California Department of Transportation District 11 ­ San Diego & Imperial Counties

District 11 Small Business Outreach

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How can I qualify as a Small Business (SB), Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise (DVBE), or Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE)?

A. Small Business Certification Eligibility Requirements

  • Must be independently owned and operated;
  • Cannot be dominant in its field of operation;
  • Must have it owners (or officers in the case of a corporation) domiciled in California and
  • Together with it’s affiliates be either:
    • A business with 100 or fewer employees, and
    • An average gross receipts of $14 million or less over the previous three tax years, or
    • A manufacturer with 100 or fewer employees.

B. DVBE Certification Eligibility Requirements

  • A veteran of the U. S. military, naval, or air service;
  • The veteran must have a service-connected disability of at lease 10% or more, and
  • The veteran must be domiciled in California

C. DBE Certification Eligibility Requirements

  • To qualify an individual must have Ownership (51% or more) and Control (of the day-to-day operations) of the business.

2. How do I become certified to do business with Caltrans?

A. Small Business and DVBE:

B. Disadvantaged Business Enterprise

3. How long is the certification process?

  • The certification process begins once you have submitted a complete application package including all supporting documentation.
  • The process could take one - five months due to the current backlog.
  • Note: If you’re bidding on an upcoming project you should contact the certifying agency you submitted your application to and give them all of the pertinent bid information and request them to expedite your certification process so that you meet the bid deadline.

4. Can ownership be 50/50?

  • No, for purposes of this program the business must be owned 51% or more by one or more socially and economically disadvantaged individuals applying for DBE certification

5. How long is the certification good for?

  • The certification varies:
    • If the firm is new the certification is good for one (1) year.
    • If a firm has been in business for two years, the certification is good for three (3) years.
    • If a firm is renewing their certification, it is good for three (3) years and prior to your expiration date.
    • You should complete a recertification application to keep your certification from expiring. Once it expires you’ll need to repeat the initial certification process.

6. Can a new business apply for DBE certification?

  • Yes, a new business can apply for DBE certification providing the business is operational, has equipment necessary to operate the business independently, and has all necessary licenses and/or permits.

7. Are personal documents kept in a secure place?

  • All certification documents are kept in a secure area.

8. What are the benefits/advantages of being certified as a SB, DVBE and DBE?

  • A. Small Business (SB)
  • B. Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise
  • C. Disadvantaged Business Enterprise
    • Goals are predicated on availability of DBE firms;
    • Federally assisted projects usually have a DBE goal;
    • The larger the number of certified DBE firms, the higher the goal;
    • DBE firms are referred to prime contractors bidding on federally funded or assisted projects;
    • Although being a DBE firm does not guarantee a contract, it gives the firm expanded exposure;
    • DBE firms are listed in the statewide CUCP DBE Database;
    • Strengthened business networking opportunities via the CUCP DBE Listings.