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The 20 Most Profitable Small Businesses

If you are trying to decide who to target for small business lending, here is your top-twenty list based on data from Sageworks, a Raleigh, N.C.-based accounting consultancy and
private-company data provider.

By average pretax margin, 2003 – 2010

1. Offices of Certified Public Accountants 16.5%

2. Offices of Chiropractors: 15.3%

3. Freestanding Ambulatory Surgical and Emergency Centers: 15%

4. Other Accounting Services: 14.9%

5. Offices of Dentists: 14.7%

6. Tax Preparation Services: 14.7%

7. Offices of Orthodontists: 14.4%

8. Offices of Lawyers: 13.4%

9. Sales Financing: 13.3%

10. Portfolio Management: 12.2%

11. Drilling Oil And Gas Wells: 12%

12. Offices of Optometrists: 11.5%

13. Lessors of Nonresidential Buildings (except
: 11.3%

14. Offices of Real Estate Appraisers: 11%

15. Lessors of Miniwarehouses and Self-Storage Units:

16. Insurance Agencies and Brokerages: 11%

17. Other Activities Related To Credit Intermediation:

18. Investment Advice: 10.7%

19. Offices of Physical, Occupational and
Speech Therapists, and Audiologists:

20. Offices of Physicians (except Mental Health Specialists): 10.4%

For more details, read the article.

About the Author
Linda Keith CPA is an expert in credit risk readiness and credit analysis. She trains banks and credit unions throughout the United States, both in-house and in open-enrollment sessions, on Tax Return and Financial Statement Analysis. She is in the trenches with lenders, analysts and underwriters helping them say "yes" to good loans. Creator of the Tax Return Analysis Virtual Classroom at, she speaks at banking associations on risk management, lending and director finance topics.