Focus

SBA changes its mind

There has been some controversy concerning the Small Business Administration (SBA) lately, and the outcome may benefit roofing contracting companies that rely on SBA for financial services.

Formed about 50 years ago, SBA has attempted to provide assistance to small enterprises in all industries. The administration's programs include financial and federal contract procurement assistance; management assistance; and specialized outreach to women, minorities and armed forces veterans. Nearly 20 million small businesses have received direct or indirect help from SBA programs since 1953. And SBA says its current business loan portfolio of roughly 219,000 loans worth more than $45 billion makes it the largest single financial backer of U.S. businesses.

But despite its accomplishments, SBA has been the center of some heated debate about whether to change its definition of “small business.” In general, SBA's current common size standards for small businesses are as follows:

  • 500 employees or less for most manufacturing and mining industries

  • 100 employees or less for all wholesale trade industries

  • $6 million or less in annual revenue for most retail and service industries

  • $28.5 million or less in annual revenue for most general and heavy construction industries

  • $12 million or less in annual revenue for all specialty trade contractors

  • $750,000 or less in annual revenue for most agricultural industries

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