SBA proposed size standard change riles small IT resellers


SBA proposed size standard change riles small IT resellers

By Jason Miller
Federal News Radio
November 13, 2014

TheSmall Business Administration is facing rising opposition to a proposed sizestandard for some companies that are IT value-added resellers.

SinceSBA issued the proposed rule inSeptember, which would remove an exception to how these IT VARs are classifiedas small contractors, more than 200 people responded,mostly voicing their opposition to the potential change.

TheSBA wants to eliminate the 150 employee size standard for IT value-addedresellers (IT VARs) under NAICS code 541519. Instead, SBA proposed to use the$27.5 million size standard that applies to the rest of the current NAICS code.

KenDodds, SBA's director of the Office of Policy, Planning and Liaison, saidhaving an employee-based size standard under this NAICS code is inconsistentwith the rest of the 541519 NAICS code, which is based on total revenue.

Hesaid this change is necessary for several reasons.

"Ifwe go ahead and eliminate the exception, these are supply contracts and theywill be subject to all the other NAICS codes and size standards that apply tosupply contracts as well as the non-manufacturer rule, which has a sizestandard of 500 employees," Dodds said in an interview with Federal NewsRadio. "That's kind of the misconception out there. This exception is usedfor primarily supply contracts, and in any other case when you have supplycontracts, you have an employee-based size standard and you have thenon-manufacturer size standard of 500 employees."

Headded most of these companies that could be affected by this change would stillqualify under the 500 employee size standard under the non-manufacturer rule.

Differentways to buy the same thing

Doddssaid there is confusion and concern over this proposal because of theexception. SBA believes the proposed rule will help reduce or even eliminatethe confusion over services versus supplies and where value-added resellers fitin.;articletile=6;pos=left1;sz=300x250;ord=

"We'veheard from businesses on both sides, but certainly businesses that exceed the150 employee size standard that nevertheless can quality for an IT procurementusing the 500 employee size standard," he said. "So basically rightnow as a contracting officer, if you are buying IT supplies mainly, you can usethis exception with 150 employee-based size standard or you can use thecomputer manufacturing NAICS code with 1,000 employees and use the 500 employeesize standard. That's part of the additional confusion out there. The sameprocurement can be bought two different ways and it can basically exclude somefirms from competing depending on what the contracting officer selects."

ITVARs are a big market in the government with companies such as the ImmixGroupor Accelera Solutions or Red River Computer Corp, and many others bringingcommercial products such as a Dell laptop or a Cisco router to the federalmarket and offering additional services such as installation or upgrades ortraining.

ITVARs are big under governmentwide acquisition contracts (GWACs) such as NASASEWP V or other multiple award contracts such as the Homeland SecurityDepartment's First Source and the Air Force's NetCents.

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