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What are NAICS codes used for?

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What is a NAICS code?

All North American businesses need a NAICS code to classify their industry. The NAICS code is used by government agencies to collect and analyze statistical data and helps companies identify potential customers and competitors.

Businesses can use the NAICS Code Lookup tool on the Census website to obtain NAICS codes. The NAICS Code Lookup tool provides a list of NAICS codes and their descriptions. Businesses can also find NAICS codes in the NAICS Code List, available for download on the Census website.

The NAICS code is a six-digit code used to identify companies’ business activities in the United States and Mexico. The first two digits of the NAICS code identify the sector, the next two digits identify the subsector, and the last two digits identify the industry group.

What are NAICS codes used for?

Government agencies use NAICS codes to collect and analyze statistical data and help businesses identify potential customers and competitors. NAICS codes are also used by companies to monitor their industry trends and track their performance. Companies can use NAICS code data to benchmark their performance against their competitors and make informed decisions about their marketing and product development strategies. Investment analysts also use NAICS codes to evaluate companies and industries.

NAICS codes are important for businesses because they provide a common language that can communicate business activities across industries. If you’re starting a business or already in business and looking to expand your customer base or enter new markets, it’s essential to understand the NAICS code for your industry.

How are NAICS used for finding business-to-business leads?

NAICS can be used to generate business-to-business (B2B) leads. Businesses can use NAICS codes to identify their potential customers and target them with marketing messages relevant to their needs. By targeting their marketing efforts using NAICS codes, businesses can save time and money by only contacting those companies that are likely to be interested in their products or services.

For example, let’s say you own a business that manufactures car parts. You could use NAICS codes to target your marketing efforts toward businesses in the automotive industry, such as car dealerships or repair shops. This allows you to keep your marketing budget tightly focused on those businesses that are most likely to be interested in your products. It helps you avoid wasting time and money on marketing efforts that are unlikely to generate leads.

NAICS codes can also be used to find business-to-government (B2G) leads. Government agencies use NAICS codes when looking for contractors to provide goods or services. By correctly identifying the NAICS codes relevant to your business, you can ensure that you can find opportunities that match your company’s capabilities.

Does NAICS discriminate against small businesses?

The NAICS system is used to classify businesses of all sizes, from small businesses to large corporations. NAICS codes are used to generate the statistics government agencies use to track the performance of different sectors of the economy and assess the impact of government policies.

There is no differentiation between small or large businesses or charities and for-profit organizations. Regardless of their size or type, all companies are classified using the same NAICS codes if they share the same business interests.

What information does NAICS provide?

NAICS codes are used to collect and report statistical data about the North American economy. The NAICS code is also used by businesses to identify potential customers and competitors. The data collected by NAICS helps companies make informed decisions about where to locate their operations and market their products and services.

What is the NAICS code for my business?

The NAICS code for your business depends on the type of business. NAICS codes are designed to classify organizations according to their primary activities.

You can use the NAICS code lookup tool on the NAICS website to find the NAICS code that best describes your business.

Do I have to register my NAICS code?

No, NAICS codes are not registered. NAICS is a statistical classification system, not a regulatory system.

Businesses do not have to apply for or request a NAICS code. However, some government agencies and other organizations require businesses to provide their NAICS code when applying for grants, contracts, or other programs.

Did NAICS replace SIC?

The Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) system was developed in the 1930s to classify businesses by their type of activity.

NAICS came into being in 1997 and is updated every 5 years, most recently in 2017. They were designed to replace SIC and contain more significant information about business activities. NAICS is a more recent system used to classify businesses by their primary activity. NAICS codes are used by government agencies and companies in the United States and Canada, while SIC codes are used in other countries.

However, many businesses continue to use SIC codes as they are more established and familiar to many people. NAICS codes are not as well known and can be more challenging to find information about. Because of this ongoing overlap, your business must understand both systems.

Do NAICS codes change?

NAICS codes are updated every five years to remain relevant to the changing economy. The most recent NAICS code update was published in 2022. Businesses should ensure that they are using the most up-to-date NAICS codes when classifying their industry.

What if my business doesn’t fit into any NAICS code?

Most businesses will fit into one or more NAICS codes. However, if your company does not fit into any NAICS code, you can use the NAICS Code Lookup tool to find the nearest code that describes your business activities. The Census Bureau assigns custom NAICS codes on a case-by-case basis.

Can a business change its NAICS code?

Yes, a business can change its NAICS code if its primary business activity changes. For example, if a company that previously manufactured bicycles decides to begin manufacturing motorcycles, it would need to change its NAICS code from 3399 (Other Miscellaneous Manufacturing) to 3361 (Motor vehicle Manufacturing).

By ensuring that your business is correctly classified using the most up-to-date NAICS codes, you can ensure that you are accurately represented in government statistical data and can identify your potential customers and competitors.

NAICS may be used for insurance

When applying for business insurance, some insurers may require a NAICS code in order to assess the risk associated with insuring your business accurately. NAICS codes are used to classify companies according to their primary activities, and each NAICS code is associated with a specific risk profile. By correctly identifying your NAICS code, you can ensure that you are getting the right insurance coverage for your business.

Can a business have multiple NAICS?

The US Census Bureau allows only one NAICS code to be assigned to each business. However, companies can have multiple six-digit NAICS codes if they have more than one establishment. An establishment is a single physical location where business is conducted or where services or industrial operations are performed.

For example, a company with two manufacturing plants in different locations would have two establishments and, therefore, two NAICS codes.

In addition, the NAICS system has been adopted by many other organizations for use in other programs for other purposes than statistics, such as procurement or regulatory activities, and these systems often allow more than one NAICS code per establishment.

My business is overseas but trades with America. Do I need NAICS?

Only businesses in the US, Canada, and Mexico can have a NAICS code. If you have foreign and domestic sites, only those within North America will be able to obtain a NAICS code.

What should I do if I cannot find the right NAICS?

If you cannot find the NAICS for your business, it is best to contact the NAICS association or the government agency that uses NAICS for the program in which you are participating.

They will be able to help you determine which NAICS code is the most appropriate for your business.


NAICS codes are an important tool for businesses to target their marketing efforts. By using NAICS codes, companies can save time and money by focusing their efforts on those potential customers that are most likely to be interested in their products or services. NAICS codes are a valuable tool for government agencies, insurers, and business-to-business opportunities.

While you do not have to register your NAICS code, you will need to know yours if you intend to work with federal departments. If you have only recently set up your business and have yet to establish your NAICS code, you can obtain your code by heading over to today.

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