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Office of Procurement, Acquisition and Logistics (OPAL)


Business Size Determination

Tel: (708) 786-7737 Contacts Survey

Small BusinessAccording to the Small Business Administration (SBA), a small business is defined by the average number of employees employed over the past 12 months, and/or the average annual receipts earned over the past three years.  Additional considerations considered when defining small business concerns include:

  • Is organized for profit
  • Has a place of business within the United States
  • Operates primarily in the US or make significant contribution to the US 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

Size Standards

Small businesses are usually represented by number of employees over the past 12 months or average annual receipts over the last 3 years. This “size standard” represents the largest size that a business (including all subsidiares and affilliates) can be to remain classified as a small business for SBA and federal contracting opportunities.  Size standards are available for every private sector industry in the U.S. economy.

*Nonmanufacturer Rule– To qualify as small for federal contracting opportunities, a nonmanufacturer must:

  1. Have 500 or fewer employees
  2. Primarily be a wholesaler and normally sell the proposed goods
  3. Take ownership or possession of the items in a manner consistent with industry practices
  4. Supply the end product of a U.S. small business manufacturer or obtain a waiver of this requirement pursuant to SBA regulations

Determining Your Small Business Size


The Government utilizes the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) as the standard classification system for assessing data related to the business economy.

To determine if your firm is a small business, you must select one of the NAICS codes identified for the specific Schedule under which you are submitting a proposal and that best describes your business.  A complete listing of NAICS codes for each VA Schedule program is available on the individual VA Schedule Programs page.

Once you have selected the appropriate NAICS code, match the Table of Small Business Size Standards code selected with the appropriate size standard(s).  Use the SBA Size Standards Tool if you need additional assistance in determining if you qualify as a small business.

Your Business Size & Government Contracts

When bidding for a task/delivery order, your business cannot exceed the size standard set by the procuring agency’s contracting officer.  Any business classified as other than a small business proposing an offer that will be valued in excess of $650,000 will be required to submit and maintain an acceptable Small Business Subcontracting Plan.

Socioeconomic Categories

Your company may be qualified to pursue special programs designed to benefit socioeconomic businesses.  Learn more about how the VA utilizes small businesses, the VA’s small business goals, and other small business programs from the VA Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization.  Some small business programs may require an additional certification from the Small Business Administration or the VA’s Center for Verification and Evaluation.

Socioeconomic Categories

Small Business
Service Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business
Veteran-Owned Small Business
Woman-Owned Small Business
Small Disadvantaged Business


Is a VA FSS Contract Right for My Small Business

Over 70% of all VA FSS contract holders are small businesses.  Visit the Prospective Contractors page to determine if a VA FSS Contract is right for your small business.

While the FSS Service provides training to VA and other government agency customers, including information on the benefits of the Schedules Program, we do not promote the use of any one company’s specific Schedule contract.  Obtaining a VA Schedule contract is not a guarantee of sales — if your firm is awarded a VA Schedule contract you will need to market your product offering to Government customers.


This page may include links to other websites outside our control and jurisdiction.  VA is not responsible for the privacy practices or the content of non-VA websites.  We encourage you to review the privacy policy or terms and conditions of those sites to fully understand what information is collected and how it is used.