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Summary of Size Standards by Industry Sector

Summary of Size Standards by Industry Sector

As of July 14, 2014

Small business size standards define the largest that a business concern, including all of its affiliates, may be and yet qualify as a small business concern for SBA and most other federal programs,  The SBA has established two widely used size standards – 500 employees for most manufacturing and mining industries and $7.5 million in average annual receipts for many nonmanufacturing industries.  However, there are a number of exceptions.  For the size standard applicable to any North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code, see the SBA’s Small Business Size Regulations, 13 CFR §121.201, or the Table of Small Business Size Standards

SBA periodically changes a size standard for an industry.  The process for changing a size standard is discussed in the Agency’s Guide to Size Standards and in its Size Standards Methodology.

Below is a summary of size standards for major industries and industry groups in various NAICS industry sectors. 

Agriculture

  • Majority of agricultural industries – $750,000 in average annual receipts, set by the Small Business Act.
  • Remaining agricultural industries – $5.5 million to $27.5 million in average annual receipts; one industry has a 500 employee size standard

Mining

  • All mining industries (except support services for mining) – 500 employees
  • Support services for mining – range from $7.5 million to $38.5 million in average annual receipts

Utilities

  • Fossil and nuclear electric power generation – 750 employees
  • Hydroelectric power generation – 500 employees
  • Renewable electric power generation – 250 employees
  • Electric power distribution – 1,000 employees
  • Natural gas distribution – 500 employees
  • Other utilities range from $15 million to $27.5 million in average annual receipts

Construction

  • General building and heavy construction contractors – $36.5 million average annual receipts
  • Special trade construction contractors – $15.0 million average annual receipts
  • Land Subdivision – $27.5 million in average annual receipts 
  • Dredging – $27.5 million in average annual receipts

Manufacturing

  • Approximately 75 percent of the manufacturing industries – 500 employees.
  • A small number of manufacturing industries – 1,500 employees
  • The rest – either 750 or 1,000 employees

Wholesale Trade

  • Wholesale trade industries – 100 employees for loans and other federal programs (except federal procurement programs) 
  • Wholesaler or distributor acting as a dealer on Federal contracts under a small business set-aside, SDVOSB set‑aside, WOSB or EDWOSB set-aside, or 8(a) contract –
    • 500 employees, and
    • the firm must deliver the product of a small domestic manufacturer (i.e., made in the U.S.A.), as set forth in SBA’s nonmanufacturer rule, unless waived by the SBA for a particular class of product.  Such a waiver applies only to the size of the manufacturer and not to the product’s origin
  • However, for those procurements made under the Simplified Acquisition Procedures of the FAR and where the purchase does not exceed $25,000, the nonmanufacturer may deliver the goods of any domestic manufacturer (i.e., made in the U.S.A.)

Retail Trade

  • About one‑third of the retail trade industries – $7.5 million in average annual receipts. 
  • A few, such as grocery stores, department stores, motor vehicle dealers (except new car dealers) and electrical appliance dealers – generally a higher size standard, ranging from $11 million to $38.5 million in average annual receipts 
  • New Car Dealers – 200 employees
  • Fuel Dealers – 50 employees
  • When a retailer is acting as a dealer on Federal contracts under a small business set-aside, SDVOSB set‑aside, WOSB or EDWOSB set-aside, or 8(a) contract –
    • 500 employees, and
    • the firm must deliver the product of a small domestic manufacturer (i.e., made in the U.S.A.), as set forth in SBA’s nonmanufacturer rule, unless waived by the SBA for a particular class of product.  Such waiver applies only to the size of the manufacturer and not to the product’s origin
  • However, for those procurements made under the Simplified Acquisition Procedures of the FAR and where the purchase does not exceed $25,000, the nonmanufacturer may deliver the goods of any domestic manufacturer (i.e., made in the U.S.A.)

