“Howdy partner!” apparently works. Fort Worth is No. 2, just behind Austin for small business friendliness. Texas cities did well in the survey, with Houston ranking No. 4 and Oklahoma City, which is almost Texas, was No. 3. As a state, Texas ranked No. 12.
San Francisco-based Thumbtack, the website and app that helps businesses find local professionals projects, on Aug. 6 announced the results of its 2019 Small Business Friendliness Survey, ranking the best or worst cities and states in the country based on factors including licensing requirements, tax regulations, and labor and hiring regulations. This is the largest continuous study of small business perceptions of local government policy in the U.S., according to the company.
The lowest-ranked cities were St. Louis, which earned a D+ in the ratings, San Diego, Philadelphia and Hartford, Conn. And Honolulu. The highest ranked states were Arkansas, Virginia, Mississippi, Georgia and Maine. The lowest-ranked were, Hawaii, Kansas, New York, Connecticut and West Verginia.
Thumbtack surveyed more than 5,000 local small business owners in 49 states and 44 cities to evaluate how well state and local governments support entrepreneurs in starting, operating, and growing a small business. Arkansas, Virginia and Mississippi are among the top states earning an A+ for small business friendliness in 2019. For complete results, please visit our interactive survey visualization: https://www.thumbtack.com/survey.
“Small business owners are active, involved members of their communities and local economies,” said Kellyn Blossom, head of public policy at Thumbtack. “Our survey shows the economic impact of health care, housing, and transportation are top of mind for them. With 96 percent of small business owners planning to vote in the 2020 elections, they could have a big impact on the outcome.”
Key Findings of Small Business Friendliness
In the eighth year of this survey, small business owners revealed several key findings:
• Economic opportunity is not limited to location – Overwhelmingly, 76 percent of small business owners feel there is enough economic opportunity in their community for their business to succeed. Of the nearly quarter of small business owners who feel there is not enough opportunity – 42 percent live in suburban communities, 31 percent live in rural communities, and 26 percent in urban communities.
• Lack of affordable housing and public transit limit opportunity – An increasing share of small business owners say it is becoming harder to establish their business near the clients they serve. More than 30 percent of these small business owners travel between 30 to 60 minutes to perform work with 7 percent traveling more than 60 minutes. Of these long distance commuters, 93 percent drive by themselves and only three percent use public transportation.
• Benefits are too hard to access – Small businesses are struggling to afford rising health insurance costs. Only 79 percent of small business owners currently have health insurance and of those, 58 percent reported their monthly premium increased in the last year, with more than 30 percent of small business owners reporting premium increases of more than $100 per month. Additionally, only 44 percent of survey respondents said they had access to a retirement savings account like a 401K or IRA.
• Small business owners are politically engaged and voting – Small business owners are aware of the impact that government policy can have on their economic success and report higher levels of civic engagement than the average American. Eighty-six percent of small business owners are registered to vote and 96 percent report they plan to vote in the 2020 election. With only 33 percent of the small business owners reporting they approve of the way President Trump is handling economic policy, they could have a big impact in the 2020 elections.
Between May 8, 2019 and July 1, 2019, Thumbtack surveyed more than 5,000 small business owners from across the U.S. operating across hundreds of categories including electricians, music teachers, wedding planners, and wellness professionals. The survey asked these entrepreneurs about the policies of their states and cities toward small business, as well as the overall level of support in their community. For the survey methodology, please visit: https://www.thumbtack.com/survey.