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Small Business Friendliness Survey Gives San Francisco Worst-Ever Score: an “F”

In Largest Study of Its Kind, Skilled Professionals Rate Texas, Utah and Tennessee Highest for Small Business Friendliness

Those of us in the Bay Area, will me particularly interested in these results:

  • In SF, respondents were 27% more likely to call licensing rules “unfriendly” than “friendly.”
  • 20% of locals called labor, employment, and hiring regulations “unfriendly,” 22% more than the average.
  • Training programs were a bright spot; more SF locals had used and benefited from programs than the national average.

San Francisco Report Card_Thumbtack Small Business Friendliness 2016 (1)

Read Full Report on San Francisco’s Business Friendliness Grade

You can read the full PDF report now at – see p. 13 for SF data.

Read the article below for more details on the overall report and how San Francisco ranks compared to other cities ranked…

A Survey of 12,000 Small Businesses Reveals: To Halt U.S. Entrepreneurship Crisis, Ease Regulations

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — June 15, 2016 — In a period of declining business startups in the United States, the fifth annual Thumbtack Small Business Friendliness Survey offers critical insights about what governments can do to support entrepreneurship and reverse the tide.

Skilled professionals say the most important factor affecting their success and ability to start, grow and sustain a thriving business is regulation that is straightforward and easy to follow – not overly simplistic fixes like lower tax rates.

Conducted since 2012, the Thumbtack Small Business Friendliness Survey is the largest continuous study of small business perceptions of government policy in the United States. In 2016, more than 12,000 U.S. respondents participated in the survey, allowing Thumbtack to create a side-by-side ranking of 35 states and 78 cities. All 2016 survey data are hosted in an interactive visualization at

In honor of the survey’s fifth anniversary, Thumbtack released a special report highlighting the top policy concerns for skilled professionals, with in-depth case studies of five cities from five different regions that performed across the grade spectrum: Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Minneapolis, and San Francisco.

“Skilled professionals on Thumbtack report that when government regulations complicate obtaining licenses and permits, hiring employees, and paying taxes, it is harder to start and grow a business,” said Lucas Puente, economist at Thumbtack. “The highest-rated governments make regulations easy to comply with and enforce them consistently. They also invest in helpful training programs and government websites. These insights provide a roadmap for policy makers to create environments that foster entrepreneurship and innovation-outcomes critical for continued economic growth.”

Who is the Skilled Professional_

Best and Worst Climates for Skilled Professionals  

States Cities
Top Ten


1.     Texas

2.     Utah

3.     Tennessee

4.     Georgia

5.     Colorado

6.     Kansas

7.     Virginia

8.     Arkansas

9.     Oregon

10.  South Carolina

1.     San Antonio, TX

2.     Nashville, TN

3.     Memphis, TN

4.     Fort Worth, TX

5.     Houston, TX

6.     Dallas, TX

7.     Akron, OH

8.     Virginia Beach, VA

9.     Jacksonville, FL

10.  Atlanta, GA

Bottom Five


1.     Connecticut

2.     Illinois

3.     California

4.     New York

5.     Alabama

1.     Syracuse, NY

2.     Oxnard, CA

3.     San Francisco, CA

4.     Bridgeport, CT

5.     Tucson, AZ

Key Drivers of Business Friendliness

Skilled professionals who found their governments to be friendly for small businesses were most likely to rate them highly on licensing requirements, tax regulations, and labor and hiring rules. These policies have consistently ranked among the top concerns for businesses since 2012.

In 2016, the influence of each of these factors in driving grades depended on the level of government. Perceptions of licensing friendliness were more important for city rankings because local municipalities and counties are often more responsible for licensing, permits and other forms and fees to run a business.

Top Policy Concerns for Small Business Owners, Based on Government Level

Rank Local government State government
1  Licensing Requirements  Tax Regulations
2  Tax Regulations  Licensing Requirements
3  Labor Regulations  Labor Regulations

Survey Methodology

Between April 13, 2016 and May 6, 2016 Thumbtack surveyed 12,169 skilled professionals from across the United States, operating across hundreds of categories, including as electricians, music teachers, wedding planners, wellness professionals, and more. 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.

Visit for more information about survey methodology.

About Thumbtack

Thumbtack connects people who need to get things done with the right skilled professionals to help them complete their projects. More than 230,000 professionals in almost 1,100 unique categories—ranging from handymen and housekeepers, to tutors, photographers, wedding planners and more—use Thumbtack to connect with millions of customers, collectively generating more than $1 billion in annual business for these skilled professionals across all 50 states. For more information, visit

Media Contacts
Lucas Puente


About Scott Aughtmon (1872 Articles)
I’m author of the book 51 Content Marketing Hacks. I am also a regular contributor to and I am the person behind the popular infographic 21 Types of Content We Crave. I’m a business strategist, consultant, content creation specialist, and speaker. I’ve been studying effective marketing and business methods (both online and offline) since 1999. ===> If you would like to see ways that we could work together, then please click here to learn more.