SBA Size Standards   Small Business Size Protest  SBA OHA Size Appeals

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SBA size standards are sometimes forgotten until a competitor files a small business size protest after award of a government contract. As the successful awardee, you now have to defend the allegations Small Business Size Protest & SBA Size Standards Lawyersaggressively by intervening and responding to the SBA investigation.  On the other hand, as the unsuccessful offeror, deciding to file a size protest alleging a violation of the SBA small business size standard means that you have to respond to short deadlines. 

As the unsuccessful offeror, deciding whether you have a legal and factual basis can be challenging. Meeting the short deadlines becomes the final problem. Meeting the legal criteria is where Watson’s government small business attorneys can help.

SBA Small Business Size Protest Attorney Services

Litigating SBA size standards and bid protest disputes involve a myriad of legal theories. Our small business size protest lawyers provide legal representation by:

  • Assessing the merits of each case;
  • Analyzing solicitation requirements to teaming relationships and bid responses
  • Providing help in responding to SBA size bid protest inquiries;
  • Preparing the size protest documents with legal sufficiency;
  • Preserving rights at the SBA level for potential appeal (you cannot bring up new issues on appeal to OHA).
  • Representing clients in size appeal cases to SBA OHA.

Call 1-866-601-5518 for a FREE INITIAL CONSULTATION.

Note: SBA has issued its new rules about small business size determination protests and affiliation.

Experience: With more than 30 years experience in government contracts law and with law offices in Washington, D.C. and Colorado, the government contract law attorneys at  Watson & Associates, LLC offer aggressive legal representation to small businesses across the United States. Whether seeking to defend and intervene in a case for alleged violations of SBA size standards, appealing an SBA size determination, or simply compiling your case for filing, Watson & Associates can help.  

Clients: Our clients come from various industry groups including construction, IT, medical and professional services and have varying business standard requirements for each NAICS code. See some of our favorable results.

See our performance in a landmark appeal against SBA. See Size Appeal of Argus and Black, Inc. now cited by SBA OHA.

Expertise in Various Small Business Size Protest Legal Theories

The law firm also represents small businesses in SBA size protest litigation under totality of the circumstances, SBA small business size protests based on common managementnewly organized concern rule, Ostensible Subcontractor Rule and Affiliation ,  meeting the small business definition by showing subcontractors performing primary and vital contract requirements; and identity of interest size appeal cases; size appeal protest cases based on mentor protégé affiliation; and defeating SBA bid protest litigation  when rebutting legal presumptions by showing clear lines of fracture.

SBA Size Standards & Small Business Definition

Under SBA size standards and procurement regulations, you have to be a small business to receive a government contract that is procured under the Small Business Set-Aside Program. The small business definition becomes a problem when the competition challenges your company to meet the SBA’s size definition.

The SBA’s upward revisions of the size standards allow some small businesses that are close to exceeding their current size standards to retain small business eligibility under new higher size standards and give federal contracting agencies a larger selection of small businesses to choose from for small business procurement opportunities.

NAICS code NAICS industry title Current Size Standards
($ million)
Proposed Size Standard
($ million)
511210 Software Publishers $25.0 $35.5
512110 Motion Picture and Video Production $29.5 $30.0
512131 Motion Picture Theaters (except Drive-Ins) $7.0 $35.5
512199 Other Motion Picture and Video Industries $7.0 $19.0
512290 Other Sound Recording Industries $7.0 $10.0
515111 Radio Networks $7.0 $30.0
515112 Radio Stations $7.0 $35.5
515120 Television Broadcasting $14.0 $35.5
515210 Cable and Other Subscription Programming $15.0 $35.5
517410 Satellite Telecommunications $15.0 $30.0
517919 All Other Telecommunications $25.0 $30.0
518210 Data Processing, Hosting, and Related Services $25.0 $30.0
519110 News Syndicates $7.0 $25.5
519120 Libraries and Archives $7.0 $14.0
519190 All Other Information Services $7.0 $25.5


