By Greg Hince
June 18, 2012. Thumbtack.com, in partnership with the Kauffman Foundation, released new data last week that showed small businesses rank North Carolina among the least costly states for hiring additional employees, earning an “A-” rating, though the state fared poorly in terms of the friendliness of its tax code.
Unlike other business climate rankings, Thumbtack.com’s survey drew upon considerable data collected from small business owners themselves. The survey aimed to obtain data from an extensive nationwide collection of job creators and entrepreneurs in order to investigate the best places in the country to do business by asking questions about the friendliness of states towards small business and about small business finances.
The survey featured answers collected from wedding photographers, auto mechanics, yoga instructors and other small business owners. Thumbtack.com, which is a site that offers local help for hire, and Kauffman ranked states and cities against one another along 15 metrics.
“After a two-month survey of over 6,000 small business owners nationwide, North Carolina performed solidly in some categories, but struggled in others,” said Sander Daniels, co-founder of Thumbtack.com. “With a few changes – such as improving the licensing requirements and better publicizing training programs – North Carolina could really do a lot to improve its small business friendliness.”
The survey found, among other things, that Metro Charlotte is the state’s stand-out region, receiving #1 rankings in several categories. However, Metro Raleigh ranks as the best region to start a business. The Northern Central region of the state ranked second overall for its support of small business and consistently ranked well for the friendliness of its regulations.
Surprisingly, the survey found that female-owned small businesses in North Carolina felt more comfortable economically than did their male counterparts. Female entrepreneurs were 22 percent more likely to rate their company’s current financial situation as “good” or “very good”.
Also, Liberal small business owners felt more supported by the North Carolina state government than did conservative small business owners. Liberal entrepreneurs were 10 percent more likely than conservative small business owners to rate North Carolina as “supportive” or “very supportive” of small business.
North Carolina ranked poorly across the survey in terms of its training programs and tax code.
The full survey results can be seen at www.thumbtack.com/nc and includes full sets of rankings, searchable quotes from North Carolina small businesses, regional comparisons within states and Census data comparing North Carolina’s key demographics against those of other states.