The 5 Best and Worst Cities for Small Businesses, According to Small-Business Owners

In a new survey that rates 82 cities in 38 states, Colorado Springs is on top, while Sacramento is at the bottom.

National Journal
July 1, 2014, 5 a.m.

Small-busi­ness own­ers in Col­or­ado Springs really like be­ing small-busi­ness own­ers right where they are.

There are a num­ber of sur­veys that use state and fed­er­al data to de­term­ine how good places are for small busi­nesses. But a new sur­vey re­leased Tues­day asks small-busi­ness own­ers what they think of their ho­met­owns.

San Fran­cisco-based con­sumer-ser­vice web­site Thumb­tack con­duc­ted the sur­vey with 12,000 small-busi­ness own­ers and op­er­at­ors in 82 cit­ies from 38 states. Alaska, Arkan­sas, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Mis­sis­sippi, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, West Vir­gin­ia, Wyom­ing, and Ver­mont were not in­cluded be­cause of a lack of sur­vey re­sponse.

Since this is a sur­vey, the res­ults are sub­ject­ive and are not based on fed­er­al or state eco­nom­ic data. This is the per­cep­tion of busi­nesspeople in the area who are mem­bers of Thumb­tack, which shows an im­port­ant as­pect of loc­al busi­ness cul­ture. The rank­ings cov­er the met­ro­pol­it­an area, not just the city prop­er.

Here are three of the sev­er­al dozen ques­tions asked:

  • “In gen­er­al, how would you rate your state’s sup­port of small-busi­ness own­ers?”
  • “Would you dis­cour­age or en­cour­age someone from start­ing a new busi­ness in your state?” and
  • “Do you think you pay your fair share of taxes?”

Col­or­ado Springs, Colo., the highest-ranked city in the sur­vey, has the friend­li­est li­cens­ing rules in the coun­try. Small-busi­ness own­ers from there were also the third hap­pi­est in the coun­try in terms of the tax bur­den. Coupled with eight “A+” grades and three “A” grades, it led to the top rat­ing in the coun­try.

The full map shows that most cit­ies in tra­di­tion­ally red states get bet­ter rank­ings from small-busi­ness own­ers, with ex­cep­tions in Min­neapol­is (ranked 11th) and Wash­ing­ton, D.C. (ranked 18th), among oth­er places. Thumb­tack de­scribes it­self as non­par­tis­an. Here are the cit­ies that are friend­li­est to small busi­nesses, ac­cord­ing to those small-busi­ness own­ers.

Top Cit­ies

1) Col­or­ado Springs, Colo. 2) Boise, Idaho 3) Hou­s­ton, Texas 4) Aus­tin, Texas 5) Louis­ville, Ky.

Round­ing out the top 10 are Dal­las, Texas; Fort Worth, Texas; San Ant­o­nio, Texas; Nashville, Tenn.; and Rich­mond, Va.

Bot­tom Cit­ies

82) Sac­ra­mento, Cal­if. 81) Provid­ence, R.I. 80) Buf­falo, N.Y. 79) Bridge­port, Conn. 78) San Diego, Cal­if.

The next five bot­tom cit­ies are Worcester, Mass.; Oxnard, Cal­if.; Ne­wark, N.J.; Los Angeles, Cal­if.; and Pitt­s­burgh, Penn.

What We're Following See More »
TAKING A LONG VIEW TO SOUTHERN STATES
In Dropout Speech, Santorum Endorses Rubio
1 days ago
THE DETAILS

As expected after earlier reports on Wednesday, Rick Santorum ended his presidential bid. But less expected: he threw his support to Marco Rubio. After noting he spoke with Rubio the day before for an hour, he said, “Someone who has a real understanding of the threat of ISIS, real understanding of the threat of fundamentalist Islam, and has experience, one of the things I wanted was someone who has experience in this area, and that’s why we decided to support Marco Rubio.” It doesn’t figure to help Rubio much in New Hampshire, but the Santorum nod could pay dividends down the road in southern states.

Source:
‘PITTING PEOPLE AGAINST EACH OTHER’
Rubio, Trump Question Obama’s Mosque Visit
1 days ago
WHY WE CARE

President Obama’s decision to visit a mosque in Baltimore today was never going to be completely uncontroversial. And Donald Trump and Marco Rubio proved it. “Maybe he feels comfortable there,” Trump told interviewer Greta van Susteren on Fox News. “There are a lot of places he can go, and he chose a mosque.” And in New Hampshire, Rubio said of Obama, “Always pitting people against each other. Always. Look at today – he gave a speech at a mosque. Oh, you know, basically implying that America is discriminating against Muslims.”

Source:
THE TIME IS NOW, TED
Cruz Must Max Out on Evangelical Support through Early March
1 days ago
WHY WE CARE

For Ted Cruz, a strong showing in New Hampshire would be nice, but not necessary. That’s because evangelical voters only make up 21% of the Granite State’s population. “But from the February 20 South Carolina primary through March 15, there are nine states (South Carolina, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi, and North Carolina) with an estimated white-Evangelical percentage of the GOP electorate over 60 percent, and another four (Texas, Kansas, Louisiana, and Missouri) that come in over 50 percent.” But after that, he better be in the catbird’s seat, because only four smaller states remain with evangelical voter majorities.

Source:
CHRISTIE, BUSH TRYING TO TAKE HIM DOWN
Rubio Now Winning the ‘Endorsement Primary’
1 days ago
WHY WE CARE

Since his strong third-place finish in Iowa, Marco Rubio has won endorsement by two sitting senators and two congressmen, putting him in the lead for the first time of FiveThirtyEight‘s Endorsement Tracker. “Some politicians had put early support behind Jeb Bush — he had led [their] list since August — but since January the only new endorsement he has received was from former presidential candidate Sen. Lindsey Graham.” Meanwhile, the New York Times reports that fueled by resentment, “members of the Bush and Christie campaigns have communicated about their mutual desire to halt … Rubio’s rise in the polls.”

Source:
ARE YOU THE GATEKEEPER?
Sanders: Obama Is a Progressive
1 days ago
THE LATEST

“Do I think President Obama is a progressive? Yeah, I do,” said Bernie Sanders, in response to a direct question in tonight’s debate. “I think they’ve done a great job.” But Hillary Clinton wasn’t content to sit out the latest chapter in the great debate over the definition of progressivism. “In your definition, with you being the gatekeeper of progressivism, I don’t think anyone else fits that definition,” she told Sanders.

×