Thumbtack Releases Annual Small Business Friendliness Survey: Ranking All 50 States and 80 Cities

In Largest Study of Its Kind, Local Professionals Rate Wyoming, Delaware, Boise and San Antonio Highest for Small Business Friendliness

SAN FRANCISCO--()--Today Thumbtack, the website and app that finds you local professionals (pros) for any project, announces the results from its 2017 Small Business Friendliness Survey, ranking all 50 states and 80 cities based on factors including licensing requirements, tax regulations, health and safety rules and labor and hiring regulations, among others. It’s the largest continuous study of small business perceptions of local government policy in the U.S.

Thumbtack surveyed more than 13,000 local small business owners in 50 states and 80 cities to evaluate how easy local governments make it to start, operate and grow a small business. Wyoming, Maine and Texas and Boise, Idaho, San Antonio and Grand Rapids, Mich., are among the top states and cities for 2017, respectively, each earning an A+ for small business friendliness. For complete results, please visit our interactive survey visualization:

“The future of work is small business. If you want to control the economic destiny of your community, invest in small business,” said Thumbtack Founder and CEO, Marco Zappacosta. “Small businesses are using technology to start businesses, find customers and to grow their businesses -- and they would like to have the same clarity and ease-of-use when interacting with government.”

“Recent economic research shows almost all net job creation in the past two decades comes from new, small businesses,” said Thumbtack Economist, Lucas Puente, PhD. “So policymakers seeking to bolster their local business climates should focus on empowering this critical slice of the American economy. While the answers vary by community, the themes are consistent: make local rules easier to understand and comply with, put information online and give small businesses the same respect and support that large companies receive.”

Key Drivers

Skilled professionals who found their governments to be friendly for small businesses were most likely to rate them highly on licensing requirements, tax regulations, health and safety rules and labor and hiring rules. These policies have consistently ranked among the top concerns for businesses since the first survey in 2012. Perceptions of licensing friendliness were the biggest drivers for city rankings because local municipalities and counties are often more responsible for licensing, permits and other forms and fees to run a business. Tax regulations were the biggest drivers in evaluations of state governments.

    States   Cities
Top Ten Best-Ranked  

1. Wyoming (A+)

2. Delaware (A+)

3. Idaho (A+)

4. Louisiana (A+)

5. Maine (A+)

6. Texas (A+)

7. Utah (A+)

8. Indiana (A+)

9. New Hampshire (A)

10. South Carolina (A)


1. Boise, ID (A+)

2. Worcester, MA (A+)

3. San Antonio, TX (A+)

4. Austin, TX (A+)

5. Grand Rapids, MI (A+)

6. Memphis, TN (A)

7. Louisville, KY (A)

8. Lawrence, MA (A)

9. Salt Lake City, UT (A)

10. Houston, TX (A-)

Bottom Five Worst-Ranked  

1. Rhode Island (D+)

2. West Virginia (D)

3. Alaska (F)

4. Illinois (F)

5. New Mexico (F)


1. Providence, RI (D)

2. Albuquerque, NM (D)

3. Greensboro, NC (F)

4. Rochester, NY (F)

5. Honolulu, HI (F)


The Thumbtack Pro

There are 250,000 pros working on Thumbtack per quarter, across 1,000 different categories, serving customers in every county in the U.S. Compared with American small businesses overall, the small business professionals who use Thumbtack are more diverse across race and gender, and more likely to own a business at a younger age. They are evenly divided across the political spectrum of Democrats, Republicans and Independents. Additionally, more than four-in-five small business owners who use Thumbtack say they “love what they do,” far more than the national average of workers.

Survey Methodology

Between July 26, 2017 and September 6, 2017, Thumbtack Economist, Lucas Puente, PhD, surveyed 13,284 skilled professionals from across the U.S., 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. For the survey methodology, please visit:

About Thumbtack

Founded in 2009, Thumbtack created an inventory system for local services that can automatically match a customer with a specific need to a qualified local pro for the job. Offering 1,000 different categories, Thumbtack helped customers complete 25 million jobs -- from plumbing, to catering, to personal training and math tutoring -- generating over $1 billion in earnings to pros in 2016. Founded in 2009 and headquartered in San Francisco, Thumbtack is backed by Sequoia Capital, Google Capital, Tiger Global Management, Javelin Investment Partners and Baillie Gifford. For more information, please visit:


Lucas Puente

Release Summary

Thumbtack releases annual Small Business Friendliness Survey ranking all 50 states and 80 cities in the largest study of its kind.


Lucas Puente