3.  Richmond, Va.

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Richmond scored an "A+" across the board for ease of launching a startup, hiring and overall friendliness toward small businesses.

"Richmond is a bustling area. There are so many people to network with here," a makeup artist in the city wrote in the Thumbtack survey.

Business owners also appreciated various free resources to help them get started.

However, some respondents said the high rents in newly constructed retail areas were becoming a big challenge for new businesses.

First published August 19, 2015: 1:44 PM ET
Methodology: Thumbtack polled its users in December 2014; 18,000 small businesses in its database of 150,000 active monthly users responded. Entrepreneurs from all 50 states replied, but the ranking excluded 14 states that didn't meet the threshold of receiving at least 50 responses.

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