#264 DIGTECH - 2015 By the Numbers

Well, DIGTECH is dangerously close to celebrating three years since founding (January 8th). How have we done so far? Let's run down the numbers for this year:

  • Payroll - $167,114
  • Per Diem - $69,911
  • Employees - 10
  • Permanent Employees - 1 (No, not me)
  • Acres Surveyed - 45,000
  • Sites Recorded - About 250
  • Isolates - About 1200
  • iPads - 9
  • iPads given to employees - 7
  • Trimbles - 2
  • Trimbles destroyed - 1 ($550 repair cost)
  • Overall, we didn't do too bad.

In 2013 DIGTECH did about $13,000 in business. In 2014 we did about $40,000. This year we did about $407,000. Doing the simple math from above you'll see that there is about $170,000 left from the project budgets. A little lesson in business will tell you that much of that went to other expenses and payroll taxes. There will be about $50,000 left to pay me, finally, and to be prepared for more work. Also, I had to take out a $50,000 SBA loan to start the season and I had to buy a new field vehicle. So yeah...not too much of a profit, but, we don't do this for the money.

What do I get out of this?

What do I get? I get to hire my friends and see them pay their bills, enjoy themselves, and get one step closer to fulfilling their dreams. That's what I get and that's why I do this.

What's in store for 2016?

Well, we've got a few irons in the fire for DIGTECH.crm. I really think that this is the year that will be on fire, though. The Archaeology Podcast Network has over 16,000 monthly subscribers as of December 2015 and our numbers keep going up. We're poised to get some real money from advertising which will allow us to pursue more show opportunities. My focus has always been on education and outreach. The APN is my outlet for this.

I've also got plans for a new book, published in a new way. More details on that are to come soon.

New Chief of Operations

This blog post will stand as the official announcement of our new Chief of Operations: Deanna Dytchkowskyj! I've known Deanna for about five years now. She's a great person that is very organized and detail oriented. As the COO she'll eventually be in charge of making sure all the departments within DIGTECH are on track with their missions and that things are proceeding according to plan.

Hear's to 2016 and great things to come!

Thanks for reading and I'll see you in the field!!

#260 The Journey Continues - #DayofArch 2015

This is my Day of Archaeology 2015 post. Here are my past posts:

2014: More Companies, More Changes

2013: DayofArch2013: Continuing Changes

2012: Day of Archaeology 2012

2011: Part 1 and Part 2

Thanks again to the organizers for putting this on. Hopefully CRM in the US will start to have a bigger presence as the years roll on. For now, though, it's just a few of us. Here's the Day of Archaeology Page


Last year I had been part of the formation of a new company, Field Tech Designs, that was set up to create a tablet application for CRM and beyond. We went quite far with the developers on that, but, in November my backer and business partner backed out. I guess the cost and pace of app development was a bit too much. Who knows. Either way, I've moved on and I have a new collaboration with the Center for Digital Archaeology and they are making something that will be great when it comes out! More on that later.

I also mentioned the podcast in last year's post. Well, as of December, 2014, I started the Archaeology Podcast Network with a fellow podcaster, Tristan Boyle of the Anarchaeologist Podcast. Together, we've built the APN into quite the little network with a total of seven shows right now and more on the way. We're getting around 7000 downloads a month across the network and that number keeps rising. Creating podcasts for people to learn from and enjoy has really been the highlight of my archaeology career. I have a real passion for teaching and outreach and this is my creative outlet for that. Go check out the APN if you're interested and don't forget to leave some feedback on our iTunes page.

Finally, I mentioned that my book had just come out from Left Coast Press. The Field Archaeologist's Survival Guide did better than I expected for the first year, given the price and the small size of this field. My first royalties check came just in June and I took my wife out for a nice McDonald's dinner. Not super-sized, of course; I mean, it was no Harry Potter. All kidding aside, I knew I wouldn't make back what I put into the book. Our field just isn't big enough. That's not why I wrote it or why I went with a publisher. I just wanted the info to be out there and I thought it was a book that could help some people. I've achieved that goal, I think.


This year has been the year of DIGTECH! After two years of networking, proposal losing, small jobs, and living of the knitting income of my wife, I've got $400k in work this year and as of the Day of Archaeology I've paid out over $60,000 in payroll! That's a big deal for me. Not only have I had the satisfaction of winning a few contracts and getting to work on them, more importantly, I've been able to hire and support a few friends of mine and some new friends. That's the biggest satisfaction for me. When I think about my friends receiving a paycheck that says, "DIGTECH" on it and using that money to support and feed their families, I feel very honored and humbled. Being an employer is an awesome responsibility. I heard someone say once that you'll know you're a business owner when you go to sleep at night worrying about payroll. That's certainly the truth!

