Not New News: San Francisco is a Bad Place for a Small BusinessOctober 17, 2019
The counting is over and San Francisco is the number 1 worst place in the United States to start and run a small business. To be fair to the other competitors, we do want to acknowledge the hard work Little Rock Arkansas has done in making it so difficult to get permits that it actually takes longer to open a business there than in San Francisco. Thankfully, running a business in San Francisco is so much harder we overcame that initial deficit. Frankly, this finding does not surprise us.
Pet Camp has been in business for 22 years. Over this time, we have seen the foibles of San Francisco: the ridiculous permitting process, the crazy fees, and taxes, the ever-increasing rules, and regulations imposed on businesses with seemingly little regard from those under the gilded dome of City Hall on the cost or effectiveness of these policies. Added to the hard costs of running a small business in San Francisco are those things you can’t calculate, but I would suggest are also costs imposed by City Hall’s action or lack thereof: the time and money spent cleaning the sidewalk in front of your business of trash and debris; the time spent by employees and customers trying to access your business as they navigate tents and recreational vehicles; and at least in the Bayview Community (where our Main Campground is located) the lack of infrastructure.
Yet we stay because San Francisco is our home. Like so many other small business owners in San Francisco, we (Virginia and Mark) both live and work in San Francisco. Yes, Virginia now spends her days working outside of Pet Camp and some days under the same gilded dome discussed above, but this is our home. We raised our 4 children here (and if you think running a small business in San Francisco is hard, try raising 4 kids here!) and now Mark’s parents live here as well.
It’s also way too easy to spend this blog simply trashing San Francisco, but that’s not fair to San Francisco. We made the decision to open Pet Camp in San Francisco, we made the decision to raise our family in San Francisco, and we’ve made the repeated decisions not to sell Pet Camp to either a local competitor or a national chain. We made these decisions because notwithstanding the many foibles and failings of San Francisco it remains a vibrant community where someone who has some wild ideas (can you say a glass retractable roof for dogs?), a willingness to work hard, and a strong stomach can run a successful small business.
Yes, San Francisco could make it far easier to run a small business and could do way more to support those willing to invest and to create jobs in our community, but for all our griping (and Mark does plenty of that) our goal is to remain a locally owned San Francisco small business for as long as possible. But, that said, if you happen to have the ear of some elected officials or policymakers, we would really appreciate you putting in a kind word on our, and every San Francisco small businesses’, behalf.
Thanks for reading.