While there’s much debate over the definition of the American Dream, some would still argue that means fulfilling your entrepreneurial visions. Here at PrimePay, we learned that over 50 percent of our clients had a dream of opening their business and followed through. Talk about inspiration!

Recently, the National Small Business Association (NSBA) released their 2017 Small Business Regulations Survey that touched on some hot buttons for business owners. Read through this summary of the findings and see what sounds familiar to you.

As we all know, you wear so many hats as a small business owner that regulatory compliance is one thing you’d rather not have to spend so much time on. And you’re not alone.

About the survey:

The NSBA is the nation’s first small business advocacy organization. This survey gathered answers from 1,000 small business owners from late November 2016 to January of this year.


The majority of small business owners surveyed have between one and five employees (48%). Multiple industries are represented with the largest being professional (13%), followed by manufacturing (11%), scientific and technical services (11%) and construction (10%). Of all the regions in the U.S., most small business owners who are represented in the survey are located in the south (26%) followed by the Mid-Atlantic (20%).

The facts and figures:

Overall –

While some business owners are able to pinpoint their source of regulation confusion, 12 percent say they don’t even know the source of regulations impacting their business.

Three out of four small businesses report that federal tax code regulations are very or somewhat burdensome. Two in three say the Affordable Care Act regulations are somewhat or very burdensome.

After being asked to rank these areas in terms of the amount of total regulatory burden (including federal, state and local), here’s how the answers stack up.

  1. Tax-related
  2. Health care and health insurance
  3. Payroll and employee compensation
  4. Industry-specific
  5. Finance-related
  6. Environment-related
  7. Retirement/pensions
  8. Workplace safety
  9. Building-related

Time –

Forty-four percent of small businesses report spending 40 hours or more each year dealing with new and existing federal regulations. