DC Small Business Earns High Marks
In a recent survey, DC small businesses rated themselves second in the country for current economic health and also rated ease of regulations with an "A" score.
DC small businesses rated themselves second highest in the country for current economic health, according to a recent study by Thumbtack.com.
The site, which helps locals find professionals such as photographers and tutors, conducted a nationwide survey of 6,000 small businesses to obtain the ratings.
Keith Lipert of Keith Lipert Gallery on M Street has been in business for 16 years and said he is happy with the economy in Georgetown for small business. He said the Business Improvement District is partially responsible for booming business in Georgetown.
"I think we have a lot to be thankful for in DC," he said. "The influence of government and international business make DC a vibrant city with a good economy."
Sisters Kyle and Elizabeth Barber recently opened duo, a boutique selling contemporary fashion and handmade jewelry. They said Georgetown's community was the reason they set up shop in the area.
"My sister and I have always wanted to open a boutique, and we chose Georgetown because of the vibrant community and the energy," Kyle Barber said in an email.
DC also scored high marks in friendliness of local government to small businesses with regulations concerning health and safety, employment, zoning, environmental law and tax code. Training and networking programs in DC were also highlighted.
For ease of starting a business, however, DC received an "F" score.
Kyle Barber said she experienced roadblocks while opening duo and said the process could have been easier. She said little information was available online and the paperwork process was confusing, since forms had to be filed in a specific order.
"I just kept asking questions, calling, going back and forth and speaking to others in similar situations," she said.
Although current economic health was rated as second nationwide, DC scored in the bottom two for optimism about the future.
Sander Daniels, co-founder of Thumbtack.com, said oftentimes researches find an inverse correlation between current economic health and optimism about the future. In DC, the uncertainty may be due to concerns over future federal spending, which the region is dependent on.
"While spending is high now, they may think that it will dry up in the future —which would likely hurt their businesses," Daniels said in an email.
Despite the unknowns, both Kyle Barber and Lipert said they have high aspirations for the next business year.
"In Washington, we're very fortunate," Lipert said. "I think that the city appears to be doing well."