fund its many operations.

Eligibility Criteria for DBE Certification

There are many specific criteria for a DBE certification, but as a general rule, the following ethnicities are considered eligible for this certificate:

  • Asian-Pacific Americans
  • Hispanics (people of Spanish descent)
  • Subcontinent Asian Americans
  • African Americans
  • Native Americans

All of the above are already assumed to be at a social and economic disadvantage. However, there are other ethnicities as well as economically disadvantaged individuals and races who can apply for a DBE certificate. Their applications are handled on a case by case basis.

The Core Requirements for Acquiring a DBE Certificate

In order to participate in the DBE unified certification program, you must prove that your small business is owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals. If you fulfill the eligibility criteria, you will receive your DBE certification through your state’s own Uniform Certification Program (UCP).

In order to be considered economically disadvantaged, your personal net worth should not exceed 1.32 million dollars. Apart from that, your average annual gross receivables should never exceed 23.98 million dollars. 

The Core Roles and Responsibilities of Local Transport Agencies

Since local as well as state transport agencies are also recipients of US-DOT’s financial assistance, they have been delegated the following tasks:

  • Certifying the eligibility (or lack of it) of all those DBE firms that desire to participate in their various DOT assisted contracts.
  • Establishing highly specific goals and objectives for DBE certificate holding SBEs and other disadvantaged entrepreneurs
  • Comprehensively evaluating their own DOT assisted contracts annually. At the same time, they also have to establish multiple contract specific DBE subcontracting goals that may be deemed necessary to achieve the overall aims and objectives of the agency.

The different levels of DBE subcontracting goals might vary from entrepreneur to entrepreneur, but the total number of contract and subcontracts awarded to DBEs should always be consistent with the main goal of the facilitating agency.

The Roles and Responsibilities of US-DOT

The United States Department of Transport is directly responsible for:

  • Developing the many different rules and regulations on behalf of the federal Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program
  • Providing guidelines as well as conducting oversight to ensure that all of the rules and regulations have been followed in letter and spirit by the recipients of US-DOT’s funds
  • Considering appeals on behalf of state and local certification decisions

The DBE Application Process

The whole DBE application process can be both highly confusing as well as time-consuming for anyone who does not have a good grasp of the requirements of the process. As a matter of fact, day to day many different public contracts designated for certified small businesses go unclaimed, because most such small business owners and entrepreneurs are unaware that they are eligible for qualification.

The requirements for DBE certification have changed recently. Nowadays, applicants need to complete a ‘Statement of Disadvantage ‘as well as a ‘Personal Financial Statement’. This means that “you”, as the undisputed owner of the business, must affirm that you are a member of any disadvantaged group, as clearly mentioned in the eligibility criteria. Apart from that, every potential applicant must declare their net worth to be less than $1,320,000. This does not include personal residence or any equity.

Obtaining Correct Business Certifications

Obtaining the correct business certifications for your enterprise is crucial in order to gain easy access to both government and corporate contracts. Certification provides your small business with a nationally-recognized and highly-respected status that makes your company stand out against marketplace competition for elite and distinguished clients. At BizCentral, we not only ensure that you’re applying for the right certificates, we also help you identify additional opportunities along the way.

The DBE application process can be time consuming and confusing for those who are not familiar with the requirements. Many state, city and county contracts for certified small businesses go unclaimed as small business owners do not know they can qualify.

Why Choose Us?

At BizCentral USA, our qualified consultants have extensive experience in document preparation for businesses. We can complete both state and federal documents for your organization and guarantee their approval. Best of all, our rates are very competitive and we offer flexible payment methods as well as annual plans. Some key benefits of using us:

  • Affordable Pricing: Our services are priced to accommodate your businesses budget while still including all necessary items for your organization.
  • Professional Quality: We pride ourselves on the professional-grade quality work completed by our consultants, and guarantee 100% satisfaction.
  • Full-Service Options: We do our document preparation services in house, providing our customers with consistent professional service, quality, and quick turnaround.
  • Streamlined Process: We prepare your documents in a timely manner, allowing you to receive your services within 10-15 days after receiving all necessary documents.
  • Complementing Services: We offer a variety of services, including payroll, bookkeeping, tax preparation and more all for an affordable price!
  • Experienced Staff: We have an exceptional amount of experience in document preparation due to our low-prices, allowing you to be prepared for audits, annual reporting, fund-leveraging and financial planning. We are experts when it comes to filing for businesses.
  • Long-Term Relationship: Because we offer many services, our goal is to win our clients with great pricing and fanatical customer service to enable a long-term relationship.


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At BizCentral USA, our certification consultants will help you determine if you qualify for a DBE certification. We will work with you to complete the DBE application with supporting documents and recommend the best agencies for your certification.

After the approval of your certification has been obtained and you are ready to start marketing your company and DBE certification, we can also help you identify available contracts and respond to bids or RFPs. Whether you are starting or growing a business, at BizCentral USA we will assist you with all your business certification needs.

If you have any further questions and queries regarding your eligibility for your DBE certification, you may approach BizCentral USA. Our highly experienced and qualified professionals will always be at hand to assist and guide you through the complicated application process. Once your request has been approved, we will stand by you to actively help identify all available contracts. Furthermore, we will also help you to respond to RFPs and bids.

Previous List of Available State Certifications

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