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85% of SBIR applications are rejected

Many of these were for highly-fundable project ideas — but failed because of poor proposal writing, incomplete research design, or simple avoidable mistakes.

Give your company a competitive edge with Hired Gun Writing

SBIR support from concept to submission

Our staff SBIR specialists provide complete SBIR/STTR support from concept to submission, including: application preparation and proposal writing, literature research, and consultation and technical assistance, as well as professional reviews, critiques, and editing.

Our SBIR experts ensure your application is complete, correct, and highly competitive; that your team is organized, on target, and meets the deadline; and that you avoid delays and fatal errors at submission.

Is my project idea a good match for SBIR/STTR funding?
Do not accept any answer to this question that doesn't come from the federal agency that would review your application. We can provide initial feedback on your idea, research plan, and qualifications. But we, and SBIR program administrators, highly recommend you contact your target agency (i.e. NIH) to discuss your proposed project. Contact information can be found in each agency's SBIR/STTR program announcement.

We know SBIR and STTR grants.
When you partner with us, you bring a professional, qualified SBIR specialist onto your team to provide total support, and the expertise needed to turn your innovative idea into a fundable proposal. Read more about our services, fees, and SBIR development process.

           SBIR/STTR Services

           Application Development Process: How We Work




           About SBIR and STTR programs

Contact Us

SBIR/STTR Services

Hired Gun Writing differs from other grant writers in that we provide full-service SBIR and STTR support, including registrations, proposal writing and application preparation, and submission. Our approach produces an overall application package that is cohesive, consistent and easy to follow, as well as eliminates the possibility of fatal technical and guideline errors.

We prepare applications for Phase I SBIR/STTR grants, Phase II, and PhaseI/Phase II Fast-Track submissions. We specialize in health and medical projects for NIH SBIR/STTR grants, and in the biological sciences.

Our work is never outsourced. All assignments are completed in full and on site by Hired Gun Writing's SBIR/STTR specialists.

  • Registration:We will complete or guide you through all necessary registrations via, eRA Commons (organization, PI, other key personnel), CCR, DUNS

  • Complete Application Preparation: We write and prepare all application components and narratives as required for submission to your target agency, as well as provide complete project management, oversight, consultation, and post-submission support.

    SBIR/STTR application components:
    • SF424 (R&R)
    • Specific Aims
    • Research Plan (Significance, Innovation, Design & Methods, Data Analysis)
    • Project Abstract
    • Project Narrative
    • Preliminary Studies
    • Senior/Key Person Profile
    • Biosketch (for all key personnel)
    • Project/Performance Site Location
    • Other Project Information Component
    • Budget
    • Budget Narrative
    • Human Subjects Assurances
    • Cover Page Supplement
    • Checklist
    • Cover Letter File
    • Additional PHS 398, SF424 and other components as required by each agency

  • Professional Review and Critique: We will perform a full review of client-prepared applications to verify all components are complete, coherent, and address reviewers' questions. We check for errors that can cause your application to be rejected or delayed upon submission. We will also prepare a formal critique of your project concept and research design, identify strengths and weaknesses, and offer suggestions for improvement.

  • Editing, Consultation, and Technical Assistance: We will proofread and edit client-prepared proposals and applications for grammatical correctness, organization, flow, and basic mistakes. We also provide on-going consultation and technical assistance throughout the application preparation and submission process.
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Application Development Process: How We Work

We develop custom action plans and timelines for each of our SBIR clients. Action plans are based on the completeness of your project idea, time to deadline, internal structure and resources, and other factors. But, our basic process to develop a complete SBIR application is as follows:

  1. Complete required registrations:, eRA Commons, CCR, DUNS
  2. Identify Key Investigators, Collaborators, Consultants, Facilities/Resources
  3. Request Letters of Support
  4. Request Biographical Sketches from all necessary personnel
  5. Finalize concept for Specific Aims, and Research Design & Methods
  6. Complete round one draft of Specific Aims, and Research Design & Methods
  7. Complete round one draft of Background & Significance
  8. Identify R&R Components: Facilities & Resources, Equipment, Senior/Key Person Profiles
  9. Complete round two draft of Specific Aims, and Research Design & Methods
  10. Complete round two draft of Background & Significance
  11. Complete SF 424 Form
  12. Obtain all completed Biographical Sketches
  13. Obtain all completed Letters of Support
  14. Complete Targeted & Planned Enrollment Form, and Human Subjects Assurances
  15. Gather any surveys, questionnaires or other materials to include
  16. Complete round one draft of R&R Components
  17. Complete Budget Component and Budget Narrative
  18. Complete any revisions to R&R Components
  19. Compete Cover Letter, Project Narrative, and Project Summary
  20. Complete any revisions to Cover Letter, Project Narrative, and Project Summary
  21. Final review of complete application package
  22. SUBMIT APPLICATION — minimum 3 days prior to deadline
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Please note that we do not work on contingency. (See FAQs for more on this policy.)

Flat Fee, Full Service SBIR/STTR Preparation:

  • Phase I and Phase II Applications: $5,000 - $9,000, depending on proposal complexity and the amount of time we have to complete the project.

  • Phase I/Phase II Fast-Track Applications: $7,000 - $11,000

  • For flat fee assignments, one-half payment is due upfront. Remaining payment is due prior to submission or release of the completed work. If we have less than 4 weeks to complete your project, a 25% rush fee will be added.

