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Am I a Small Business?

You may take it for granted that your company is a "small business." The distinction is important if you wish to register for government contracting as a small business. To be a small business, you must adhere to industry size standards established by the U.S. Small Business Administration. As you register as a government contractor in the System for Award Management (SAM), you will also self-certify your business as small.

The SBA, for most industries, defines a "small business" either in terms of the average number of employees over the past 12 months, or average annual receipts over the past three years. In addition, SBA defines a U.S. small business as a concern that:

  • Is organized for profit

  • Has a place of business in the US

  • Operates primarily within the U.S. or makes a significant contribution to the U.S. economy through payment of taxes or use of American products, materials or labor

  • Is independently owned and operated

  • Is not dominant in its field on a national basis

The business may be a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, or any other legal form. In determining what constitutes a small business, the definition will vary to reflect industry differences, such as size standards.

Size Standards

Because all federal agencies must use SBA size standards for contracts identified as small business, you need to select NAICS codes that best describe your business and then determine if the business meet size standards for the selected NAICS codes. Use our Size Standards Tool to find out if you qualify as a small business. Once you have determined you are indeed a small business, you can then certify your business as small by registering as a government contractor.

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