10 Top Industries for SBA Loans

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These industries show promise for growth and success with SBA loans according to recent 2022 data.

SBA loans were made to help small business owners succeed in competitive economies. These attractive loans come with competitive rates, longer terms, and flexible use of proceeds. Entrepreneurs typically like that they can access long-term ‘patient’ capital that can be used in many ways across so many different industries.

Only a few industries are ineligible for SBA Loans. Eligibility is based on the way the individual business is structured and operated rather than its industry.

However, there are some industries where it’s more popular to finance with SBA loans than others. A few industries show particularly strong outlooks for securing SBA loans based on this year’s lending trends.

Below, we’ve listed out the top 10 industries for SBA loans based on nationwide approved loan volumes for fiscal year Q1 and Q2 numbers from 2022.

Why do Top Industries for SBA Loans Matter?

It’s easier to get funding when there is demonstrated success in your field for SBA loans. Previous loans approved for the industry basically set the precedent for your business to secure funding if you’re in the same industry with similar outlooks.

When the SBA reviews your application, they’ll see if you’re in an industry that they’ve awarded funding before. If you fall into one of the top industries for SBA loans, you’re that much more likely to be approved for small business financing.

An increasing percentage of approved SBA loans in your industry also indicates upcoming growth in your industry. If funding is going to car washes, for example, you can predict that there will be the funding needed to introduce more innovation, ramp up demand, and increase the potential for continued success in your field.

A rising tide lifts all boats. Financing that’s gone to other businesses in your industry can help you secure your own SBA loan to grow with confidence.

The 10 Top Industries for SBA Loans Are…

#10 Offices of Physicians (Except Mental Health Specialists)

$153,889,200 in SBA loans were approved for Offices of Physicians in the first half of 2022.

Doctors’ offices and private practices come in at number 10 for SBA financing across the nation. Doctors can use SBA loans to grow their businesses in many ways. We often see doctors using SBA loans to buy out their practice from a retiring partner, invest in new technology or equipment, enhance patient experience and care, and recruit new employees with more competitive wages.

Physicians may also use SBA 7(a) loans to finance marketing and advertising initiatives to help their private practice compete with larger healthcare networks. The affordable, long-term, patient capital made possible through SBA loan programs could be your practice’s big advantage over big healthcare.

#9 Fitness and Recreational Sports Centers

$156,875,400 in SBA loans were approved for Fitness and Recreational Sports Centers in the first half of 2022.

Recreational sports centers and fitness centers can be good candidates for SBA loans in 2022. Based on SBA loan data from the first half of the 2022 fiscal year, these businesses are in 9th place for small business financing.

Fitness and Recreational Sports Centers may include independent facilities or chain fitness studios. A select list of fitness franchises are eligible for SBA loans. You can search for your fitness franchise on the SBA Franchise Directory to see if you qualify.  

Independent gyms, boutique fitness studios, and sports clubs can utilize SBA 7(a) loans and SBA Small Loans (less than $350,000) to help finance buying gym equipment and renovating a property to be usable for their business. Need to turn that extra room into a yoga studio? Or maybe you want to replace your punching bags, or hire new instructors? SBA loans can help.

#8 Offices of Dentists

$169,283,500 in SBA loans were approved for Offices of Dentists in the first half of 2022.

Dentists can use SBA loans to buy out their dental practice from partner or invest in the growth of the dental practice.

SBA loans for dental practices can be used to hire and train staff, install additional chairs, update equipment, renovate office space and waiting rooms, finance the merger of two practices, partner buyouts, market a practice to increase new patient intake, and access working capital.

As an SBA specialized lender, we have worked with many dental practices to finance their growth and increase their capacity to accept new patients. Learn more about securing an SBA loan for your dental practice with our specialized team at West Town Bank & Trust.

#7 Specialty Trade Contractors

$172,222,400 in SBA loans were approved for Specialty Trade Contractors in the first half of 2022.

This category encompasses many different business types. Usually, these specialty trade contractors work with general contractors. Plumbers, electricians, site preparation, concrete pourers, and other contractors are all included in this industry for the purposes of securing SBA loans.

Specialty Contractors can leverage the SBA loan programs’ flexible use of proceeds to ramp up their business during busy seasons. Contractors often need more expensive equipment than most businesses to even get started. Heavy equipment and machinery also come with maintenance and repair costs, and costs associated with proper storage and upkeep. SBA loans can be used to finance such purchases and ongoing costs.

Additionally, trade contractors can use SBA financing to access working capital to help their business stay steady in the off-season. It’s a versatile loan that makes it appealing to specialty trade contractors, who have leveraged it successfully enough to break the industry into the top 10.

#6 Car Washes

$177,756,500 in SBA loans were approved for Car Washes in the first half of 2022.