For this year's event I'm in the middle, well really the beginning, of a 30,000 acre survey. I've got four employees with three more coming in October. I just finished a proposal that I think this year's jobs will get me, too. I haven't really had the past performance to win much in the last few years, but, these two jobs should change everything.

We're recording fully digitally in the field, too. There are some issues with the system I'm using, but, we're adjusting and moving on. In fact, I talked about some of this at the San Diego Archaeological Society's monthly meeting on July 25th. It's the first time I've been invited to speak somewhere about these issues and it was a huge honor. 


I'm hoping that I'll have something really interesting to write about in 2016. Just a few weeks ago I moved on a project I've been thinking about for several years now. I've got people here that want to help out with it, knowing that it won't pay right now, but, will in the future, and they're willing to put in the time. We'll see. We've just started and I love the energy they have here in the beginning. I just hope that enthusiasm sticks around.

My Day

I guess I'll briefly talk about my actual day for a minute. Since this is a small company, I'm usually out in the field with the crew. If we go to one part of the project area we leave at 0530. For the more distant part we leave at 0415. That's to avoid much of the Mojave desert heat that we have to deal with. Leaving at 0415 gets us home by 1245. That's not too bad. Of course, that means dinner at 2pm and bed at 8pm, but, it's better than working in 105+ F. On the long drive days we spend 1:45 just getting to the project area. Then, we survey for two hours, take lunch around 0845, survey another two hours, and, go home. It feels like a really short day. 

The survey on the long drives is working out, though. We have a certain number of acres we're trying to hit every day and there isn't much out there in that part of the project. So, we cover a lot of ground in that short four hours. Luckily, the dense parts of the project, for archaeology that is, are near town.

That's it for this year. I hope to have an even better year next year and have a lot more to talk about.

Thanks for reading and I'll see you in the field!!

#242 The Winning Bid

Click on the image to go to the source.

Click on the image to go to the source.

The title of this post is incredibly ironic. I don't really know what it takes to put in a winning bid on a large project. As of right now, I've worked on a number of smaller projects where it is likely that no one else was bidding. I was contacted directly by the client or the proponent. In the last 16 months, however, I've lost about 10 large proposals for projects on Bureau of Land Management Land (BLM) in Nevada. Let's examine the last two and try to figure out why.

First, a word about RFQs

The proposals I've written or have been a part of were Request for Quotes (RFQs) issued by the Nevada BLM. They are released under the Government Service Administration (GSA) program so you have to be a GSA contractor to bid on them. The requirements for getting on the GSA Schedule, as it's called, are very strict and expensive. Right now my company doesn't qualify on its own.

About a year ago I was contacted by a GIS firm that found me on LinkedIn. They were looking for a small-business archaeology firm in Nevada so they could bid on the projects here. The southern California firm and I began submitting proposals together right about the time the government decided to shut down. 

One of the big requirements of the BLM RFQs is Past Performance. They require references for past work of a "similar scope and type" as the one you're bidding on. Oh, and they like it to be "relevant" which means it happened in the past three years. They have a provision for new companies like mine where you can claim "Neutral Past Performance" but, I think that's most likely some sort of cruel joke.

Pine Nut - The WTF Award

On all of the proposals I've lost I was underbid. In fact, when you ask who they awarded the project to, pretty much all they say is who won and how much they bid. This last one though, the Pine Nut (don't bother with the name, it's a placeholder), was absolutely absurd. Lets go over the numbers.

The Numbers from the BLM

Here are the basics of the Scope of Work:

  • 3,430 acres
  • 13 discontiguous, irregularly-shaped, areas
  • Rough terrain
  • In an area with MASSIVE mining activity from the mid-1800s on
  • In an area with a high amount of obsidian and obsidian-related prehistoric resources

DIGTECH's Numbers

Most of you probably know about the difference between an hourly rate and a billable rate. For those of you that don't, no worries. I didn't know what the difference was for the first few years I was in CRM. Your hourly rate is exactly that, the pay you get per hour. Of course, the state and the Feds take their cut, but, that's between you and them, not the company you work for. The billable rate, however, that's where it all happens.