    About SBIR Award Amounts: Phase I, average $100,000; Phase II, average $750,000; PhaseI/II Fast-Track, average $850,000

Professional Review and Critique:

  • We review and critique proposals and applications on an hourly basis, at a rate of $120 per hour. Payment for a minimum ten hours is due in advance.

Editing, Consultation, and Technical Assistance:

  • Complete editing of client-prepared materials, as well as consultation and technical assistance, is billed on an hourly basis, at a rate of $120 per hour. Payment for a minimum ten hours is due in advance.

"Do-Not-Exceed" Agreements:

  • We can work with clients to establish a mutually agreed upon "do-not-exceed" amount to complete a project or to provide on-going support. The minimum amount is $2,000. One-half payment is due upfront. Work hours are tracked and billed at a discounted hourly rate of $100 per hour. Remaining payment is due when the initial deposit nears depletion.

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We submitted a Phase I application on our own and it was a total nightmare. It was also rejected. The next time around we hired Hired Gun Writing and the difference was tremendous. Hired Gun kept our staff all on track with checklists and timelines, and took the all the stress from the first submission out of the process. The application Hired Gun did for us was funded. We're now using them for Phase II.
- Richard Kline, LevelCore Inc.

Nothing short of a god-send. Their knowledge and skill is surely unmatched. We will definitely use Hired Gun again.
- Sharon West, BioScan Logistics LLC

I've written government grants and thought I could handle this. But after looking at the SBIR guidelines it was clear I was in over my head. Hired Gun Writing gave us excellent project management, and knew all the answers and all the little tricks to make things go smoothly. I couldn't be happier with the result. I recommend them to all my business partners, and to anyone else applying for SBIR funding.
- Dirk Robynn, The Institute for Health Excellence

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Frequently Asked Questions

How can I determine my company's eligibility, and whether our proposed project fits with current funding interests?
Each federal agency publishes its own eligibility requirements. General requirements include: must be a for-profit organization located within the U.S., and with fewer than 500 employees. To determine your company's eligibility, review the requirements published by your target agency. Each agency also publishes specific areas of interest for submitted project ideas for the current year. Review your target agency's current SBIR/STTR program announcement to determine compatibility with your proposed project. The best starting points for information about SBIR grants are,, or each participating federal agency's Web site. Program announcements typically also contain contact information for relevant agency staff. We can provide initial assistance, but we recommend you also contact the appropriate individual at your agency to obtain direct feedback about whether your proposed project presents a suitable match of interests for the current funding cycle.

What are the average grant award amounts?
SBIR award/maximum request amounts differ by agency but are typically: $100,000 for Phase I, $750,000 for Phase II, and $850,000 for PhaseI/II Fast-Track.

How much time do you need to prepare my application?
A minimum of 4 weeks to deadline is ideal. If you are required to register via eRA Commons and have not done so, a minimum 4 weeks is necessary. In some instances we can complete applications in less than 4 weeks. In these cases we charge an additional 25% rush fee.

How can you write a detailed research plan if you haven't been intimately involved with our organization, and/or don't have extensive knowledge of our research topic?
We work with your key staff to fully develop and/or improve your proposed research design. We solicit key information from your research team, and read relevant research papers authored by members of your team and from within your field. We perform our own background research of the current literature (we have subscriptions to journal article databases). We take direction from your researchers and collaborators on the general design, then use our knowledge of what the review panel will be looking for to develop a complete, logical, scientifically-sound research plan. Further, we do have extensive knowledge of what information SBIR reviewers use to score a proposal, what should and should not be included in the design and methods, and what constitutes a scientifically sound research plan.

How long until my application is reviewed and a decision is made?
Typically 3 - 9 months, depending on the agency and volume of submissions in your deadline cycle.

What's the difference between SBIR and STTR grant programs?
The main difference concerns the applicant organization(s). The SBIR program is for small businesses only. Under the STTR program, the small business partners with an academic or nonprofit institution for the purposes of the proposed project.

What if I need to cancel the grant project?
We take on a limited number of clients for each grant cycle. When we reach that limit, we start turning clients away. That means that when you cancel a project, we lose not only your business, but also the business of the clients we turned away to focus on your project. However, we also understand that your circumstances may change beyond your control. Thus, if for any reason you need to cancel your project, your deposit will be refunded, minus a nonrefundable 25% if you cancel within 3 weeks of deadline, plus compensation for work time spent at a rate of $120/hr.

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About SBIR and STTR Programs

Administration and Purpose: The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of Technology administers the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program and the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Program. These two competitive programs exist to provide small business concerns with critical grant funding to ensure the nation's companies can pursue innovative research and development efforts designed to lead to new, commercially-viable products. To learn more visit

Participating Agencies: Eleven federal departments participate in the SBIR program, and 5 departments participate in the STTR program, together awarding $2 billion per year to small businesses for research and development. Agencies include:

  • Health and Human Services — National Institute of Health (NIH), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
  • National Science Foundation (NSF)
  • Department Of Agriculture
  • NIST
  • NOAA
  • Department of Defense (DOD)
  • Department of Education
  • Department of Energy
  • NASA
  • Department of Homeland Security
  • Department of Transportation

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           Learn more about NIH SBIR/STTR grants.

           Learn more about Phase I SBIR/STTR grants.

           Learn more about grants for small businesses and start-up businesses.

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