Small Business Issues

Our government contract attorneys are seasoned professionals in prosecuting and defending bid protests and legal disputes before the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, and other federal contract tribunals.

  • Whether representing a successful awardee or disappointed offeror, we help clients navigate the bid protest process to successfully defend their own contract awards or to vindicate their rights to full and fair competition as a protester.
  • Centre has represented clients in countless bid protests that yielded successful results without a written decision, including matters in which the procuring agency voluntarily adopted early corrective action or the protest resulted in early outcome prediction.

Our Small Business Subcontracting Experts

Managing Partner

Barbara Kinosky

Barbara Kinosky is the Managing Partner of Centre Law and Consulting and has more than twenty-five years of experience in all aspects of federal government contracting. Barbara is a nationally known expert on GSA and VA Schedules and the Service Contract Act, and she has served as an expert witness for federal government contracting cases. She has a proven track record of solving complex issues for clients by providing strategic and business savvy advice. Barbara was named a top attorney for federal contracting by Smart CEO magazine in 2010, 2012 and 2015. Prior to establishing Centre, Barbara was the head of a government contracts practice group at a major law firm. She started Centre in 2002 to provide integrated legal, GSA consulting and training services.


Alan Chvotkin

Alan is a partner in the Washington, D.C. area law firm Centre Law Group where he specializes in federal government contracts law and its policies and practices, including counseling companies on a wide range of matters ranging from contract formation and performance through disputes and claims. Prior to private practice, Alan was for 19 years the executive vice president and counsel of the Professional Services Council (PSC), the principal national trade association of the government technology and professional services industry, where he was responsible for the association’s legislative and regulatory policy activity.

Contact Centre

Our attorneys have over 30 years of experience in Small Business Issues and are ready to assist you today.

Small Business Subcontracting FAQs

What is a size protest?

Size protests are actions brought by interested parties to challenges the size status of a set-aside contract awardee. The SBA Area Office to which the protest is assigned takes evidence and issues a “Size Determination.” From this determination, the losing party can appeal to SBA’s Office of Hearings and Appeals. While legal action is often the last resort, the increased frequency and complexity of small business set-asides has led size protests to become a weapon of choice for many contractors.

Under the SBA rules affiliation exists when an entity controls or has the power to control the small business. Control may arise through ownership, management or other relationships between the parties. When such control exists, SBA will view the entities as “affiliated”. Depending on the NAICS code being used, SBA will aggregate either the two businesses’ receipts or their number of employees; if those aggregate values exceed the relevant size standard, each affiliated firm becomes ineligible for a small business set-aside prime contract.

If a competitor files a “size protest” again based on your alleged affiliation with another business, you may be found ineligible for contract award. Alarmingly, a finding of affiliation may disqualify you from the award of future set-aside contracts as well.

Yes, if you are an interested party and have reason to believe that the awardee is affiliated in a way that makes it large, you can protest the awardee’s size status before SBA. But don’t delay; there are strict time requirements to follow or else your protest will be dismissed.

SBA’s 8(a) mentor/protégé program allows newly formed small businesses to team with successful large companies under a structured program that provides small businesses with the knowledge and resources necessary to succeed in their chosen industry. The key benefit for small protégés is teaming with large mentors to bid on contracts with broader scopes of work or stringent past performance requirements for which the protégé alone would not be qualified. The principal benefit for large mentors is access to set-aside contracts for which they would otherwise be too large. When a mentor teams with its protégé, under certain circumstances, SBA allows the two firms to work together without triggering SBA affiliation rules. Centre Law & Consulting’s team is keenly aware of the responsibilities of both the mentor and protégé under these arrangements and has assisted both small companies and large companies take advantage of their benefits.