Car washes are on the up and up for SBA loans. Last year, the industry was estimated to be worth $14.7 billion. In the first half of this year alone, over $177 million was approved in SBA financing for car washes, making them the 6th top industry for SBA loans.

As a dedicated SBA lender in the car wash space, it comes as no surprise that this industry is excelling in getting approved for small business loans. SBA loans are good for car washes because they can be used to acquire a car wash, renovate a car wash, modernize a car wash, and much more.

Additionally, there’s a list of approved car wash franchises that are approved for car wash financing with SBA loans. Read more about using SBA loans for car washes and access the list of car wash franchises eligible for SBA loans on our blog.

#5 Gas Stations with Convenience Stores

$211,612,800 in SBA loans were approved for Gas Stations with Convenience Stores in the first half of 2022.

Gas Stations with Convenience stores kick off the top five industries for SBA loans, with more than $200 MILLION in approved financing during the first half of the 2022 fiscal year.

Today’s gas station owners are faced with the immense challenge of turning a profit even as oil and gas prices fluctuate. When the cost of oil rises, access to affordable working capital becomes even more important for gas station owners who need to grow their businesses despite economic conditions.

SBA loans could help gas station owners access financing with reasonable terms. The funds can be used to buy a gas station, open a new location, purchase inventory, hire new employees, fix broken pumps, install new pumps, and purchase advertising slots.

Additionally, working capital can help gas station owners maintain their books even when the costs of goods fluctuate.

#4 Child Day Care Services

$225,305,100 in SBA loans were approved for Child Day Care Services in the first half of 2022.

Access to childcare and day care is a top priority for working parents across the country. The increased popularity of fully remote and hybrid work schedules continues to keep demand high for childcare services. But day care centers face challenges of their own.

Staffing and capacity are two major concerns for childcare centers already in operation. Without the proper resources to safely serve more families, daycare centers are taxed to the limits and forced to turn away business.

SBA loans can help existing childcare centers increase their capacity to meet existing and future demand. Financing for daycare centers through the SBA is also eligible to be used to buy a day care or childcare center.

The high volume of approved SBA loans for child daycare centers this year is promising for both families and the businesses who serve them.

#3 Limited-Service Restaurants

$341,848,600 in SBA loans were approved for Limited-Service Restaurants in the first half of 2022.

Limited-Service Restaurants include businesses that serve food either in a limited capacity or at limited times. Oftentimes these restaurants are ones where customers pay before they eat, as opposed to getting the check after.

Limited-service restaurants include grab-and-go dining, fast food franchises, and breakfast-lunch locations that do not seat customers for a dining experience with a full wait staff.

This industry is a heavy hitter for SBA financing.

Entrepreneurs who are considering buying a limited-service restaurant could use SBA loans to purchase real estate to build a new restaurant. You could also buy an existing restaurant, buy out a partner, hire more employees for your restaurant, market a restaurant’s opening or renovate a restaurant to fit your concept. Financing a fast casual or franchised restaurant with SBA loans opens up a full range of possibilities.

#2 Full-Service Restaurants

$459,365,200 in SBA loans were approved for Full-Service Restaurants in the first half of 2022.

Just ahead of Limited-Service Restaurants on the list of top industries for SBA loans is Full-Service Restaurants.

A restaurant is typically recognized as ‘full service’ if dining is primarily done on-site. Think, sit down dinner as opposed to mainly drive-through or take-out business.

Like limited-service restaurants, full-service restaurant SBA loans could be used on both independent restaurants and select franchises. Full-service restaurant owners can use SBA loans in many of the same ways, including buying a restaurant, renovating a property, investing in new kitchen appliances, hiring more staff, and accessing working capital.

#1 Hotels and Motels (Except Casinos)

$880,668,800 in SBA loans were approved for Hotels and Motels (Except Casinos) in the first half of 2022.

Hotels and Motels top the list for 2022 top industries for SBA loans. Businesses in this industry were approved for more financing than any other industry in the US in the first half of the year.

Rising hotel room prices and continued demand for lodging in the last couple of years could make buying a hotel a good investment.

Many of the expenses that come with opening or buying a hotel can be financed with SBA loans. The list of eligible uses includes buying a hotel property, developing on-site amenities, staffing a hotel, and promoting your hotel through public relations and advertising.

Hotel owners can use their SBA loans in a number of ways, from buying a franchised motel property to opening a boutique hotel in the heart of an up-and-coming city. Just make sure you explain your plans with a lender, so they can help structure the right financing package for you.

If you’re looking to start or grow your business in any of these industries, 2022 might be a good year to secure affordable financing through SBA loan programs. Got questions about your small business financing options, or want to begin your SBA loan application?

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