What makes a great city for starting a home business – whether it’s a hair salon, a private consulting practice, or a candle store? Some of that depends on the entrepreneur, of course. But we’ve put together some factors that could contribute to success – real-estate price per square foot, livability, energy prices, the cost of home insurance, and median household income, because your customers need to have spending money. Then we found the seven cities that scored best on those factors.
Each of these cities, listed in no particular order, also has a unique vibe that could contribute to the success of your individual business. Check them out and maybe you can find the right fit for you:
Overall great value
The advantage to living and working in the Queen City? Basically everything. North Carolina housing prices are low, as is average home insurance. Another advantage – lots of coffee shops with Wi-Fi. Charlotte also has become a magnet for new college grads – entry level employees are readily available.
- Median home price: $97 per square foot
- Home insurance: $669
- Energy cost: $142/month
- Median household income: $52,916
- Coffee shops per mile: 19/mile in city limits
Bonus: Members of the Charlotte Chamber can save up to 45% off more than 500 items at one office supply store.
This city got the highest scores for livability – a combination of amenities, weather, housing, and income rankings. Boise is home to a lot of startups, so you’ll have company when kicking off your home-based business. Add to that the low cost of home insurance and overall it’s just a great place to be.
- Median home price: $122 per square foot
- Home insurance: $516
- Energy cost: $153/month
- Median household income: $49,182
- Coffee shops per mile: 7/mile in city limits
Bonus: Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce members get discounts on local sports and entertainment events.
Funky southern charm
This city is known for country music, and it could hit perfect pitch for your home business. It has solid marks across the board for weather, amenities, low home prices, and low taxes. Plus, nearby colleges mean lots of doe-eyed new graduates for hire.
- Median home price: $106 per square foot
- Home insurance: $882
- Energy: $139
- Median household income: $44,140
- Coffee shops per mile: 12/mile in city limits
Bonus: Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce members can benefit from lower credit-card processing fees.
There’s a reason southerners love those Carolina blue skies. They really are as beautiful as they say; that could translate into bright, sunny days for your home business. The great weather and plentiful networking opportunities make the Research Triangle a great place to make money from home.
- Median home price: $108.50 per square foot
- Home insurance: $668 on average
- Energy: $166/month
- Median household income: $53,699
- Coffee shops per mile: 9/mile in city limits
Bonus: Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce members save on shipping costs and computer hardware.
West Coast energy
This town is always buzzing with energy and contagious enthusiasm. Why? Home insurance costs are among the nation’s lowest, coffee shops are numerous, and the future looks bright. “Envision Eugene,” a citywide program aimed at improving the city’s small business districts, neighborhoods, and transportation by 2030, makes the city even more welcoming.
- Median home price: $156 per square foot
- Home insurance: $419 on average
- Energy: $146/month
- Median household income: $41,525
- Coffee shops per mile: 20/mile in city limits
Bonus: The Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce estimates that typical members receive benefits valued at more than seven times their membership dues.
Virginia Beach, VA
Can’t beat the beach
Virginia Beach consistently ranks as one of the most small-business friendly cities in the U.S. because of its booming tourism. Virginia Beach home business owners also can live large with the highest median household income on the list. You can’t get better than a built-in customer base, high income, and beach sunsets?
- Median home price: $147 per square foot
- Home insurance: $728 on average
- Energy: $155/month
- Median household income: $65,980
- Coffee shops per mile: 4/mile in city limits
Bonus: The Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce, which covers Virginia
Beach, runs a program that offers savings for products and services including prescription drugs and payroll services.
San Antonio, TX
Everything may be bigger in Texas, but in San Antonio, income taxes are small. San Antonio may have a small-town feel, but the opportunity here is big. CNNMoney ranks this town as extremely small-business friendly. A low housing cost also makes this Texas town convenient for your business and living space.
- Median home price: $83 per square foot
- Home insurance: $1146 on average
- Energy: $132/month
- Median household income: $44,937
- Coffee shops per mile: 6/mile in city limits
Bonus: Members of The Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce have access to a health insurance program with competitive prices.
Ranking Criteria, Sources
HomeownersInsurance.com used a combination of factors including energy costs, weather rankings, and livability scores from AreaVibes.com, median home prices from Zillow.com, average rates for home insurance from homeownersinsurance.com, median household income information from the U.S. Census Bureau, and mentions on best small-business cities rankings from money.CNN.com. We focused on mid-sized cities with populations ranging from 200,000 to 1.4 million.