Purchasing & Small Business

Small Business Set Asides

A Small Business Set-Aside is the reserving of an acquisition or a portion of an acquisition exclusively for a small business. The Set-Aside is governed by FAR Part 19 “Small Business” and is based on North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS) and Small Business Administration (SBA) size standards. The NAICS code may indicate a qualifying small business based on the number of its employees or its average annual revenue in dollars. [1]

Qualifying Small Business Concerns

A business may qualify for one or more of the following categories:

Total Set-Asides

For a total set-aside, any acquisition valued between $3,000 and $150,000 is reserved exclusively for small business concerns, and therefore “set aside.” Acquisitions estimated to be valued over $150,000 are set aside for small business participation when there is a reasonable expectation that offers from at least two responsible small business concerns will be received at fair market prices (FAR 19.505-2(b)). Total small business set-asides may be conducted using simplified acquisition procedures (FAR Part 13), sealed bidding (FAR Part 14), or competitive proposals (FAR Part 15). [1]

Partial Set-Aside

When a Government requirement can be divided into smaller portions and small businesses have the capability to provide products or services at reasonable prices, the contracting officer may choose to implement partial set-asides (FAR 19.502-3). This provides contracting opportunities for small business participation in a Government procurement along with participation by one or more large businesses (the “non set-aside” part). Partial set- asides may be conducted using sealed bids (FAR Part 14) or competitive proposals (FAR Part 15) (ref. FAR 19.502-4). [1]

Class Set-Asides

The contracting officer may set aside a class of contracts (e.g., construction, janitorial services, computer maintenance) that normally would not be subject to the mandatory set-aside requirements of FAR 19.502-2(a)). This allows the buying agency to better focus on specific categories of purchases for small business set-aside opportunities. (Ref. FAR 19.503) [1]

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Updated: 7/7/2021

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