Pittsburgh Receives a 'D' in Small Business Friendliness

Aug 4, 2014

From clothes stores on East Carson Street on the South Side to the small back-street food vendors of Oakland, Pittsburgh is a hub of small businesses, but according to Thumbtack.com, local government could be a little friendlier to coffee shops, dog groomers and other retailers.

Thumbtack.com gave Pittsburgh a "D" rating for a multitude of reasons.

“The three most important factors we found were ease of licensing, the second thing was the tax code, and the final factor that really influenced overall business friendliness scores were the strength of training and networking programs, and Pittsburgh got an 'F' in this measure, so I think that really hurt the overall score,” said Jon Lieber, chief economist for Thumbtack.com.

Lieber said that other states which have training programs for entrepreneurs typically scored much higher because they guide the business through the different regulations it must meet. The programs also give businesses a chance to network and learn about getting a customer base.  

Thumbtack received 12,000 responses nationally and 92 in the Pittsburgh area to its survey. Lieber said the company cross-checked responses with codes and laws to keep the information accurate.  

“The regulations that are there should be easy to understand, easy to comply with," he said. "And this is what we found our friendliest cities did. They still had rules surrounding hiring, and they had rules surrounding health and safety, and environment and zoning, but the rules are simple, consistently enforced, and easy for folks to understand."

Last year Pittsburgh received a rating of "D+." Changes in tax code, among other laws led to the lower grade. Philadelphia also received a "D."