What Is the Private Sector? Definition and Business Examples

example of private sector

Companies and organizations run by the state are considered to be the public sector. In free-market, capitalist-based societies, the private sector tends to make up a considerably larger portion of the economy than the public sector. When your income taxes are automatically withheld from your paycheck, those taxes are collected by the Department of Revenue in both your state and at the federal government level. The agency that collects the fee and issues the license is run by your county government.

example of private sector

Government-run companies and corporations are part of what is known as the public sector, while charities and other nonprofit organizations are part of the voluntary sector. The term private sector refers to the segment of the economy that is not directly controlled or operated by government-run agencies and organizations. Those government-run agencies and organizations make up the public sector. Other terms that are used to refer to the private sector include the citizen sector or the free market.


A partnership has two or more owners, both responsible jointly and separately for all assets and liabilities. A corporation is a chartered legal entity with shareholders who are liable only for what they have invested in the firm. In 1993 proprietorships accounted for only six percent of total sales, although they accounted for 75 percent of the total firms. Corporations accounted for 19 percent of total firms but 90 percent of total sales.

The owners typically earn income from the business, and they may also pass part of the profits on to shareholders and investors. The private sector is the part of the economy owned and controlled by individuals and businesses rather than the government. Unlike the public sector, which is funded primarily through tax dollars, the private sector generates revenue from selling goods and services.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is an example of a private nonprofit. There are countless private sector employers worldwide, but there are a few that are universally known. Retirement investments can be a significant disadvantage of working in the private sector. Number of small businesses in the United States as of October 2020 according to the U.S.

  1. In free-market, capitalist-based societies, the private sector tends to make up a considerably larger portion of the economy than the public sector.
  2. By contrast, Lisa is someone who spends most of her days interacting with the public sector.
  3. But, when a company in the private sector operates irresponsibly, the people who patronize that company can, in most cases, take their business elsewhere.
  4. They include sole proprietorships, partnerships, and privately owned corporations.
  5. Giant corporations such as Walmart, McDonald’s, and Apple are all examples of publicly owned, private-sector businesses.
  6. The public sector describes government-owned entities such as the USPS and public schools.

Partnerships are similar to sole proprietors but have multiple owners that divide the responsibilities and profits amongst themselves according to an arrangement among the partners. These terms pose a disadvantage to larger companies, which may be sued often and take on substantial loans and obligations as a normal part of daily business operations. For these reasons, larger companies usually decide to organize differently in order to protect the owners. Each employer can set its own employment rules, as long as they abide by federal and state employment laws, like OSHA, wage and hour laws, and equal pay and benefits laws. NGOs (non-government organizations), a type of nonprofit, are voluntary groups or institutions with a social mission that doesn’t have a connection to a government.

For example, an individual or group of individuals might own a sole proprietorship or LLC, while shareholders own corporations. Governmental agencies aren’t owned by individuals; they are “owned” by and operate on behalf of the public. As private-sector businesses are owned and managed by private individuals or enterprises, businesses within this category focus on entrepreneurial activities, taking risks to create jobs and generate a profit. A Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report found that between 2011 and 2015, federal workers with lower levels of education earned more than private-industry workers in similar positions. However, federal workers with a doctoral or professional degree earned 34% less than their public-sector counterparts. Traditionally, working in the public sector has been viewed as more stable than private-sector employment.

Elements of the Private Sector

The public sector can also be misunderstood as always fair or good because it provides services for everyone. The truth is that both the private and public sectors are subject to the same possible pitfalls. By contrast, Lisa is someone who spends most of her days interacting with the public sector. Her job consists of serving people who call, email, or stop in to get certified copies of birth certificates and death certificates. Her salary is paid by the county government, from money that is collected from taxpayers and from people paying fees for specific services that her office and other county agencies perform. There are many types of companies or entities that constitute the private sector.

The most common organizational structures are sole proprietors, partnerships, limited liability companies, and corporations. A term often heard in conjunction posting to the general ledger with the private sector is the public sector. The public sector are organizations owned and services controlled by the government, federal, state, or local.

example of private sector

Sole proprietors are mostly small businesses and are the easiest way to organize a company in the U.S. These companies are owned by one individual and have a financial structure that essentially makes the owner and the company itself the same person for legal purposes. Some structures used by these businesses include corporations, cooperatives, trusts, partnerships, and sole proprietorships. Even though the private sector is not directly controlled by any government entity, the government does legally regulate it. Any business or corporate entity must operate under the laws of the country it is based in.

How Do the Public Sector and Private Sector Work?

In general, private sector organizations are companies that seek to earn a profit. A sole proprietorship is owned by a single person who pays personal income tax on the business. A Limited Liability Company https://www.online-accounting.net/what-are-bonds-payable/ is a state authorized business, and a corporation is a large company with assets over 10 million dollars. There are also small and medium-sized firms that operate under different business types.

Common public-sector jobs include police, firefighters, teachers, and inspectors. The private sector is the part of the economy run by individuals and companies for profit and is not state-controlled. Therefore, it encompasses all for-profit businesses not owned or operated by the government.

Private and Public Sector Partnerships

Auto mechanics can also work for private companies and in government roles. In most cases, services extended by the public sector are paid through local, state, and federal taxes. Most private sector organizations require payment immediately upon receipt of services. While individuals and businesses control the private sector, the government controls the public sector and is funded with tax dollars. The public sector includes the military and federal government agencies including the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and Environmental Protection Agency.

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