Charles Jones - Baltimore Powerhouse Commissaries
Learn how you can continue to meet your HUBZone requirements while growing your business, including the tips on writing proposals for federal contracting with CEO and President of C&S Jones Group LLC, Charles W. Jones.
Mr. Charles Jones ventured into the mortgage industry back in 2008. However, that was only until the market crashed and the economy tanked due to the recession.
During those difficult times, he decided to form a business he called the C&S Jones Group in 2010. It was founded to assist with the cleanup of abandoned properties on behalf of asset managers.
“We didn’t know when the economy was going to come back and there was a bunch of real estate that was out here. So I did my due diligence and got a subcontract with asset managers to maintain the properties in particular areas.”
They also did the operations support for the army and did facility management operations where they operate and assist with operations of commissary stores across the country.
Fast forward to today, his business has been named by the Baltimore Business Journal as one of the top 50 minority owned businesses in Baltimore for six consecutive years and it has also grown to become responsible in managing commissaries throughout four states.
For those who are unfamiliar with commissaries, they are where you can purchase discounted groceries and other household goods for active duty, reserve, and guard members. But what most people are unaware of is that the success of this program is thanks to the diligence of the C&S Jones Group.
EXPERIENCE IN THE FEDERAL MARKETPLACE
Mr. Jones didn’t have any idea about writing proposals nor did he have any background, or friends who showed him the ropes. What he did was go to every outreach, agency and events that could teach him how to play in the field.
But he also credited the local PTAC or Procurement Technical Officer for being a huge help with his procurement technical assistance.
“In the past, we literally just kept grinding. If we could not win the contract, we would do a debrief to see where we were strong and which areas we needed to improve.”
Mr. Jones shared that he has had his fair share of defeat in the federal marketplace but what really pushed him to keep on going was that he understood that there was some space for the company to get in.
And all he needed was a good product, a sound business practice, and that the federal marketplace was a leveled playing field.
“Federal Contracting is an open book. You compete on a level playing field as everybody gets the same information.”
The HUBzone Program
“Businesses are all about solving a problem for somebody else and capturing some revenue for yourself.”
The HUBZone stands for Historically Underutilized Business Zone. It is basically an area where business development and growth has been fairly limited. The program’s goal is to help small businesses in urban and rural communities gain preferential access to federal procurement opportunities.
And they award at least three percent of federal contract dollars to HUBZone-certified companies each year.
While three percent may not sound like much but in 2011,
that percentage amounted to over 9.6 Billion dollars and was awarded to small businesses.
In 2012, the median total value of awards for these firms was slightly more than $360,000.
The HUBZone certified companies either compete for contracts or are awarded a sole source contract.
And when they compete for contracts amongst other HUBZone certified companies, they compete within a smaller pool of contractors.
They receive a 10% price evaluation preference in open contract competitions. Its main benefit is the growth you’ll be bringing into your own community!
So how can you know if you qualify for this program?
Well, HUBZone certification is location-based. All you need to do is to confirm if your business is located within a HUBzone, look up your address on the HUBzone map.
If you are located in a HUBzone then the next step is to check out your eligibility requirements and the application process.
Get 8A Certification Only When You’re Ready
“A lot of companies have made the mistake of getting their 8A certification way too early in the game.”
Mr. Jones mentioned that the 8A certification is a nine year program and if for example, you came in too early and had to spend five years to hit your mark, you’ll only have four years left to benefit from the program.
If you haven’t even opened up your business, don’t get 8A. Make it work in the beginning and not at the end.
The 8A is not a guarantee that you can receive a contact. You can’t get any contracts during that period if you don’t have the credit line, the security clearance, the past performance, and the relationship.
This is not an easy industry where you only need to provide a certification. There are a lot of regulations to follow. You have to have people to trust you.
“Remember, you are using the taxpayer’s money in federal contracting, if you fail to deliver what you’ve promised then you are out of the game.”
If you want to watch the full video of the interview with CEO of C&S Joes Group LLC, Charles Jones on how to stay ahead of the curve and continue to grow in federal contracting then be sure to click the link down below.
Charles Jones - Baltimore Powerhouse Commissaries:
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