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Small Business Owner / Operator Salary (United States)

With a little over a half of Small Business Owners and Operators in the United States reporting more than 10 years of experience in the field, this area is heavily weighted toward experienced professionals. Pay ranges from $29K to $182K per year and averages out to $74K annually. The range in cash compensation to Small Business Owners and Operators (largely between $29K and $182K) includes potential earnings of $21K from bonuses, $69K from profit sharing, and commissions of $120K in exceptional cases. Location is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by career length. Slightly less than a third enjoy medical while about one in six get dental coverage. Vision coverage is also available to close to one-eighth. Men make up the majority of Small Business Owners and Operators (67 percent). For the most part, Small Business Owners and Operators enjoy their work and report high levels of job satisfaction. The information for this rundown comes from respondents who completed PayScale's salary questionnaire.
Small Business Owner / Operator Salary (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$29,642 - $183,701
(Median)
30K
47K
74K
120K
180K
MEDIAN: $74,138
10%
25%
50%
75%
90%
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Small Business Owner / Operator Salary (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$10.03 - $56.14
(Median)
10
15
24
35
56
MEDIAN: $24.00
10%
25%
50%
75%
90%
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National Salary Data

 (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$70K$140K$210K
Salary
$29,642 - $183,701  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $20,749  
Profit Sharing
$1,521 - $69,043  
Commission
$0.00 - $120,000  
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$29,315 - $182,372  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 3 Sep 2014 | Individuals Reporting: 1,260
National Hourly Rate Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$50$100$150
Hourly Rate
$10.03 - $56.14  
   
Hourly Tips
$0.15 - $7.89  
Overtime
$14.79 - $89.40  
National Annualized Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$100K$200K$300K
Bonus
$0.00 - $20,749  
   
Commission
$0.00 - $120,000  
Profit Sharing
$1,521 - $69,043  
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$29,315 - $182,372  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 3 Sep 2014 | Individuals Reporting: 201
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Job Description for Small Business Owner / Operator

Small business owners and operators work in a variety of industries such as retail goods, auto repair, home inspection, and many others. Their primary duties (outside of their respective skill or trade) include managing employees, providing customer service, promoting their business, filing and documenting appropriate business accounts, and ensuring their business meets any local, state, and federal requirements. Small business owners may work from a storefront, office space, or even from their home. Depending on the type of business, trade, or service they practice, their hours can vary; however, many organizations operate during daytime hours.
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Common Career Paths for Small Business Owner / Operator

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Small Business Owners and Operators may not always see an increase in earnings as they climb the career ladder. For example, top-notch roles like Construction Manager offer money in line with Small Business Owners and Operators. Small Business Owners and Operators most often advance into Construction Project Manager and Operations Manager positions even though the median salaries are $3K lower and $14K lower, respectively.

Owner / Operator Job Listings

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Popular Skills for Small Business Owner / Operator

Overall, survey participants reported applying a fair number of skills to their work. Most notably, skills in Construction Estimating, Project Management, Sales Management, and Operations Management are correlated to pay that is above average. Those listing Sales as a skill should be prepared for drastically lower pay. Customer Service and Leadership also typically command lower compensation. Most people skilled in Operations Management are similarly competent in Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Strategic Planning. Most people familiar with Leadership also know Strategic Planning and Customer Relationship Management (CRM).

Pay by Experience Level for Small Business Owner / Operator

Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.
Survey participants with less than five years' experience pocket $63K on average, but those with five to 10 years of experience enjoy a much bigger median of $77K. On average, Small Business Owners and Operators make $76K following one to two decades on the job. Big financial gains seem to result from working for more than two decades; veterans in this group report earning $80K on average. The largest share of Small Business Owners and Operators have one to 10 years of experience, followed by those with 10 to 20 years. Workers who have been working for more than 20 years are the least common.

Pay Difference By Location

Los Angeles
up arrow 52%
Chicago
up arrow 28%
Seattle
up arrow 22%
Pittsburgh
up arrow 4%
Atlanta
up arrow 2%
National Average
$73,000
Dallas
up arrow 2%
Tampa
up arrow 5%
Raleigh
up arrow 14%
Charlotte
up arrow 17%
San Antonio
up arrow 18%
Houston
up arrow 21%
Larger circles over a city indicate a job is popular in that location.
With a pay rate for Small Business Owners and Operators that is 52 percent greater than the national average, Los Angeles offers a comfortable salary for those in this profession. Those in search of high salaries should also consider checking out cities like Chicago, Seattle, Pittsburgh, and Atlanta, top-paying markets where Small Business Owners and Operators rake in more than the national norm (+28 percent, +22 percent, +4 percent, and +2 percent). The lowest-paying market is Houston, which sits 21 percent below the national average, proving that location is a significant contributor to overall pay. Not at the bottom but still paying below the median are employers in San Antonio and Charlotte (18 percent lower and 17 percent lower, respectively).

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Experience Affects Small Business Owner / Operator Salaries

National Average
$73,000

Skills That Affect Small Business Owner / Operator Salaries

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied Image
Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5 based on 185 votes.

Gender

Female
33%
female alumni
 
Male
67%
male alumni

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
1%
1-4 years
22%
5-9 years
21%
10-19 years
29%
20 years or more
26%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 30% dental benefits Dental: 17%
vision benefits Vision: 12% employee benefits None: 70%