To survive dismissal, a SBA size protest must be “specific,” that is, it must explain why the protested contractor is not small, and (in many cases), provide third-party evidence supporting the claim.
In Size Appeal of SoftConcept, Inc., SBA No. SIZ-5197 (2011), the SBA’s Office of Hearings and Appeals held that a SBA size protest was insufficiently specific when the protester alleged that the contract awardee did not list the NAICS code in question, NAICS code 541519, in its Central Contractor Registration profile.
Small government contractors are familiar with the CCR system—registration is mandatory before a company can receive a federal government contract. As part of its CCR profile, a company may choose to list the NAICS codes in which it operates, and may also identify those NAICS codes for which it qualifies as small.
In the SoftConcept case, the procurement carried NAICS code 541519, but the awardee, Enterprise Information Systems, did not list that code on its CCR profile.
SBA OHA held that “this issue does not affect whether or not EIS is a small business under the applicable size standard.” Because the protester had not presented any information suggesting that EIS exceeded the relevant size standard, SBA OHA held that the SBA Area Office had properly dismissed the SBA size protest as insufficiently specific.
One note: the SoftConcept SBA size appeal decision does not mean that CCR profiles cannot serve as viable evidence that an awardee exceeds the relevant size standard. For instance, if EIS had listed NAICS code 541519 on its CCR profile, but stated “no” when asked if it was a small business under that code, the CCR profile would likely make for a “specific” size protest. Similarly, if the protester had alleged that EIS was affiliated with another company, and the two companies’ CCR profiles indicated a shared address, telephone number, facsimile, or government points of contact, the size protest likely would have survived dismissal.