High Marks

Austin scores stellar marks among nation's best cities for small business

Austin scores stellar marks among the best cities for small business

Austin skyline city buildings
Austin is the fourth best city for small businesses. Kumar Appaiah/Flickr

If you want to start a business, look no further than your own backyard. Small business owners rated Austin one of the best environments from entrepreneurs in a new survey from Thumbtack.

Thumbtack — which connects small businesses with consumers — surveyed almost 18,000 people, including 1,510 in Texas and 221 in Austin. Respondents were asked to rate state and city governments across 12 key metrics. High marks earned Austin an A+ — and a No. 4 spot — on Thumbtack's list, making this the fourth year in a row that the Capital City has garnered such a stellar grade. 

Austin received high grades for the ease with which you can start a business (A+), the availability of training and network programs (A+), as well as the friendliness of the tax code (A-). Austin earned a solid round of B's and B-'s for the remaining factors, which included licensing (B) and environmental regulations (B) as well as rules regarding zoning (B-) and labor (B-).

Although this round of high marks is impressive, it is significantly lower than the grades Austin earned in Thumbtack's 2014 survey. Last year, the lowest score that respondents gave Austin was one A-; every other factor earned either an A or A+.

Fortunately, the dip in grades doesn't mean that the city's reputation is suffering. "Even though business owners say the regulatory situation could improve, Austin has created a supportive environment for small businesses that entrepreneurs rave about," said Thumbtack's Chief Economist Jon Lieber in a press release.

Austin isn't the only Lone Star gem getting props for its dedication to fostering small business. In fact, Texas was ranked the No. 1 state for small businesses, with four other Texas towns claiming high spots on the list. Dallas came in at No. 2, followed by Houston at No. 7, San Antonio at No. 10 and Fort Worth at No. 12.