According to Payscale, the average small business owner’s salary in the United States is nearly $69,000 (or to be exact, $68,863). The average business owner’s wage isn’t enough to support a lavish lifestyle, but it is feasible to build a thriving, profitable company that can support a family and also produce wealth over time. 

Let’s look at the salary ranges for small company owners, and how they affect overall compensation.

Factors that affect small business salary 

Your revenue as the owner of a small company isn’t black and white. Consider the variables that influence your earnings.


Where your business is situated can affect your revenue, according to the SBA. The cost of living in certain locations is higher than in others.Certain items and services are in higher demand in some places than others. 
The Bureau of Labor Statistics created a handbook called State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, which breaks down wage data by industry, occupation, and state. This tool can be used to compare earnings for various jobs. Because the size of a city affects costs, you may be able to earn more in some places than others.

Size of the company 

The size of a company will affect how much money you’re bringing in.. Your ability to work will improve as your business grows and you recruit more people, resulting in greater earnings. Because the work production will be higher, a company with 500 employees is considerably more likely to earn a bigger revenue than one with only three.


Some sectors and vocations pay more than others. Take a look at the  earnings of other small company owners in your niche to get a better idea of how much they make. Don’t compare your earnings to those of other business owners in different industries. 

Computer and mathematical professionals, for example, have a median wage of $97,540 per year, whereas a flower designer’s median wage is $29,880 per year. Visit the Bureau of Labor Statistics website for more salary data by industry and occupation.

Quality of employees

The key to increasing your revenue is to improve your business management. Your business will become a revenue-generating machine if you have effective management that can remove waste, inspire people, boost efficiency, cut expenses, and offer strategic direction to your staff.

Average small business owner salary in America’s largest cities

Because location can have such a big impact on your salary, it’s important to find out whether your salary is competitive for your area. The most populous cities in these 16 states have some of the highest small business owner salaries—but not always. They may also have a much higher cost of living. Don’t forget to factor this into your analysis.

Here are the largest cities across 16 states, and their average small business owner salaries:

New York City$112,563$9,380$2,164$54.124
Los Angeles$102,903$8,575$1,978$49.47 5
Chicago$104,762$8,730$2,014$47.50 6
Houston$60,887$5,073$1,170$29.27 7
Phoenix$110,047$9,170$2,116$53 8
Philadelphia$111,754$9,312$2,149$53.73 9
San Antonio$87,374$7,281$1,680$42 10
San Diego$101,946$8,495$1,960$49 11
Dallas$100,499$8,374$1,932$48 12
San Jose$123,358$10,279$2,372$59.31 13
Austin$56,440$4,703$1,085$27 14
Jacksonville$49,216$4,101$946$24 15
Fort Worth$51,868$4,322$997$25 16
Columbus$95,403$7,950$1,834$46 17
Indianapolis$108,941$9,078$2,095$52.38 18
Charlotte $62,257$5,188$1,197$30 19

Here are the states with the lowest average small business owner salaries 20:

North Carolina$76,108$6,342$1,463$36.59

How Much Should You Pay Yourself As A Business Owner?

You’ve undoubtedly put in more effort than you’ve ever put in at any other career in your life to get your company off the ground. It’s a never-ending job that goes on 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

Most small business owners consider themselves lucky to have time to put into any pursuits outside of work. You’ve put your heart, soul, sweat, tears, and who knows what else into making your dream come true. It may not be flawless, and you may not have everything together now, but you must at least prepare to be compensated for it.

Businesses differ in terms of kind, legal structure, and other factors that influence the amount of money a business owner pays for services and skills. Aside from these factors, each business has its own set of running costs. 

Choosing a compensation amount requires some effort, beginning with the preparation of a personal budget. You’ll need to figure out how much money you’ll need to survive off of the business.

In Short

When starting a business, deciding how much to pay yourself is both a personal and a practical issue. When starting your business, it’s important to be realistic and not compare yourself to successful entrepreneurs who have been in business for years. 

It can be just as harmful to fail to appraise your circumstances properly. It’s important to balance your personal wants and requirements and your business’s development and profitability. 

Unfortunately there is no one way to calculate the salary of a business owner. At the end of the day, when and how much you get paid is up to you. You’ll need to look at your salary in terms of your overall business goals. What can you afford to pay yourself while also protecting the future of your business?

There is a wide range in business owner’s salaries. When deciding on your own, think about this question: What is in your company’s best long-term interest? While in this mindset, you’ll be able to take home what’s right for both your company and yourself.

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[1]: Payscale: Small Business Owner Salary

[2]: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2021: 15-0000 Computer and Mathematical Occupations (Major Group)

[3]: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2021: 27-1023 Floral Designers

[4]: ZipRecruiter: Small Business Owner Salary in New York

[5]: ZipRecruiter: Small Business Owner Salary in Los Angeles, CA

[6]: PayScale: Average Small Business Owner Salary in Chicago, Illinois

[7]: ZipRecruiter: Small Business Owner Salary in Houston, TX

[8]: ZipRecruiter: Small Business Owner Salary in Phoenix, AZ

[9]: ZipRecruiter: Small Business Owner Salary in Pennsylvania

[10]: ZipRecruiter: Small Business Owner Salary in San Antonio, TX

[11]: ZipRecruiter: Small Business Owner Salary in San Diego, CA

[12]: ZipRecruiter: Small Business Owner Salary in Dallas, TX

[13]: ZipRecruiter: Small Business Owner Salary in California

[14]: ZipRecruiter: Small Business Owner Salary in Austin, TX

[15]: ZipRecruiter: Small Business Owner Salary in Jacksonville, FL

[16]: Owner Salary in Fort Worth, TX

[17]: ZipRecruiter: Small Business Owner Salary in Columbus, OH

[18]: ZipRecruiter: Small Business Owner Salary in Indiana

[19]: PayScale: Average Small Business Owner/Operator Salary in Charlotte, North Carolina

[20] ZipRecruiter: What Is the Average Small Business Owner Salary by State