The billable rate is the amount the company charges the client for each hour you work. As a field technician, you might get $15 per hour, but, your company is billing you to the client at $50 per hour. WTF? You might say. That extra $35 is what pays for your employment taxes, office space, trucks, Trimbles, unbillable office people (secretary, accountants, etc.), and myriad other overhead expenses. It's also where the profit comes from. 

I've heard that many firms use a "multiplier" to determine the hourly rate so everything is even across the board. For example, if you make $15 per hour, your billable, with a multiplier of say 2.5, would be $37.50. More likely, it's way higher than that. The billable rate is also likely based not on what you actually make, but, on the high end of the range for your position.

Here are DIGTECH's hour and billable rates:

  • Field Technician
    • Hourly average: $20
    • Billable: $35
  • Crew Chief
    • Hourly average: $23
    • Billable: $38
  •  Project Manager
    • Hourly average: $26
    • Billable: $40
  • Principal Investigator
    • Hourly average: $28
    • Billable: $45

Sites and Coverage

The two biggest factors in determining what you'll bid for a project, aside from billable rates, relate to how fast you can get the project completed. That is determined by two things: the number of sites already in the area combined with the number of sites predicted, and, the amount of land one person can cover in a day.

The number of sites here in Nevada are generally predicted by using the online site system called NVCRIS. It's accurate to about 4-5 years back but is a good way to get a general idea about the area.

Coverage is where companies really start using shady math. I have a spreadsheet where I type in the variables: total acreage, number of people, and hours in a day. Once I type in the "Acreage per Day per Person" I get the number of person days and the total number of days to complete the project. One company I used to work for put in 40 acres per day and drastically underbid a project. The reality was about 15 acres per day due to a high site density.

Because of the terrain and potential for a high number of sites and challenging mining complexes I put in 20 acres per day. Even that was probably overestimating. Once the other costs, such as per diem, vehicles, and tablets were entered, and the costs of actually processing data and writing the draft and final copies of the report were entered, my spreadsheet came up with a value of about $88,000. Remember, I had a GIS firm as the prime, so, they entered their numbers. Once they entered their "discounted rates" for GIS work at $80 per hour and an overall project management rate of $100 per hour, the total proposed cost came out to $120,000.

The winning bid was $78,000. WTF?

How did they do that?

So, what the hell happened? If all the other factors stayed the same, I would have had to increase my acreage per day to almost 45 acres to bring my cost down to that price point. Even if the GIS was half the cost and I kept my acreage at a realistic level my overall proposed cost still wouldn't have been close. Either the bid winner thinks they can cover more ground than is humanly possible, or, some of the principals are working for free. I don't know what it is. I do know that when a company gets stressed out because there isn't enough work coming in that they'll do whatever they can just to make payroll. Even if they don't make a profit on the project, they'll probably be able to hand out paychecks for another month as a result.

Maybe that's what happened, or, maybe not. I don't know. I do know that I simply won't inflate my acreage per day just to win a project. It's shady and it ultimately costs the taxpayer more money when work has to stop for the filing of a change order.

The Spruce RFQ

I'll only briefly mention the other project I lost. My bid was $130k and the winning bid was $120k. Again, I think it's a "trying to make payroll" issue because I know for a fact that the bid winner has higher billable rates than I do. They must be slightly inflating what they think they can accomplish. 

This, my friends, is called "underbidding" and we all complain about it. The reasons for it are as varied as the ways it can be done. Does anyone bitch when they're employed? Probably not. They may only have that job, however, because their employer underbid the project. It would be nice if we had regulated billable rates, or at least ranges. That way, the only differing factor would be the speed with which the project is completed. That has it's own problems, though.

In the end, I think I'll have to partner with another archaeology firm in order to get ahead in this business. Either that or just focus on app development and education. I'm actually good at that stuff!

Thanks for reading and I'll see you in the line for soup!!

#238 Job Creator or Scary Effing Responsibility

I just finished week two of a three week project where I had to hire my first employee. It’s an interesting arrangement all around. DIGTECH was subcontracted to do the fieldwork for this project and they needed two people. So, there’s me, and someone I’ve worked with on excavations before, RC.

On post #236 I talked about all the pay and per diem troubles I was about to have so I won’t go back to that here. What I want to talk about here is the silver lining on all this stress: being a job creator.

Creating Jobs

We always hear about jobs in the news. Around election time, people up for the big offices talk about how many jobs they’re going to create. Their policies might bring in companies that will hire people but they are not real job creators. I gave a friend a job. That’s an amazing feeling. Even if it is just three weeks, he has work because of choices I made. Oh, and I’ve only been in CRM for about 9, almost 10, years. Up or out, I always say.

