Small business owners have lots of items on their to-do lists.  In addition to actually running the business, there are many administrative tasks required to make sure that you meet the applicable small business size standards and maintain those standards year-after-year (in order to avoid, or at least minimize, vulnerability to an SBA size protest).

Among the (sometimes admittedly) tedious tasks associated with remaining eligible for small business contract awards is registering in the required government databases.  Over the past five years, this process has been considerably streamlined by the rollout of the System for Award Management (  SAM is a no-cost, government website where contractors must register and provide certain identifying information about their business.

One of the areas covered by a SAM profile is a business’s size – and specifically whether it qualifies as “small” under the applicable size standards.

The importance of paying proper attention to your SAM profile was highlighted in a recent SBA size protest concerning a small business set-aside contract for the lease of two bucket trucks at Marine Base Camp Lejune, North Carolina.

In the protest, a disappointed offeror argued that the awardee did not meet the size qualifications required by the contract.  Although the SBA’s Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA) found that the protest lacked real specificity (and therefore was subject to being dismissed) – it nevertheless sustained the protest.

41803629 - businessman reading documents with magnifying glass concept for analyzing a finance agreement or legal contract

Why did a protest lacking in specifics get OHA’s attention?  It pointed out that the awardee’s SAM profile itself stated that the contractor is not “small” under the contract size standard.  That fact alone was enough for OHA to send the protest back to the SBA area office for further review.

This story should serve as a helpful reminder that even basic information should be reviewed periodically.  The attention to detail will pay off with less headaches in the long run.