Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
SIC/NAICS Code Tutorial
In this Guide, you will be using business directories. These directories use a system of number codes, in systems called SIC and NAICS, to arrange businesses by type, so the user can find, for example, all the manufacturers of communications equipment.
These numbers are explained in this short video:
Finding SIC or NAICS Codes
Many business directories have a look-up feature or cheat sheet that lets you find a code that will represent the type of business you're looking for. Here are some other places to search by key words to find an appropriate code:
Look Up NAICS Codes
The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS, pronounced Nakes) was developed under the direction and guidance of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) as the standard for use by Federal statistical agencies in classifying business establishments for the collection, tabulation, presentation, and analysis of statistical data describing the U.S. economy. Use of the standard provides uniformity and comparability in the presentation of these statistical data. NAICS is based on a production-oriented concept, meaning that it groups establishments into industries according to similarity in the processes used to produce goods or services. NAICS replaced the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) system in 1997. From NAICS FAQ at https://www.census.gov/eos/
What Kind of Company Is It?
The kind of company may be a factor in whether you find it in a given directory.
- A public company is one that sells stock on the open market
- It is relatively easy to find detailed information about U.S. public companies, because they are required to register with and report to the Securities and Exchange Commission; their stock prices are reported daily
- Small, local companies are usually private
- A large company may be either private or public
- Some large companies are private, e.g., Levi Strauss & Co.
- Private companies are not required to disclose financials and other information
If you do not find a large company in a directory, it may be private; many directories include only public companies. Another possibility is that the company you are looking for is a subsidiary, or smaller branch, of a larger company. A to Z Databases indicates ownership structure in a business description under Corp. Family Tree.