The criteria and ranking method for this year’s list.
The Inc. 500|5000 is ranked according to percentage revenue growth from 2005 through 2008. To qualify, companies must have been founded and generating revenue by the first week of 2005, and therefore able to show four full calendar years of sales. Additionally, they have to be U.S.-based, privately held, for profit, and independent -- not subsidiaries or divisions of other companies -- as of December 31, 2008 (a number of companies on the list have gone public or been acquired since that date). Revenue in 2005 must have been at least $200,000, and revenue in 2008 must have been at least $2 million. A number of companies had growth high enough to make the Inc. 500, the top 500 of the Inc. 5000, but did not complete the revenue verification portion of the application process in time for Inc. magazine's deadline. (The final deadline for submitting this information to be included in the magazine was June 5.) These companies have been given a rank of "500X", and they appear on our list in alphabetical order after the ranked companies. Full-time and part-time employees are included in the head count; independent contractors and temporary employees are excluded. As always, we reserve the right to reject applicants for subjective reasons.