We Can Work It Out? Proposed Class Waiver of Nonmanufacturer Rule for Exercise Equipment

Following up on its proposed waiver of the nonmanufacturer rule for laptops in December (which we covered here), the SBA (keeping its New Year’s Resolution?) is now proposing waivers for exercise equipment, sophisticated walkie-talkies, and more.

As a reminder, the nonmanufacturer rule generally applies to small businesses selling goods to the government through small business set-aside contracts. Under the rule, a small business must “be the manufacturer or producer of the end item being procured (and the end item must be manufactured or produced in the United States)” or qualify as a “non-manufacturer.”

Because its impractical for many small businesses to actually make the products themselves, the nonmanufacturer rule aims to make it easier for “nonmanufacturer” small businesses to be able to compete in the marketplace. While a nonmanufacturer still has to sell items manufactured by another small business in the U.S., it doesn’t have to manufacture them itself. More info on the rule can be found here.

Certain categories of goods are eligible to receive a “class waiver” of the nonmanufacturer rule. A class waiver can be appropriate where U.S. based manufacturers of the product are few and far between and means a small business can supply the end-product of a large business. In contrast with solicitation-specific waivers, class waivers apply any time the government wants to procure a specific product or category of product. Currently, waivers apply to all sorts of things, from good old VCRs and CD Players to canned spinach.

Last week, the SBA published a new proposed waiver in the Federal Register. This waiver would cover “kettlebells, rubber machine balls, Olympic weight plates, stretch bands, and spring collars,” which currently fall under NAICS code 339920. In addition, the SBA published a second proposed waiver this morning, which would apply to “handheld land mobile radios,” currently under NAICS code 334220.

Though the SBA does not disclose the person or entity which requested the waiver, it does provide the public the opportunity to comment. If you are interested in sharing your thoughts, public comments are due by February 18 for the exercise equipment waiver and February 21 for the radio waiver. Comments can be submitted online or provided to the SBA by mail or in person.

Class waiver proposals are something to keep an eye on as we anticipate more to come in the near future (including one for leather holsters)! If you have questions about the non-manufacturer rule or class waivers, shoot us an email at info@koprince.com or give us a call at 785-200-8919. We’re happy to help!