MAPPS announced last week that many owners of small businesses in the surveying and mapping profession will awake on March 12 to a large increase in fellow “small business” members. On that date, the U.S. Small Business Administration size standard will increase from $4.5 million to $14 million (based on receipts).

Some have argued that this change was necessary because the cost of equipment—planes, cameras, LiDAR systems, etc.—would have propelled previous small businesses beyond the existing cap anyway. While this is the case for some, I believe the majority of small businesses within surveying and mapping have survived well on less, contracting out acquisition services or working in areas where the cost of equipment was not quite so high, such as terrestrial scanning or conventional survey.

Under current federal procurement guidelines, small businesses are often afforded a percentage of work as a requirement. The purpose of this is to try to level the playing field with their large business counterparts and ultimately help these small businesses mature.

Having worked on both sides of the aisle, I worry that this change will not be good for the profession.