New York’s Cloudy Business Climate

With an overall grade of “D” in recent survey, the Empire State proves challenging to small business

New Yorkers have a reputation for being unfriendly, and according to the fifth annual 2016 Thumbtack Small Business Friendliness Survey, that stereotype extends to the reality of our business climate.

Thumbtack—a website that seeks to connect customers with providers of various professional services—questioned more than 12,000 U.S. small-business owners (including New York entrepreneurs) to gauge their perception how state and local government policies affected their ability to start, operate, and grow their brand. And unfortunately for Westchester upstarts, New York was assigned a grade of “D” for overall friendliness, while also received poor marks in several specific categories, including ease of starting a business, tax code, licensing, regulations, employment, labor, hiring, and health and safety.

The good news is it’s relatively easy in New York to staff up with qualified employees once you’re off the ground, with NY receiving a “B” in the ease-of-hiring category, as it did when it comes to securing helpful training and networking programs. Another silver lining is (if you can call it that) is having outperformed our chief West Coast rival and at least one of our neighboring states, since both California and Connecticut received overall grades of “F.”

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Here’s what some local entrepreneurs told the survey about running small businesses in Westchester, for better and worse, and feel free to sound off with your feelings in the comments section below:

  • “I need more help finding funding options and real opportunities for business grants.”- Bartender, White Plains
  • “Navigating government websites is a nightmare at most times. Tax rates are very high. You get lost in the shuffle when dealing with the NY government, whether it be for permits, registrations, or answers to questions.”- Home-Theater Specialist, Port Chester
  • “It is difficult to travel for business due to heavy traffic and congested highways.”- Upholstery Specialist, Bronxville
  • “We are required to have three certifications—one for the company, one for the project manager, and one for each worker, thus making it very hard for a small business to succeed and compete in this field.”- Mold-Removal Expert, Yonkers
  • “It is easy to commute, and everyone needs their houses or apartments clean.”- House Cleaner, Yonkers


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