Recent NAICS Code Appeal Demonstrates Contractor Strategy to Limit Competition

While every federal government contractor is likely familiar with bid protests, whether directly involved in one or not, it is far less likely that those same contractors are as familiar with NAICS code appeals. This is probably due to the infrequent nature of NAICS code appeals, with roughly 20 being filed each year. However, even if so few are filed annually, they tend to have a relatively high success rate, with appeals decided on the merits being decided in favor of the Appellant about 50% of the time. Below, I will take a look at a recent NAICS code appeal to help demonstrate what the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA) takes into account when reviewing NAICS code appeals, and why you, as a contractor, should review a solicitation’s classification to potentially give you a leg up.

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SBA: NAICS Code Must Match the Work Sought, not the Offeror’s Work

We here at SmallGovCon like to spend our free time pondering the intricacies around how and why certain NAICS codes are assigned to the myriad of contracting opportunities posted every day. But we realize others may not have the same appetite for the intricacies of Federal Contracting as us. Luckily, the SBA’s Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA) recently issued a great roadmap for understanding NAICS code assignments in a NAICS code appeal decision, which serves as a great refresher for how NAICS codes are applied to a procurement.

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Five Things You Should Know: NAICS Code Appeals

NAICS codes are limited in what they can challenge, but can have a powerful effect on a procurement. A NAICS code appeal can challenge the size limit attached to a specific government procurement. This can level the playing field by limiting to smaller businesses, or expand the size of businesses that are able to compete. So, it’s good to know a NAICS code appeal works.

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NAICS Code Challenges Must Show why the Code Chosen is Incorrect, OHA Says

We’ve all seen cases of agencies assigning NAICS codes to solicitations that just seem…off. But, unless a contractor can show that the code chosen was clearly erroneous, government contractors will simply have to make do with what they’ve been given. The OHA recently handed down a decision confirming this.

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OHA Lacks Jurisdiction for NAICS Appeal of GPO Procurement on VA’s Behalf

OHA recently confirmed that it lacked jurisdiction to decide a NAICS code appeal regarding a GPO procurement, even though that procurement was conducted on behalf on the VA. OHA’s dismissal was based on the fact that GPO, a legislative branch agency, is not subject to the same rules as the executive agencies.

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5 Things You Should Know: NAICS Code Appeals

NAICS code appeals are a useful tool in any small business government contractor’s toolbox. If successful, an appeal can dramatically change a procurement’s competitive landscape—either by limiting the pool of eligible offerors, or expanding it.

Even still, NAICS code appeals are underutilized among contractors. So I wanted to take just a few minutes to walk through the basics of NAICS codes appeals, in case your business ever needs to file one.

Here are 5 Things You Should Know about NAICS appeals:

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