Transportation and Warehousing

  • Air transportation – 1,500 employees
  • Water transportation – 500 employees
  • Truck transportation - $27.5 million in average annual receipts
  • Transit and ground passenger transportation - $15 million in average annual receipts
  • Pipeline transportation of crude oil and refined petroleum products – 1,500 employees
  • Support activities for air transportation - $32.5 million in average annual receipts
  • Support activities for water transportation - $38.5 million in average annual receipts
  • Warehousing and storage - $27.5 million in average annual receipts

Information

  • Publishing industries, including internet publishers – 500 employees (except software publishing which is $38.5 million in average annual receipts)
  • Broadcasting - $38.5 million in average annual receipts
  • Telecommunications (wired, wireless, and reselling, except satellite) – 1,500 employees
  • Satellite and other telecommunication services – $32.5 million in average annual receipts

Finance and Insurance

  • Depository institutions and credit card issuing companies - $550 million in average assets
  • Most non-depository institutions - $38.5 million in average annual receipts
  • Direct property and casualty insurance carriers – 1,500 employees
  • Other direct insurance carriers - $38.5 million in average annual receipts
  • Funds, trusts and other financial vehicles - $32.5 million in average annual receipts

 

Real Estate and Rental and Leasing

  • Lessors of real estate - $27.5 million in average annual receipts
  • Leasing of building space to Federal Government by owners - $38.5 million in average annual receipts
  • Offices of real estate agents and brokers - $7.5 million in average annual receipts
  • Activities related to real estate - $7.5 million in average annual receipts
  • Automotive equipment rental and leasing - $38.5 million in average annual receipts
  • Commercial and industrial machinery and equipment rental and leasing - $32.5 million in average annual receipts

Professional, Scientific and Technical Services

  • Legal services - $11 million in average annual receipts
  • Accounting and related services - $20.5 million in average annual receipts
  • Architectural services - $7.5 million in average annual receipts
  • Engineering, surveying and mapping services - $15 million in average annual receipts
  • Specialized design services - $7.5 million in average annual receipts
  • Computer system design and related services - $27.5 million in average annual receipts
  • Management, scientific and technical consulting services - $15 million in average annual receipts
  • Advertising, public relations and related services - $15 million in average annual receipts
  • Research and development in biotechnology – 500 employees
  • Research and development in the physical, engineering and life sciences (except biotechnology) – 500 to 1,500 employees
  • Research and development in social sciences and humanities - $20.5 million in average annual receipts

Management of Companies and Enterprises - $20.5 million in average annual receipts

Administrative Support, Waste Management and Remediation Services

  • Employment services - $27.5 million in average annual receipts
  • Business support services - $15 million in average annual receipts
  • Travel arrangement and reservation services - $20.5 million in average annual receipts
  • Investigation and security services - $20.5 million in average annual receipts
  • Other support services - $20.5 million in average annual receipts
  • Waste collection, treatment and disposal - $38.5 million in average annual receipts
  • Remediation services - $20.5 million in average annual receipts
  • Environmental remediation services – 500 employees

Health Care and Social Assistance

  • Office of physicians - $11 million in average receipts
  • Office of dentists - $7.5 million in average annual receipts
  • Office of other health practitioners - $7.5 million in average annual receipts
  • Hospitals - $38.5 million in average annual receipts

Other Sectors

Other sectors include

  • Education,
  • Arts, Entertainment and Recreation
  • Accommodation and Food Services
  • Other Services
  • More than half of the industries in these sectors have a size standard of $7.5 million in average annual receipts
  • Other most common size standards are $11 million, followed by $27.5 million, $15 million, and $38.5 million in average annual receipts.

For specific size standards as of January 1 of each year refer to the annual editions of SBA’s Small Business Size Regulations in 13 CFR §121.201.  SBA maintains on its website a current table of small business size standards that includes all changes and modifications made since January 1 of the most recent year.  (See www.sba.gov/size).