NAICS code NAICS industry title Current Size Standards
($ million)
Proposed Size Standard
($ million)
561311 Employment Placement Agencies $7.0 $25.5
561312 Executive Search Services $7.0 $25.5
561320 Temporary Help Services $13.5 $25.5
561330 Professional Employer Organizations $13.5 $25.5
561410 Document Preparation Services $7.0 $14.0
561421 Telephone Answering Services $7.0 $14.0
561422 Telemarketing Bureaus and Other contact Centers $7.0 $14.0
561431 Private Mail Centers $7.0 $14.0
561439 Other Business Service Centers (including Copy Shops) $7.0 $14.0
561440 Collection Agencies $7.0 $14.0
561450 Credit Bureaus $7.0 $14.0
561491 Repossession Services $7.0 $14.0
561492 Court Reporting and Stenotype Services $7.0 $14.0
561499 All Other Business Support Services $7.0 $14.0
561510 Travel Agencies $3.5 $19.0
561520 Tour Operators $7.0 $19.0
561591 Convention and Visitors Bureaus $7.0 $19.0
561599 All Other Travel Arrangement and Reservation Services $7.0 $19.0
561611 Investigation Services $12.5 $19.0
561612 Security Guards and Patrol Services $18.5 $19.0
561613 Armored Car Services $12.5 $19.0
561621 Security Systems Services (except Locksmiths) $12.5 $19.0
561622 Locksmiths $7.0 $19.0
561710 Exterminating and Pest Control Services $7.0 $10.0
561740 Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning Services $4.5 $5.0
561910 Packaging and Labeling Services $7.0 $10.0
561920 Convention and Trade Show Organizers $7.0 $10.0
561990 All Other Support Services $7.0 $10.0
562111 Solid Waste Collection $12.5 $35.5
562112 Hazardous Waste Collection $12.5 $35.5
562119 Other Waste Collection $12.5 $35.5
562211 Hazardous Waste Treatment and Disposal $12.5 $35.5
562212 Solid Waste Landfill $12.5 $35.5
562213 Solid Waste Combustors and Incinerators $12.5 $35.5
562219 Other Nonhazardous Waste Treatment and Disposal $12.5 $35.5
562910 Remediation Services $14.0 $19.0
562920 Materials Recovery Facilities $12.5 $19.0


Definition: The SBA small business definition standard ( See SBA Website) is that your company  has to be a “..small business that is not dominant in the field of operation for which it is bidding on a government contract, in addition to qualifying as a small business under the criteria and size standards in Title 13, Code of Federal Regulations, part 121  (13 CFR 121).

SBA size standards have been established for types of economic activity, or industry, generally under the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). SBA’s small business size protest regulations pertaining to federal procurement are also found in the Federal Acquisition Regulation, 48 CFR part 1.

Avoid mistakes made with SBA size bid protest filing: If an area office finds a size not specific it will dismiss the case under 13 CFR 121.1007(c). Small business size protests must sufficiently specific to provide notice of the grounds upon which the protestor was contesting the challenged firm’s size. Another commonly made mistake is that the bid protest does not include factual allegations as a basis for alleged grounds.

Follow the proper procedure in small business size appeals. OHA will not consider new evidence on appeal unless the Judge orders its submission or a motion is filed and served that establishes good cause for the submission under 13 CFR 134.308(a) Failure to file the proper motion can severely damage the outcome of your case.

Intervening in SBA Small Business Size Protest Cases

Whether you are intervening into an existing case or filing a small business size protest alleging affiliation or violation of the Ostensible Subcontractor Rule, the ability to prevail depends on having a clear understanding of the various SBA size standards, regulations and case law that interprets them. This is where most small businesses fail when not represented by experienced legal counsel.

See our SBA size protest FAQs.

Note: When filing an SBA small business size protest, you must file within five days, not including Saturdays, Sundays and federal holidays

Contact Us For Immediate help

Call Our Small Business Size Determination & SBA Small Business Size Protest Lawyers

Call us if you need experienced legal advocates to help you avoid the costly legal landmines with SBA size protests. We aggressively litigate to make sure the SBA’s small business definition and that the legal requirements are met. On appeal, the law firm litigates SBA small business size determination decisions, affiliation decisions, NAICs violations, and small business size standard violations.  

Call our government small business lawyers at 1-866-601-5518 to schedule a FREE Initial Consultation.

More Information About SBA Standards and NAICS Code Size Protests

Learn About The Deadliest Mistakes Made When Hiring Incumbent Personnel Under the Ostensible Subcontractor Rule.

Find out what date counts for SBA size standards.

Learn about SBA size protests and NAICS code litigation and the Process.

Find out about HUBZone Price Preference When Bidding. 

Learn more about our SBA HUBZone certification services

Call our NAICS Code Size protest lawyers today for help with SBA size standards and small business size protest litigation.