During my time in CRM I’ve worked with a lot of people. I’ve also argued with a lot of people. Most of the time I can only sit by for so long while leaders above me continue to make bad, or inefficient, decisions. At some point I call them on it. Early in my career I call them on it in a way that made them resent me. I tried to learn from those instances, but, the result was always the same no matter how hard I tried to help. Those people are still toiling away for someone else. I hope they’re happy.

So, I started my own company. It’s been a long and difficult road, but, things are starting to change for the better. There are big things in the works right now and if it all goes well it will mean creating jobs for a lot more people. I don’t want just any field tech, though. I want the best.

When I put out a job posting, I’m going to want to see your LinkedIn profile with recommendations. You’re going to be paid well for your time and you’ll be respected. Because of that, I expect to deal only with true professionals. If you plan to get drunk and high every night after work you can work for someone else.

For leadership positions I’ll also want to see what you’ve written. This doesn’t just mean technical writing, either. I want to see what you’ve written to support your passion for archaeology. Show me your blog, your Twitter feed, your Instagram feed, or your contributions to LinkedIn and Facebook groups. If you aren’t writing and talking about archaeology with your peers and the world then you won’t be a Crew Chief of Project Manager with DIGTECH. I’m pretty deeply entrenched in online archaeology so if I haven’t heard of you and if we aren’t already connected online then we probably won’t have much to talk about when you call to ask for a job.

I have very simple requests. They are difficult for some people to comprehend and some might say that I won’t find anyone that fits the bill. I say fine. If those people don’t exist then I’ll go to universities, get new graduates, and create those people. I have a passion for archaeology and a respect for what we do. I don’t care about making a million dollars or saving $2 on my next project. I care about giving good, honest, people a chance to help make the world a better place by doing good work and good science. 

If you want to join me, then, get your online persona together and let me know you exist. I’ll be adding to my very small list of people to call soon and I hope I can give each and every one of you passionate professionals a place you can be proud to work and contribute to.

Thanks for reading and I’ll see you in the field!

#232 More Companies, More Changes

This is my Day of Archaeology 2014 post. Click HERE to go to the DayofArch page and see hundreds of great posts about the day in the life of archaeologists across the globe.

First, a big thanks again to the organizers of this event! It’s a lot to put on something like this. Go and buy something from their store to support this for many years to come!

Welcome to my fourth Day of Archaeology post! Hard to believe this has been going on for four years now. Every year, so far, I’ve been at a different stage in my life. Nothing stays the same around here, ever! Here are my last posts: 1st year here and here2nd Year, and 3rd Year.


When I wrote my 2013 Day of Archaeology post my new CRM company was just seven months old. I had done a few projects, but, I was mostly focused on the arduous task of business development (BD). I’ve never been good at BD. It seems that no one actually teaches you how to do it. So, I never really learned the ins and outs. I do have some networking skills, which helps, but that’s not all BD is about.


I’ve got a few more contracts down, but, I seem to have put the CRM side of DIGTECH on the back burner. That’s not to say I would turn down a contract if I were approached, I just don’t have time to go seek them out right now. What I’m really focusing on is my other company, Field Tech Designs.


This is what I’ve been working on for much of today’s Day of Archaeology.


I’ve been subcontracted to do the excavation for a project in Lake County, CA and the fieldwork starts next week. It’s actually a pretty sweet gig. DIGTECH will do all the fieldwork, but, we aren’t doing any of the artifact analysis and report writing. While I do enjoy those phases of work, I don’t really have the time for it right now. So, this gets me out in the field, shovel in hand, and then allows me to get back to other tasks.

For the fieldwork, we’ll be using iPads rented from my other company, Field Tech Designs, to record the shovel tests and excavation units we’ll be digging. I’ve created custom forms for the shovel tests and spent a portion of today creating the excavation forms.

Working digitally will allow us to transmit the completed paperwork (should digital forms be called, electrowork? digiwork?) to the PI at his office 200 miles away every day. With cell service, we can transmit the forms as we finish them.


I’ve also spent some time coming up with the various pricing models we’re going to have for our tablet rental program. Over the last few months I’ve gotten the sense that some companies are a bit apprehensive about buying a fleet of tablets for their fieldwork. I don’t know if it’s the upfront cost of the tablets or the thought that they could easily break (which isn’t true). Either way, I thought that since they are used to renting things like Trimble GPS units anyway then a tablet rental would just make sense. Renting the tablets allows Field Tech Designs to assume the burden of keeping them maintained and updated while always giving the client the latest and greatest.


