Over the summer, we alerted construction and specialty trade contractors to small business size standard increases resulting in expanded small business program eligibility for thousands of businesses. Recently, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) was at it again – this time issuing two proposed rules to increase employee-based size standards for contractors in manufacturing and various other industries.
The proposed rules will primarily affect contractors that operate under North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) Sectors 31-33 (Manufacturing), as well as Sectors 42 (Wholesale Trade) and 44-45 (Retail Trade).
According to the SBA, if the changes in the two rules are adopted, nearly 1,650 new firms will gain eligibility to compete for small business set-aside procurements, as well as take advantage of small business perks like the SBA’s loan programs. Again, this increase is in addition to the 8,000 newly-eligible companies added by earlier size standard revisions. These changes should be of particular importance to impacted companies that are at, near, or even slightly over the threshold for participation.
These recently-announced changes are part of an on-going effort by the SBA to comply with the 2010 Small Business Jobs Act, which requires the re-evaluation of all existing size standards (an undertaking now more than three decades in the making). The overall goal is to make sure that size standards reflect today’s market and compensate for inflation and other economic realities.
The SBA’s small business programs offer unique and potentially lucrative business incentives — so contractors should be sure to take advantage of the new opportunities afforded by these size standard increases.