Small Business

Is the Miami area business friendly? Survey says C+

El Nuevo Herald

Miami earns average ratings for its business friendliness but gets a poor grade for the ease of starting a small business, according to Thumbtack’s annual Small Business Friendliness Survey.

Nearly 18,000 U.S. small business owners responded to this year’s survey, including 155 in Miami-Dade (119 in Miami) and 1,709 in Florida. The study asked respondents, who are all users of Thumbtack, to rate their state and local governments across a broad range of factors such as taxation, licensing, training and the quality of government websites. Thumbtack 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 Thumbtack, an online marketplace for service professionals. “Miami earned solidly average grades from small-business owners this year, a sign that the city could focus more on easing regulatory burdens and improving the environment.”

Both the Miami and Fort Lauderdale areas rated a C+ in “Business Friendliness,” falling below the statewide grade of B. Both areas improved over last year.

Miami's best scores were an A- for its environmental regulations, as well as B+ grades for both its tax and zoning regulations. Fort Lauderdale ranked Bs for environmental, tax, health and safety.

While Fort Lauderdale ranked a C+ for the ease of starting a business, Miami pulled in a D+, it’s lowest ranking.

The results don’t surprise Christopher Corey, who started a marketing company, Corey Consulting, in Miami-Dade County in 2012. He moved from Mobile, Alabama, where he had a restaurant business, and that city had a hub for information and assistance on regulations, licensing, inspections, taxes and insurance for small businesses, and was a one-stop shop for paying the required fees, he said. “In Miami, I was sent to seven different offices. There is no clear process.”

Yet, Corey lauded the Miami area as a great place for networking and to find support. “There are many organizations and events to get people together, but the back end is such a headache.”

Overall, the top five states for starting a business were Texas, New Hampshire, Utah, Lousiana and Colorado, according to the survey. Rhode Island, Illinois, Connecticut, California and New York ranked at the bottom. The Miami and Fort Lauderdale areas ranked 58 and 59, respectively, of 95 metro areas studied.

Read more about the local survey results at thumbtack.com/fl/miami and thumbtack.com/fl/fort-lauderdale.

This article includes comments from the Public Insight Network, an online community of people who have agreed to share their opinions with the Miami Herald and WLRN. Become a source at MiamiHerald.com/insight.

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