We receive calls every week from people whose DBE applications have been denied. Unfortunately, in about 95% (or more) of those cases it’s too late to help. That’s because once you’ve been denied, it’s too late to try to correct your application or provide the agency with any additional information. Once you been denied the process is closed and your only options are to wait a year to reapply (after you’ve corrected whatever issues were brought up in the denial) or appeal the denial decision.
Under the regulations, once you are denied you have 90 days to appeal to the Department of Transportation (DOT). The DOT can take up to 180 days (6 months) to make a decision. If the DOT sides with the Agency’s denial you have to wait an additional year before you can reapply for DBE certification.
So whether you choose to wait to reapply or you appeal, one small mistake can cost you up to a year or more wait for DBE certification. It gets worse.
We have seen cases where the DOT agrees the applicant is correct on one issue but provides the Agency with another reason upon which to base a denial. We have also seen cases where the DOT will send the application back to the Agency for further review. This costs you even more time without a DBE certification. Finally, we have seen cases where even after the applicant makes all of the changes brought up in the original denial and waits a year, they are denied either for the same reason or different reasons.
When you add up the lost opportunity costs, the costs of filing an appeal, the time it costs you to prepare your application, sometimes it makes more sense to retain a firm like ours to prepare your application. After speaking to individuals whose applications have been denied, they often comment that they wished they had spoken to us before they’d applied. My advice is don’t be one of those people. Get professional help before you apply not after you’ve been denied.