SBA small business Size Standards Lawyers

Nationwide Legal Representation for Awardees and Protestors

When you finally get your contract award, the last thing you want to deal with is an SBA small business size protest case. Whether you are the successful offeror or the unsuccessful offer, the impact of having to deal with allegations of violating SBA small business size standards and NACIS code regulations can seriously impact your bottom line. To stand a chance of getting a second bite at getting the contract, you should consider hiring a lawyer that understands small business and federal procurement law. 


With law offices in Washington DC and in Denver, Colorado, Watson & Associates’ SBA protest lawyers and NAICS code small business attorneys can help you with the following:

  • Small Business Concern Affiliation and Ostensible Subcontractor Rule violations (13 CFR 121.103)
  • Small business status and company classifications for family-owned business relationships
  • SBA small business guidelines with newly formed organizations ( making sure that you meet the independently owned and operated standard)
  • Primary and vital contract performance of your small business concern 
  • Economic dependency other than small business
  • The totality of the circumstances 
  • 8a Program and SBA affiliation rules
  • Small business status violations due to an identity of interest
  • SBA Small business size appeals from a formal size determination
  • Improper NAICS code size standard classification decisions
  • Formal SBA Size Determination Appeals to SBA OHA
  • Appeal of SBA OHA decisions to the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit

Get a Free Initial Consultation. Call our SBA size protest lawyers Toll Free 1-866-601-5518.


Besides losing out on millions of dollars in federal government contracts, you can now avoid some of most deadly mistakes seen in filing or defending small business size protests. They include:

  1. Failing to show that your firm would perform contract’s primary and vital requirements
  2. Getting your protest dismissed  as nonspecific because your  allegations were based on the protested firm’s alleged size on the wrong date 
  3. When it comes to federal small business qualifications, arguing facts that do not apply to affiliation such as (i) two firms worked together on two other projects, (ii) offices  in proximity to one another, and (iii) the awardee simply referring to its subcontracts as a “team”  ( these are not sufficient to find affiliation).
  4. Subjecting your business to affiliation based on (i) identity of interest between family members with no clear of line of fracture and (ii) common management and violating the rules of business control and small business classification guidelines)


The SBA has established so many interpretations of the various rules about federal small business qualifications (new rules in 2016 updates SBA small business size standards and application of affiliation) that it can put you at risk. There are so many nuances that can cause the SBA to rule against you in a formal SBA size determination. We are prepared to help you with them.

When litigating legal issues related to government contract NAICS code small business classification requirements, our SBA size protest attorneys frequently provide legal advice and representation for business size concerns in a wide variety of subcontracting legal theories such as totality of the circumstances, size protest based on common managementnewly organized concern rule, Ostensible Subcontractor Rule and Affiliation , meeting the SBA small business definition by showing subcontractors performing primary and vital contract requirements; and identity of interest appeal cases; size appeal protest cases based on mentor protégé affiliation; and small business designation argument when rebutting legal presumptions by showing clear lines of fracture.


Understanding Rules Regarding Small Business Qualification Under 13 CFR 121 and Meeting the Initial Size Protest and Small Business Classification Requirements Can Be a Problem

If you are a small business concern contemplating filing an SBA size protest, you should first make sure that you understand the legal government contracts small business requirements. For example, making conclusory statements that the awardee “might be affiliated” with another company will more than likely get the protest dismissed as being speculative.

According to 13 CFR 121.1007(b) , SBA small business size standards bid protests must be sufficiently specific to provide reasonable notice as to the grounds upon which the protested concern’s size is questioned. This is a crucial area where our size standard protest attorneys can help.

  • You must give some basis for the belief or allegation stated in the government contract protest.
  • A NAICS code size standard protest that merely alleging that the protested awardee is not small or is affiliated with unnamed other concerns does not specify adequate grounds for the protest.
  • No particular form is prescribed for a government protest.
  • Where materials supporting the protest are available, they should be submitted with the protest.