For the custom forms we are creating for our clients I always make a video detailing the use of the form and how to turn the digital data into a CSV file and then a Word Document. It’s pretty straight forward, but, if you’ve never done it there are a number of steps that just make more sense when you can see them.

Working on video editing this afternoon made me realize just how old my MacBook Pro is getting. I could really use an upgrade soon!


I spent some time thinking about, and taking notes on, some things we’re going to talk about in the podcast we’re recording on Saturday. The CRM Archaeology Podcast is up to episode 38 and we’re still going strong. We’ve released an episode every other Monday for the last year and a half and we never lack for things to talk about. That’s why I’ve come up with another idea…


I feel that the current podcast could really be split into a bunch of other shows. The shows would be essentially single topic shows that focus on really digging into whatever issue they are concerned with. I’m not going to go into too much detail right now, but, stay tuned for a lot more content about CRM Archaeology in the coming months.


The last thing I did today was some research for a new company. This new entity will have something to do with aerial drones but I’m not going to go into it right now. We’re in the research phase right now. Since the FAA here in the U.S. is still up in arms about using drones for commercial purposes, we have some time. I’m a licensed pilot, though, and that might go well for me if the regulations go the direction I think they are going to go based on some information I recently received from an FAA official here in Reno. Interesting times are ahead in the world of Drones.

So, working on tablets with Field Tech Designs, researching a new drone company, and trying to, sort of, find more work for DIGTECH so I can test out all my ideas…busy day. Unfortunately, nothing I did today directly made me any money. One thing you learn while you’re indulging your passions and chasing your dreams is that money isn’t always the reason to do things in life. If you keep doing what you love and work hard at it then the money will come.

Oh, I also turned my popular series of blog posts, the Shovelbums Guide, into a helpful guidebook for CRM Archaeologists at any level. The book was published by Left Coast Press in April and is called the, “Field Archaeologist’s Survival Guide: Getting a Job and Working in Cultural Resource Management”. You can find it on Amazon and at the Left Coast Website.

Enjoy the other posts for the 2014 Day of Archaeology!

Thanks for reading and I’ll see you in the field!

#230 - Bad Businessman

So, I might be just a bad businessman, or, I’m going to change the world. Either way, here are some thoughts on business and pricing in CRM and, really, everything.

There is a pretty good chance that DIGTECH is going to be merging with another company soon. We’re joining forces because the leadership of the other company are getting on in age and are looking to keep their legacy going. First, I really respect them for making this decision. There is no reason to let something you’ve built for the past 30+ years just die. That being said, there are some decisions that will have to be made.

DIGTECH Pricing Schedule

When I first started my company I was really stressing out over what to charge for my services. There are essentially four levels that need to be priced: Principal Investigator, Project Manager, Crew Chief, and Field Technician. The price you put on proposals is called the billable rate and it’s intended to cover all of your operating expenses (overhead) and is the source of your profit.

A number of companies I’ve worked for have a billable rate for PI that ranges from $85 to $150 per hour. I’ve seen an average for field technician of about $50-$60 per hour. Some companies charge more, some less. The rate is often decided by using a multiple of 2.0 to 3.0. For example, if you want to pay your field technicians $18 per hour, then multiply that by 2.5, for example, to get the billable rate ($45 in this example). Again, that rate should cover overhead and give you some profit at the same time.

Of course, I don’t really have much overhead. I’m completely digital and don’t have offices to pay for. So, do I use a multiplier that’s under 2, or, do I use a standard multiplier so I can stay up with everyone else and just make more money? That’s the big question, isn’t it?

Undercutting, or, Efficiency?

My big question is: what is the price point I can choose that pays my people well, gives the client a fair price, turns a profit, and is respectable? That last one is tricky. If your prices are too low you won’t be taken seriously; too high and you won’t win any projects.  The prices need to be somewhere in the middle.

If my prices are too low I could also be seen as undercutting by the competition. That’s a sore point with me too. Is it undercutting to work more efficiently by completely rethinking the entire business and how we do it? I don’t think so. If I’m paying my people well and growing the company while giving my clients a fair price then I’m happy. If other companies can’t compete with that then that’s not really my problem. Sounds harsh, but, times are changing and you either adapt and overcome or move out of the way.

Joint Venture Pricing

So, If I join forces with a company that’s been in business for 30+ years, what do we charge? Also, we’ll be working in both California and Nevada. Do multi-state companies have different pricing structures for different areas? You would think they do to remain competitive, but, they still have the same overhead to pay. Bringing in another, established, company will give me some of the experience I simply don’t have.

