Direct Marketing, Mail Order, and E-commerce News from the National Mail Order Association


Businesses With No Paid Employees Increase to 19.5 Million

     The image of a typical “mom and pop” business is getting a makeover, according to new data on these burgeoning enterprises released today by the U.S. Census Bureau. Yesterday’s notion of a family-run corner store is giving way to Internet-based auctions, nail salons and even motorcycle dealerships, according to Nonemployer Statistics: 2004 [PDF].

     The nation added nearly a million businesses with no paid employees between 2003 and 2004 to reach 19.5 million, a growth rate of 4.7 percent over a one-year period. Businesses without a payroll make up more than 70 percent of the nation’s 27 million-plus firms, with annual receipts over $887 billion.

     The report has data on 17 million individual proprietorships and on more than 1.3 million corporations and 1.2 million partnerships. Nonemployer firms may be run by one or more individuals, can range from home-based businesses to corner stores or construction contractors and are often part-time ventures with owners operating more than one business.

     Among the fastest-growing: building finishing contractors (22.5 percent), Internet service providers (18.7 percent), nail salons (14.7 percent), electronic shopping and mail-order houses -- including Internet-based consumer trade (12.7 percent), lessors of real estate (9.7 percent), formal wear and costume rental stores (8 percent) and motorcycle dealers (7.4 percent).

     Florida led the nation in the growth of these small businesses with a 7.6 percent increase between 2003 and 2004. Georgia climbed to second place with a 7.1 percent increase, while Nevada fell from first to third place with a 6.4 percent increase.

     The Census Bureau cautioned that the numbers released today may be understated because the hurricane-impacted areas of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas were granted additional time by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to file 2004 tax returns.

     Other highlights:

  • Utah and Arizona had small business increases of 6.1 percent and 5.8 percent, respectively, to round out the top five states. Despite a slight drop in its rate of self-employed business people, Nevada led the nation in receipts with a gain of 12.9 percent (See Excel Table 1.)
  • Among the nation’s most populous counties, Los Angeles County, Calif., had 777,103 nonemployer businesses, with Cook County, Ill., second at 363,365. They were followed by Miami-Dade County, Fla., at 273,016.
  • In Miami-Dade, Fla., real estate businesses accounted for more than 21 percent of the $10.2 billion total receipts.
  • Other counties with increases in nonemployer business growth included Orange County, Fla. (11.2 percent); Clark County, Nev. (7.9 percent); San Bernardino County, Calif. (7.1 percent); Maricopa County, Ariz. (6.7 percent); Montgomery County, Md., (4.9 percent); and Fairfax County, Va. (4.7 percent). (See Excel Table 2.)

     The detailed Internet tables show the number of establishments in nearly 300 industries and their receipts for the nation, states, counties and metropolitan areas. The data do not cover all self-employed individuals, since many self-employed business owners have paid employees.

Nonemployer statistics data originate chiefly from administrative records of the IRS. The data are subject to nonsampling error such as errors of self-classification as well as errors of response, nonreporting and coverage. Further information about methodology and data limitations is available at <>

Detailed tables


Direct Marketing Discussions at;

Direct Marketing Seminars, Events and Tradeshows at:

More Useful Direct Marketing and Mail Order Links.

Advertising- Bridal Market Advertising Guide

Advertising- Christian Market Advertising Guide

Advertising- Hispanic/Latino Market Advertising Guide

Advertising- Hispanic/Latino Market Advertising Guide- Master Series

Advertising- Home Furnishing and Decor Advertising Guide

Advertising- Home Gardening Advertising Guide

Advertising- Parenting Market Advertising Guide

Advertising-Pet Market Advertising Guide

Advertising- Woman's Market Advertising Guide

Advertising- How to Create Great Small Business Advertising

Advertising- Breakthrough Advertising by Eugene M. Schwartz

Call Centers- Telephone Order Taking Services

Catalogs- Catalog and E-commerce Benchmarks

Catalogs- Directory of Mail Order Catalogs

Catalogs- Directory of Business to Business Catalogs

Catalogs- Top 150 Catalogs in the United States

Classified Advertising- How to Market using Classified Ads

Direct Mail- Copywriters and Creative Services Guide

Direct Mail- Directory of Major Direct Mailers

Direct Mail- Inside Direct Mail Newsletter

Direct Mail- Secrets of Successful Direct Mail by Dick Benson

Direct Marketing- Direct Marketing Seminars and Events

Direct Marketing- Discussion Forum

Direct Marketing- Direct Marketing Statistics

Direct Marketing- Direct Marketing Response Rates

Direct Marketing- Direct Marketing Toolkit

Direct Marketing- Industry Contact Directory

Fulfillment- Warehouse and Order Fulfillment Centers

Mailing Lists- Direct Mail and E-mail Lists

New Products for Direct Marketers to Sell

Product Marketing- Promote your Product to Catalog and Direct Marketing Companies.

Product Marketing- Joe Cossman's Course for Marketing a Product

Product Marketing- How to Market a Product for Under $500

Start a Mail Order Business- Direct Marketing Toolkit

Wholesale and Drop Shipping- Professional Wholesale Resource Guide

Wholesale Search Engine

Direct Marketing Bookstore

National Mail Order Association Home

Direct Marketing Article Archive