Carmel ranked among best cities in Indiana to start a business


By Sam Robinson

Aspiring entrepreneurs could do worse than Carmel when deciding where to start a business, according to a recent economic study.

NerdWallet, an online economy analysis publication, ranked Carmel 19 out of 99 cities and towns in Indiana to start a business. The study took business and community data gathered by the Census Bureau and scored each city.

The study factored average revenue, percentage of paid employees and businesses per 100 people. It also took into account economic health, factoring median annual income, median annual housing costs and the unemployment rate.

Kamran Rosen, an analyst with NerdWallet, said that Carmel ranked well because of a low unemployment rate of 3.6 percent and a high median income of $106,000, which is more than double the median for Indiana.

“Carmel didn’t do well in housing cost, or the percentage of businesses with more than 100 employees,” Rosen said. Median housing costs per month are $1,977 with a mortgage, $550 without a mortgage, and $1,077 in gross monthly rent according to the Census Bureau.

Although Carmel has around 10 businesses per 100 people, only a quarter of those businesses have paid employees.

The average revenue per business was $1.2 million, under the state median of $1.7 million.

Rosen admitted, however, that the study isn’t a hard and fast determination of which cities are better for business. Since the study doesn’t take population into account, it’s difficult to compare a town of 5,000 to a town of 30,000.

“It’s hard to say if a city will do better or worse based on the community,” Rosen said. “It’s hard to say if size is good or bad.”

Rosen said that not all cities and towns would be suitable for all types of businesses. A town near other major population centers would be appropriate for a taxi service, for example. That same business might not flourish in a town of 5,000. Rosen said the study was a general analysis of business climates based on statistics.

“It really just depends on the industry where you’re looking for that sweet spot,” Rosen said.


Lou Sanchez, the owner of Carmel Auto Cleaning, said that he chose to do business in Carmel because he said he’d never experienced such a lack of government intervention.

“It was the easiest starting a business anywhere,” Sanchez said. He said that he’s started businesses in Chicago and Miami, and that he was used to extensive paperwork and fees.

“Carmel has been exactly the opposite,” he said. “The lack of government hoops to jump through makes it amazing.”

Cities neighboring Carmel did not perform as well on the study. Zionsville ranked 34, Fishers ranked 78, Noblesville ranked 80 and Indianapolis ranked 86.

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