Jordan Schneir
By: jordan_shneir
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Profit Margin by Industry

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Why should you know the average profit margin by industry? Increasing your profit margin should be your ultimate goal as a business owner. Profit margin measures your business’ profitability and is a great indicator of your company’s financial health.

But even if you have calculated your own profit margin, it can be difficult to know if it is what it should be. Is your profit margin good enough? Should you get financing in the form of a business loan to increase your profit margin?

To answer those questions, first, you have to compare. By looking at the profit margin by industry, you can see how your business compares to others in the same sector. This information can help you determine whether or not your business is in good shape. It also shows you which industries are the most profitable.

Before we continue, refer to the quick questions below to refresh the basics on profit margin:

Profit Margin in a Nutshell

  • What is Profit Margin? Profit Margin is a measure of any business profitability. It is calculated as a percentage of the revenue. It represents what percentage of sales has turned into profits. Simply put, the percentage indicates how many cents of profit the business has generated for each dollar of sale. For instance, if a business reports a 25% profit margin during last year, it means that it had a net income of $0.25 for each dollar of sales generated. There are several types of profit margin, but the term usually refers to the net profit margin.
  • What’s the difference between profit and profit margin? Profit gets measured in dollars and cents, while the profit margin gets measured as a percentage.
  • What is a good profit margin? What is considered a good margin varies widely by industry, but as a general rule of thumb, a 10% net profit margin is considered average, a 20% margin is considered good, and a 5% margin is low.
  • How do you calculate profit margin? Divide net income by revenue. To make the margin a percentage, multiply the result by 100. Refer to the formula below to calculate first your net income, and then your net profit margin.

Now, let’s take a deep look at what profit margin is, what the average profit margin is the most common industries for small businesses, and how you can increase your business’ profit margin.

What Is Profit Margin?

Profit margin is a ratio that measures your business’ profitability. It tells you how much profit you made for every dollar earned from sales.

There are two main types of profit margin that you should be familiar with: net profit margin and gross profit margin.

  • Net profit margin measures how much profit your business generated as a percentage of your total revenue. This is usually referred to as a company’s bottom line.
  • Gross profit margin, on the other hand, measures the income left over after accounting for the Cost of Goods Sold (COGS). COGS refers to the expenses directly associated with product creation. Gross profit margin excludes overhead expenses like rent or utilities.

What Is a Good Profit Margin?

A “good” profit margin depends on a variety of factors.

What industry is your company in? Are you a new company? What are your long-term goals?

These factors can all impact your ideal profit margin. One of the best ways to determine your profit margin goals is to look at profit margin by industry.

Restaurants, for example, should aim for a profit margin of about 6-9%. Other business sectors may hover around 40%.

While most people would assume that small businesses have lower profit margins, that’s typically not the case. While small businesses tend to have lower sales figures, they also tend to have fewer employees and lower expenses, which contributes to higher profit margins.

Check your industry’s average profit margin to know where your business is standing.

What Does Profit Margin Depend On?

Your company’s ideal profit margins depend largely on three factors: industry, expansion goals, and size.


Profit margin by industry is an important factor to consider when setting goals for your business.

Companies in the restaurant and foodservice industry, for example, typically have lower profit margins due to greater expenses.

Other industries may tend to have higher profit margins due to having lower expenses. For example, a business consultant would likely have a very high-profit margin due to low overhead expenses.

If businesses in your industry tend to have low-profit margins, that doesn’t mean you should change industries. Profit margin doesn’t measure how much money your business makes, it measures the percentage of your revenue that turns into profit.

Expansion Goals

You should also consider your future goals for expansion.

If you are planning to expand, then you will need to increase your profits and cash flow to fund your new business ventures.

However, if you don’t currently plan to expand your company, you might be focused on maintaining a healthy profit margin rather than increasing your profit and revenue.


The size of your company is also a very important factor when determining your ideal profit margin.

As mentioned, smaller businesses often have larger profit margins due to having lower expenses. This, of course, doesn’t mean small businesses make more money than larger companies. It just means that a larger portion of their revenue turns into profit.

As your business grows, it will likely add expenses like hiring new employees and purchasing equipment. These expenses can reduce your profit margin if you don’t increase accordingly your sales and revenue.

Profit Margin by Industry

Here are the average profit margins for some of the most common industries among small business owners in the United States:

Industry Net Profit Margin Gross Profit Margin
Auto Repair & Maintenance 12% 21%
Construction 5% 19%
Hotels & Hospitality 8% 76%
Maintenance Services 10% 30%
Restaurants 15% 67%
Retail 5% 22%
Tax Services 20% 90%
Transportation 19% 47%

Source: &

Do You Need Adjustments to Match the Ideal Profit Margin?

If your profit margin doesn’t match the average profit margin of other businesses in your industry according to the table above, you may need to start taking steps to increase your profit margin.

Some methods you can use to boost your profit margin include:

  • Apply for financing: Applying for a business loan can help you get the funding you need to pursue new business initiatives. This is one of the most recommendable ways to address those areas in your company that can increase your profit margin. The funds provided by a business loan can help you increase your inventory, hire staff, or implement marketing strategies that will set you apart from your competitors.
  • Cut expenses: Every penny counts. Cutting unnecessary expenses, no matter how small, will help you boost your profit margin.
  • Revise your prices: Changing your pricing can help you boost sales on certain products or services.
  • Revise your business plan: Revising your business plan can help you identify ways to cut expenses and boost sales.
  • Improve your bookkeeping practices: Improving your bookkeeping practices can help you save money in order to maximize your profits. Consider getting an internal audit to help review your bookkeeping practices.

By following a few of these steps, you can start increasing your profit margin today to match the average profit margin in your industry.

Are You Ready to Increase Your Profit Margin? Camino Financial Can Help

Business loans are a great resource for businesses that need funding to pursue new business ventures. This funding can be used to:

  • Create and implement new marketing strategies
  • Purchase new equipment
  • Purchase real estate
  • Increase manufacturing
  • Hire new employees
  • Increase cash flow
  • And much more

At Camino Financial, we work with business owners from a variety of industries to help them get the funding they need to grow.

Our business loans are easy to qualify for, offer flexible loan limits, favorable loan terms, and a number of other benefits. With our business loans, you can invest in your business to start increasing your profit margins as quickly as possible.

We invite you to use our business loan calculator to see for yourself how our loan terms and repayment plans can help you grow your business.

If you’re ready to start growing your business, we encourage you to request a loan quote: it’s free, it won’t impact your credit score, and you’ll know instantly if you prequalify for a business loan.


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