Finding the Number of Competitors within a Given Area

Here’s an easy way to research the number of businesses like yours within a zip code or county.

The U.S. Census Bureau produces a very useful publication called County Business Patterns that is found online and is FREE! 

This resource provides data on number of establishments, number of employees, annual payroll, and number of establishments by employment size.

For an individual business, the significant feature of this data is the industry specific information.   The current series is available by year for 1998 through 2005; thus one can learn how his/her industry has evolved during recent years.

The federal government uses a hierarchical system called NAICS, or North American Industry Classification System, to categorize businesses.

At the first level, there are 20 divisions and each is further subdivided. As an example, category 44-45 includes Retail Trade.

  • 448 is Clothing and Clothing Accessories Stores
  • 4481 is Clothing Stores, and is further subdivided into a six-digit level
  • Men’s Clothing (448110), Women’s Clothing (448120), Children’s and Infants (448130), etc.