The non-manufacturer rule applies only to small business prime contractors who offer to the government products manufactured by other entities. The complete rule has four requirements for these prime contractors — the “non-manufacturer”:

  • Does not exceed 500 employees
  • Is primarily engaged in the retail or wholesale trade and normally sells the type of item being supplied
  • Takes ownership or possession of the item(s) with its personnel, equipment or facilities in a manner consistent with industry practice
  • Will supply the end item of a small business manufacturer, processor or produced made in the United States, or obtains a waiver of such requirement pursuant to paragraph (b)(5) of this section

The non-manufacturer rule is intended to prevent small business prime contractors from being mere “pass-throughs” in the supply chain. By far the most common pitfall is the fourth (iv) requirement — that the small business prime must provide US-made goods from a small business manufacturer or else obtain a waiver of this requirement. Waivers are granted by SBA when there are no small business manufacturers of the product being supplied, but it should be kept in mind that even where a non-manufacturer rule waiver is obtained, it does not waive the other three requirements of the rule, nor any applicable domestic preference rules such as the Buy American Act.

Complete Table of Changes which will go into effect most likely Oct 1, 2022.

“SBA is increasing the size standards for 46 industries in those sectors, including 27 industries in NAICS Sector 54 (Professional, Scientific and Technical Services), two industries in Sector 55 (Management of Companies and Enterprises), and 17 industries in Sector 56 (Administrative and Support and Waste Management and Remediation Services).”

No action is taken at this time. However, if your NAICs code increases you should start to plan accordingly especially if you size down which means you become small again specifically those under 541611.

Within these categories, here are a few common NAICS codes that will see increases: (remember these numbers are based upon a five year average for revenue):

  • NAICS 541310 (Architectural Services) from $8 million to $11 million
  • NAICS 541330 (Engineering Services) from $16.5 million to $22.5 million
  • NAICS 541611 (Administrative Management and General Management Consulting Services) from $16.5 million to $21.5
  • NAICS 541990 (All Other Professional, Scientific and Technical Services) from $16.5 million to $17 million
NAICS Codes NAICS U.S. Industry Title Size Standards in Millions of Dollars
541110 Offices of Lawyers 13.5
541191 Title Abstract & Settlement Offices 17.0
541199 All Other Legal Services 18.0
541211 Offices of Certified Public Accountants 23.5
541214 Payroll Services 34.5
541310 Architectural Services 11.0
541330 Engineering Services 22.5
5411330 (Exception 1) Military an Aerospace Equipment and Military Weapons 41.50
5411330 (Exception 2) Contracts and Subcontracts for Engineering Services Awarded Under the National Energy Policy Act of 1992 41.50
5411330 (Exception 3) Marine Engineering & Naval Architecture 41.50
541350 Building Inspection Services 10.0
541360 Geophysical Surveying and Mapping Services 22.5
541420 Industrial Design Services 15.0
541490 Other Specialized Design Services 12.0
541513 Computer Facilities Management 32.5
541611 Administrative Management and General Management Consulting Services 21.5
541612 Human Resource Consulting Services 25.5
541614 Process, Physical Distribution and Logistics Consulting Services 17.5
541720 Research and Development in the Social Sciences and Humanities 24.5
541810 Advertising Agencies 22.5
541830 Media Buying Agencies 28.5
541840 Media Representatives 18.5
541850 Outdoor Advertising 30.5
541860 Direct Mail Advertising 19.5
541870 Advertising Material Distribution 25.0
541910 Marketing Research and Public Opinion Polling 20.0
541921 Photography Studios 14.0
541930 Translation and Interpretation Services 20.0
541940 Veterinary Services 9.0
541990 All Other Professional, Scientific and Tech Services 17.0
551111 Offices of Bank Holding Companies 34.0
551112 Offices of Other Holding Companies 40.0
561110 Office Administration Services 11.0
561330 Professional Employer Organizations 36.5
561422 Telemarketing Bureaus and Contact Centers 22.5
561439 Other Business Service Centers (including copy shops) 23.5
561440 Collection Agencies 17.0
561450 Credit Bureaus 36.0
561499 All Other Business Support Services 19.0
561599 All Other Travel Arrangement Services 28.5
561612 Security Guards and Patrol Services 25.5
561613 Armored Car Services 38.0
561710 Exterminating and Pest Control Services 15.5
561730 Landscaping Services 8.5
561740 Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning Services 7.5
561910 Packaging and Labeling Services 17.0
561920 Convention and Tradeshow Organizers 17.5
561990 All Other Support Services 14.5
562998 All Other Miscellaneous Waste Management Service 14.5