Most people don’t give this too much thought but it can end up costing you a delay when it comes to the review and processing of your 8(a) application paperwork that you have worked so hard to put together.
While it is OK to use a notebook or binder and tabs while you are in the process of gathering and organizing your 8(a) application paperwork do not send the SBA your 8(a) application paperwork in a notebook or binder separated with tabs. The SBA wants your application bound together with a clip at the top of the page when you submit it. They do NOT want it 3 hole punched. This will cause a delay in the 8(a) Application review process.
If you have used a notebook or binder and tabs to organize your 8(a) application paperwork we suggest that you remove all paperwork from your notebook or binder and just use paper or binder clips and rubber bands when you are ready to send it off to the SBA. Also do not staple, bind or glue your 8(a) application. Nor use plastic sleeves.
Any letter or communication you receive back from the SBA will result in a minimum of 15-30 day delay in the review of your 8(a) Application.
Make sure you do not send originals of any document as you will not receive a copy back from the SBA should your 8(a) application be accepted.
Always make a second copy of your 8(a) application paperwork prior to sending it off to the SBA. The SBA can overlook and request a document you already sent to them. Also, there have been cases where the shipping provider has lost the package. In rare incidences the SBA has even misplaced applications.
Make sure when you mail any correspondence to the SBA office that you track the correspondence with a signature. The SBA handles hundreds of applications and yours is only one of many that they handle every day. It is up to you to track your application and its progress.