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Summary of Size Standards by Industry Sector

As of February 26, 2016

Small business size standards define the largest that a business concern, together with its affiliates, may be and yet qualify as a small business concern for SBA and most other federal programs.  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 size standards for one or more industries.  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 (Sector 11)

  • Most agricultural industries (those in crops and animal production and aquaculture) – $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, Logging, has a 500 employee size standard

Mining (Sector 21)

  • Mining industries (except support services for mining) –range from 250 employees to 1,500 employees
  • Support activities for mining – range from $7.5 million to $38.5 million in average annual receipts; for one industry, Drilling of Oil and Gas Wells, the size standard is 1,000 employees

Utilities (Sector 22)

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

Construction (Sector 23)

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

Manufacturing (Sector 31-33)

  • Size standards for manufacturing industries range from 500 employees to 1,500 employees
    • Approximately 27 percent – 500 employees
    • Approximately 25 percent – 750 employees
    • Approximately 25 percent – 1,000 employees
    • Approximately 16 percent – 1,250 employees
    • A small number (26, or 7%) – 1,500 employees

Wholesale Trade (Sector 42)

  • For SBA's loan and other Federal nonprocurement programs –
    • The size standard for SBA’s loan programs and most Federal programs (except procurement programs) range from 100 employees to 250 employees.
  • For Federal procurement programs, a wholesaler acting as a distributor or dealer may qualify as small on Federal contracts for supplies under a small business set-aside, SDVOSB set-aside, WOSB or EDWOSB set-aside, or 8(a) contract if it:
    • has 500  or fewer employees, and
    • delivers the product of a small business domestic manufacturer, processor, or producer (i.e., made in the U.S.A.), as set forth in SBA’s nonmanufacturer rule, unless it obtains a waiver of such requirement by the SBA. 
  • However, for those procurements made under the Simplified Acquisition Procedures of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (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 (Sector 44-45)

  • For SBA’s loan and other Federal non-procurement programs –
    • 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 have a higher size standard, ranging from $11 million to $38.5 million in average annual receipts.
    • New car dealers – 200 employees.
    • Fuel dealers – 100 employees.
  • For Federal procurement programs –
    • a retailer acting as a distributor or dealer on Federal supply contracts may qualify as small under a small business set-aside, SDVOSB set-aside, WOSB or EDWOSB set-aside, or 8(a) contract if it:
      • has 500  or fewer employees, and
      • delivers the product of a small domestic manufacturer, processor, or producer (i.e., made in the U.S.A.), as set forth in SBA’s nonmanufacturer rule, unless it obtains a waiver of such requirement.
  • 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 (Sector 48-49)

  • Scheduled air transportation, nonscheduled chartered air transportation, and rail transportation – 1,500 employees
  • Other nonscheduled air transportation – $15 million in average annual receipts
  • Water transportation – range from 500 employees to 1,500 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
  • Pipeline transportation of natural gas – $27.5 million in average annual receipts
  • All other pipeline transportation – $37.5 million in average annual receipts
  • Support activities for transportation – range from $7.5 million to $38.5 million in average annual receipts
  • Warehousing and storage – $27.5 million in average annual receipts

Information (Sector 51)

  • Publishing industries, including internet publishers – range from 500 employees to 1,500 employees (except software publishing, which is $38.5 million in average annual receipts)
  • Motion Picture and Sound Recording Industries – range from $7.5 million to $38.5 million in average annual receipts
  • Integrated Record Production/Distribution and Music Publishers – 1,250 employees and 750 employees respectively
  • 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
  • Data Processing, Hosting, Related Services, and Other Information Services – $15 million to $32.5 million in average annual receipts; except,
  • Internet Publishing and Broadcasting and Web Search Portals – 1,000 employees

Finance and Insurance (Sector 52)

  • 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 (Sector 53)

  • 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 (Sector 54)

  • 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 – 1,000 employees
  • Research and development in the physical, engineering and life sciences (except biotechnology) – 1,000 to 1,500 employees
  • Research and development in social sciences and humanities – $20.5 million in average annual receipts

Management of Companies and Enterprises (Sector 55)

  • Bank and other holding companies – $20.5 million in average annual receipts

Administrative Support, Waste Management and Remediation Services (Sector 56)

  • 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 (Sector 62)

  • 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

  • Educational Services (Sector 61)
  • Arts, Entertainment and Recreation (Sector 71)
  • Accommodation and Food Services (Sector 72)
  • Other Services (Sector 81)

More than half of the industries in these sectors have a size standard of $7.5 million in average annual receipts.

Other frequently occurring size standards are $11 million, followed by $27.5 million, $15 million, and $38.5 million in average annual receipts.

Public Administration (Sector 92)

  • SBA has not established small business size standards this Sector.  Establishments in the Public Administration Sector are federal, state, and local government agencies, which administer and oversee government programs and activities that are not performed by private establishments.

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)