I’ve been building DIGTECH by the seat of my pants. In reality, I don’t really know what I’m doing when it comes to business development. I’ve simply never done it before. What I do have is drive, ambition, and a desire to do things better and more efficiently than they’ve been done in the past.

On the last episode of the CRM Archaeology Podcast (Episode 36) we interviewed firm owner Sonia Hutmacher. Sonia said that she recommends you start a company with $30-$50k. I started with $7k and a credit card. Still in business, though.

Anyway, we have some decisions to make over the next few months. In the end I think it will be great for both companies.

That’s about it for now. I’ve been a bit absent since my other company, Field Tech Designs LLC, has been taking up a massive amount of my time. We’re creating digital field forms for other companies and our application for Android, and eventually iOS, is well underway with development. Since the dev company is in India there are a lot of late night calls so I can work with the development team. There will be many more details to come.

Also, I'm likely starting a new business for aerial drone surveys. We'll be taking aerial photos for large mine complexes, pipelines, utility lines, archaeological excavations, road surveys, and everything else. Sure, it's illegal now, but, hopefully the FAA gets their head out of their collective...well, you know.

From XKCD, of course.

Thanks for reading and I’ll see you in the field!

#203 Veteran-Owned Small Business


As of November 27, 2013 Digital Technologies in Archaeological Consulting LLC is a certified Veteran-Owned Small Business (VOSB). What the heck does that mean, how do you get certified if you're a veteran and a business owner, and what will it mean for DIGTECH? Read on for stimulating answers.

Veteran-Owned Small Business

To be counted as a VOSB a company has to meet two primary requirements: it has to be small, and, it has to be at least 51 percent owned by a veteran or veterans.

Whether you count as a small business depends on the NAICS codes (North American Industry Classification System) you associate with your business. The ones DIGTECH uses — 541620, 541690, and 541720 — puts the small business threshold for my company at $14,000,000 a year. That means I'm counted as a small business if I do less than $14,000,000 a year in business. To me, that's a bit absurd. It makes nearly every CRM firm that is not a massive engineering company, or a huge environmental firm, a small business. So much for competition.

The business also has to be 51 percent owned by veterans. If you're the only owner then that's easy. If you have a partnership and one of you isn't a veteran then you have a sticky situation. The veteran needs to have the controlling stake of at least 51%. If you have three or more people, it gets trickier. You can each have 33.3 percent, but, two of you had better be veterans. See how that works? If there are multiple owners, the total ownership of they're veterans needs to be at least 51 percent.

Why Do It?

A number of federal contracts come with a requirement to give a small percentage of the contract to VOSB and SDVOSB (same thing, but for service-disabled veterans) companies. For anyone familiar with losing federal jobs to veterans because they get extra points on the application, this should be familiar. This is the same thing, but for companies. Well, it’s a little different, but it’s the same concept.

In short, do it. It can’t hurt, and in fact, can only help your company. Also, it lets clients know that you served your country. That’s something to be proud of, regardless of your political affiliation.

What’s the Process?

First, go to the Veteran’s Information Pages website ( For some reason I get a security warning on my Chrome browser every time I go there. It’s legit, though. Click on “Register” in the upper right-hand corner. Once you go through all the pages of information, you’ll have to upload a number of documents. Trust me when I say this. It’s a lot. If there is a document requirement that doesn’t apply to your business for some reason, you’ll have to upload a letter of explanation (LOE).

I started this process back in September. Most of the documents required didn’t apply to my business since it’s knew and I haven’t done much business yet. So, I uploaded a lot of LOEs. After the first submission, you’ll eventually get an email from the VIP people telling you exactly what you did wrong and what they need clarification on. The people that look these over try to make sure that your package is perfect before they submit it for evaluation. It took me three or four rounds of writing and re-writing LOEs before my application was submitted. The guy that kept calling me was very patient, even when I wasn’t.

Once the application was submitted it only took a couple weeks before I was “verified”. Now I can put the VOSB logo on my business cards, website, and capabilities statement. Keep in mind, this process is entirely free. Well, you have to serve your country for four plus years and give up your Constitutional rights for a while. Aside from that, it’s free!

I hope this helps. Go get your certification and let me know if you did it in the comments. Are you a business owner that went through the process? Tell everyone about how it went for you in the comments.

Thanks for reading and I’ll see you in the field!