SBA small business size standards protest regulations require that a size protest on a negotiated procurement normally must be filed within five business days after the protester learns the identity of the apparent awardee. 13 CFR 121.1004(a)(2)(i) governs this type of government contract protest timeline.  A protester may also, however, protest a task or delivery order issued under an existing Multiple Award Contract, “if the contracting officer requested a new size certification in connection with that order.” Id. § 121.1004(a)(2)(ii).

  • An untimely small business size standard protest must be dismissed. Id., at § 121.1004(d).
  • the same rules apply to the various government agencies

We Litigate at Various Forums and Handle A Multitude of Small Business Legal Matters Every Day

 As government contract and SBA size protest lawyers with over 30 years of experience, Watson & Associates, LLC frequently litigate and appear before the various forums such as the US Court of Federal Claims, ASBCA, CBCA, SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals, and the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit

SBA Size Definitions & FAQs

What are SBA Small Business Size Standards?

NAICS Small Business size standards are usually given by the number of employees or average annual receipts which represents the largest size that your business (including subsidiaries and affiliates) may be to remain classified as a legitimate small business for SBA and federal government contracting programs.

  • A business is considered small by comparing its size to others in the same industry.
  • SBA size standards varies by the type of industry that your company is in. Depending on the industry, your size standard could be 500 employees or it could be 1,500 employees.

SBA Guidelines – How Does Affiliation Impact My Small Business Concern Under the Ostensible Subcontractor Rule?

If your proposed subcontractor is a small, similarly-situated entity that follows the relevant rules, the ostensible subcontractor rule does not apply. See Size Protest Appeal of The Frontline Group, SBA No. SIZ-5860 (2017) 

As a Small Business, Are You Found Affiliated When You Hire the Incumbent Employees?

The SBA can find affiliation in its size determination decision under ostensible subcontractor rule if your small business concern plans to hire the large business incumbent’s workforce en masse, and almost entirely rely on that large business as the subcontractor for managing the contract. See Size Protest Appeal of Automation Precision Technology, LLC, SBA No. SIZ-5850 (2017).

Can You Be Found in Violation of the Ostensible Subcontractor Rule and NAICS size standards If As the Prime You Only Manage the Contract?

More than likely yes. Under SBA guidelines, it can find you affiliated with the subcontractor if you are only responsible for management while your subcontractor provides all primary and vital requirements of the contract. See NAICS Code Business Size Appeal of Hamilton Alliance, Inc. SBA No. SIZ-5698 (Dec. 8, 2015).


Our Federal SBA small business size protest appeal lawyers provide legal counsel to defense contractors throughout the United States and overseas including Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Washington DC, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, and Virgin Islands. Call our SBA bid protest lawyers today for immediate help. 1-866-601-5518. As SBA NAICS size standards attorneys, we help with government contract cases in  Dubai, Afghanistan, Iraq contractors and Saudi Arabia.

Cities in which our Washington DC SBA small business size standard and bid protest lawyers offer legal counsel and government contract litigation include Anchorage, AK; Atlanta, GA; Austin, TX; Chicago, IL; Colorado Springs, CO; Houston, San Antonio,  Wichita Falls, Dallas, TX; Denver, Colorado; Indianapolis, IN; Las Vegas, NV; Los Angeles, CA; Miami, FL; Philadelphia, PA; San Antonio, TX; San Diego, CA; San Francisco, CA; San Jose, CA; Santa Clara, CA; and Tampa, FL.


For help with SBA guidelines, call our small business size standard law firm at 1-866-601-5518 to schedule a FREE Initial Consultation.

Hiring Incumbent Personnel Under the Ostensible Subcontractor Rule.

Find out what date counts for SBA size small business standards.

Learn more about our SBA HUBZone certification services

veteran owned small business lawyersFor Help meeting government contract protest timelines about small business qualifications and the SBA small business size standard definition under 13 CFR 121.103, Call our SBA Size protest lawyers and NAICS law firm today for help with other than small business size protest litigation and appeals.