ACDBE Certification


section image If your firm is looking to obtain an Airport Concessions Contract and is minority or woman owned, an ACDBE Certification can provide your firm with a preference for obtaining those contracts. Enacted in 1983, the ACDBE program requires that a minimum of 10% of federal funds provided for transit assistance be spend with DBE/ACDBE certified firms. These certifications are managed by the Department of Transportation and the ACDBE more directly by the FAA. All airports that are recipients of FAA grants for airport planning or development and who will award prime contracts exceeding $250,000 in FAA funds must have an ACDBE program in place. Generally speaking, at a large airport approximately 25-35% or more of the concession contracts are awarded to ACDBE firms.
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Challenge in Obtaining an ACDBE Certification

Obtaining an airport concession contract can be a big win for a restaurateur, concession owner or retail shop. There is a growing trend among airports for “local flair” to be part of the mix to give layover travelers a feel for the town they are moving through. Unfortunately, there is usually not enough time for firms to obtain the ACDBE certification and then bid on airport contracts. The certification needs to be in hand at the time your bid is submitted and due to certification process times, this generally cannot happen simultaneously with bidding. Additionally, many of the bids are won by partners who are pairing up with ACDBE firms to bid on an airport contract. Without the certification in hand any partner will not take the firm seriously, so it is critical to have your ACDBE certification to not miss out on these important business opportunities.
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Benefits of Owning an Airport Concessions Business

Airport concessions can make for great businesses. This is because you have a captive audience, and it is estimated that for each hour a person spends in an airport they spend $7. With sporadic security lines this generates extra time in recent years for passengers in airports. In fact, retail at large has seen a decline in revenue, however airports have seen this number continue to grow at about 4% per year. Most airport concession contracts are for a 10-year period providing you with a stable, predictable and growing income source for many years.
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ACDBE Certification Statistics

Certification Number of all Disadvantaged Firms Total value of all awards/leases to disadvantaged firms
ACDBE 1,014 $2,459,382,948

U.S. Airport Statistics:

Total Number of Airports U.S. 19,576
Primary Commercial Service Airports 383
Large Hub 31
Medium Hub 37
Small Hub 68
Non-Primary Hub 247

Criteria that are key elements for becoming DBE certified:

Ownership & Control At least 51% of the enterprise must be owned and controlled by a designated minority or Woman
Qualifying Owner’s Personal Net Worth Limit: Must be under $1,320,000 (this amount can be challenged if the assets and liabilities paint a picture that differs from this standards intention, such as the applicant owns a yacht.)
Size Standards ACDBE Small Business (Guidelines) Gross Receipts do not exceed: -$56.42 million
- Banks must have less than - $1 billion in assets
- Car rental companies - $75.23 million average annual gross receipts over the last 3 years – (note: this figure is adjusted every 2 years)
- Pay telephones – 1,500 employees
- Automobile dealers – 350 employees
Type of Business Any for-profit business that is independent
Type of Contract Per contract basis, varying degree of advantage given
Who can apply African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, Asian -Pacific Islander Americans, Subcontinent Asian Americans, and Women
On-site Inspection Required for most in-state located firms
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How ez8a Helps Clients in the ACDBE Process

We are experts at the ACDBE certification, and it is an area we help firms navigate to obtain airport concessions contracts. One of our analysists will work one-on-one with you to obtain the certification in the least amount of time possible. Give us a call and we can spend about 15 minutes on a call with you to determine if your firm meets the current eligibility requirements.

ACDBE Certification Package Details


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  • Initial interview and strategy session to roadmap your ACDBE application. This process generally takes between 1.5 and 2.5 hours.
  • Document checklist is created specific to your firm. This will be a list of all the enclosures and documents needed to complete the ACDBE application.
  • An analyst will work on your ACDBE package immediately upon submission to our firm. It is customary for firms seeking this certification to have future bid considerations in play and we are very mindful of those issues.
  • We review all documentation submitted for potential problems. The Department of Transportation places a high level of scrutiny on ACDBE applications and, therefore, review all documents thoroughly.
  • We will communicate with you (by email and phone) throughout the ACDBE application process ensuring we are staying on the critical path for successful and timely completion.
  • An analyst will interview you and prepare the socially disadvantaged narrative if you are a non-presumed group applicant as that is a critical piece of your ACDBE application.
  • We will do the entire application, double-checking everything to be sure it meets all 49 CFR part 23 guidelines and we will assemble the entire package (usually 3 -4 inches thick) of paperwork.
  • Finally, we will tab all the places in the ACDBE Application where your signature is needed and will send the completed package so you can sign and forward it to the DOT review board.
  • When we send it, your ACDBE application is ready for the DOT review.
Fee: $2,800.00 Buy Now
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