South Carolina Scores an A For Small Business Friendliness, Composite A+ for Regulatory Environment

Texas, New Hampshire, and Utah top rankings in annual Small Business Friendliness Survey; New York and California are among the least friendly states

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — August 18, 2015 — Small business owners gave South Carolina an A for its small business friendliness, according to’s annual Small Business Friendliness Survey. Complete results for South Carolina will be published at on August 18, 2015.

Nearly 18,000 U.S. small business owners responded to the survey, including 259 in South Carolina. The study asked respondents to rate their state and city governments across a broad range of policy factors. then evaluated states and cities against one another along more than a dozen metrics.

“Small business owners on Thumbtack have consistently told us that they welcome support from their governments but are frequently frustrated by unnecessary bureaucratic obstacles,” said Jon Lieber, chief economist of “With strong marks across the board, South Carolina’s regulatory environment is a good fit for business owners.”

“South Carolina is a pro-business state,” commented a moving professional in Greenville. “There is plenty of training and information for starting a business. SCORE is especially helpful.”

Key Findings for South Carolina:
•South Carolina performed better in 2015 than it did in 2014, when it ranked #13 and earned a B+ overall.
•South Carolina earned an A+ for its regulatory environment, which included licensing, tax, and labor rules.
•Columbia, Greenville, and Charleston all earned a B+ score for overall friendliness.
•The only score for which South Carolina did not receive an A was a B for ease of starting a business.
•Neighboring North Carolina earned an overall friendliness score of a B- and ranked #23 nationally.

Licensing was again more important than taxes – When evaluating their cities, small businesses said the ease of compliance with licensing rules mattered far more than tax rates. Tax equity – the actual rate at which business owners pay taxes – mattered far less than any measure of regulatory compliance. For example, labor rules were 88 percent more important in driving state friendliness scores when compared to tax rates.

Effective licensing was just as friendly as no licensing – Small business owners who found licensing compliance to be “very easy” were just as favorable towards their city governments as respondents who weren’t required to be licensed at all. By contrast, licensed professionals in cities with complicated requirements or inconsistent enforcement reported the lowest approval rates.

Training experience was the top factor in both state and city rankings – Offering training on developing a business and navigating the local economic and policy environment was the single biggest factor that influenced perceptions of friendliness. In cities, training was 78 percent more important than the number two factor. On the state level, small businesses who had a positive training experience were 1.5 times more likely to rate their states as being very supportive.

High quality websites matter – Investing in a high quality, easy-to-use website that provides useful information and decreases the costs of regulatory compliance improves overall perceptions of a local or state government. Business owners who said their city had a “great” website ranked their cities 13 percent higher, while there was no difference in the rankings of business owners who were either unaware of or had had a bad experience on city websites.

Best and Worst Climates for Small Business
Top Ten Best-Ranked
  1. Texas
  2. New Hampshire
  3. Utah
  4. Louisiana
  5. Colorado
  6. Idaho
  7. Tennessee
  8. Virginia
  9. Georgia
  10. Kansas
  1. Manchester, NH
  2. Dallas, TX
  3. Richmond, VA
  4. Austin, TX
  5. Knoxville, TN
  6. Nashville, TN
  7. Houston, TX
  8. Fort Collins, CO
  9. Boulder, CO
  10. San Antonio, TX
Bottom Five Worst-Ranked
  1. Rhode Island
  2. Illinois
  3. Connecticut
  4. California
  5. New York
  1. Hartford, CT
  2. Albuquerque, NM
  3. Buffalo, NY
  4. New Haven, CT
  5. Providence, RI
Key Drivers of Business Friendliness
  1. Training Experience
  2. Tax Regulations
  3. Labor Regulations
  1. Training Experience
  2. Licensing Regulations
  3. Website Experience

Survey Methodology surveyed 17,633 small businesses across the United States. The 36-question survey asked about the friendliness of states and cities toward small business, including specific questions about the regulatory environment for labor, tax, and licensing rules. evaluated states and cities against one another along more than a dozen metrics. Respondents to the survey were largely very small service businesses with five or fewer employees. Every state in the country was represented, although only states with more than 50 responses and cities with more than 30 responses were given a grade.

Please contact for information about survey methodology.

About Thumbtack

Thumbtack is a technology-based marketplace that connects millions of Americans to experienced local professionals to help them accomplish personal projects. More than 150,000 small business professionals actively use Thumbtack each quarter, across nearly a thousand categories including house remodeling, event planning, and music lessons. Thumbtack professionals help customers with 5.4 million projects each year. Founded in 2009 and headquartered in San Francisco, Thumbtack has raised a total of $150 million from Sequoia Capital, Tiger Global Management, Javelin Investment Partners, and Google Capital.

Media Contacts

Jon Lieber
Chief Economist

Rachel de Jong
Communications Specialist
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San Francisco, CA 94103

© 2014 Knowledge Park | Rock Hill, South Carolina
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