Getting Certified as a Government Contractor

In 2016, Slow Clap became a Local Business Enterprise (LBE), certified with the City and County of San Francisco. In 2019, we got our California Small Business Enterprise (SBE) certification. In both cases, we’re considered a Micro Small Business because of revenue and employee requirements. To our knowledge, we’re one of the few video production companies in San Francisco with these certifications. So, what’s this government certification stuff all about? Why did we do it? Who should consider getting certified? And how do you do it?

Slow Clap’s photo of San Francisco’s finger piers.

Becoming a certified government contractor is a great option for small business owners. It offers you an opportunity to bid on government work, and, in some cases, gets you brownie points in the process. Government contracts can include anything from infrastructure projects to civic engagement. Along with the work comes a sense of purpose, that your business is contributing to something greater, to your town, city, state, or country. That’s a great feeling.

Plus, while the margins may not be as high as private sector work, government contracts are often long-term engagements, with steady income. Steady income allows you to make long-term business projections, invest in capital and employees, and tons of other stuff. For a business like video production where each client engagement lasts just a few months, a government contract can provide a sense of certainty to your business.

Getting certified is easy. Well, there’s some paperwork involved… there always is. But, just a simple google search, or visit to your local government agency website, will usually instruct you on the steps to get certified. The SBA website has some great info about federal contracting. The State of California’s Department of General Services administers its SBE certification. And here in San Francisco, the Contractor Monitoring Division handles LBE certification.

The hard part is winning a contract. For small businesses like ours, a great option is to become a subcontractor on bigger proposals, offering just one service or product in a suite of services or products. That’s how we won our first contracts, and continue to win them. As a “sub,” we’ve created videos for the Port of San Francisco, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC), the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), San Francisco International Airport (SFO), and other local agencies.

We’ve also recently won contracts directly with the San Francisco Health Service System (SFHSS) and the Judicial Council of California.

Here’s a few of my favorite projects we’ve created for government clients:

Are you considering getting certified as a government contractor? Or, do you work at a government agency that needs videos created for them? Reach out, we’re happy to chat more. The process can seem intimidating, but it’s well worth it from a business and community standpoint.

Daniel Lichtenberg
Slow Clap Creative Director