14 Apr Our Recent Experiences Navigating the Bureaucracy
As soon as the government programs announced applications were available, Pegasus went on the hunt. We felt frustrated because the rules seemed to change mid-stream. File online with SBA, then do not file online, then switch to a different program, etc. This is what we faced in the first few days. The first program we attempted was the one where businesses could borrow up to 2 million dollars. Not trusting filing online with many pages of sensitive information without a more secure method, it seemed like mailing in the forms was a good idea. They were mailed in early April, with a return receipt requested. We have still not heard back from anyone. In addition, the return receipt never came back. Amazing! We also applied for the “quick” $10,000 program. Never received a response on that one either.
Then came the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which was available on April 3rd. For days, we kept trying to figure out how to file. Writing to our primary bank was not working out, so we tried a few banks that we were told were accepting the applications. That failed because the banks appeared to only be handing existing clients. So, we reached out to three other banks where we had some form of relationship. Eventually one came through after we discovered how they want you to be recognized and applied accordingly. Each bank had a different process. Once you manage that and get acknowledged by a bank, then you can file the initial forms. Even that turned out to be a challenge because the person handling the case could not figure out how to securely download the forms. We luckily found an existing contact in the bank who helped us securely get the forms to the person handling our claim.
The applications are a series of painful processes to work through, but if a program can help us or you by assisting with staff retention, it is worth the effort for the attempt. We have not seen any program money yet, but have been told by the bank our application was accepted by the SBA and they are awaiting a reply. We can only hope the many days of trying to get to this point pays off.
Our primary bank emails us every couple of days saying they are too busy to handle us even though we have been with them for 20 years. It is a major US bank with millions of customers, so apparently, they have limited resources to handle the PPP. Unfortunately, this appears to be the norm.
If you’re looking for resources to help navigate the quagmire of applications, we suggest two sources of valuable information: The Southern Chester County Chamber of Commerce and the Chester County Economic Development Council. Both organizations are doing their best to understand the latest changes and realities of the application processes, and they’re doing a superb job helping the local business community.
All we can do is promise you that the process to receive quality IT support is much easier than applying to government assistance programs. We’re here to assist you in any way we can. Good luck, and we wish the best of health to you, your family, and your business.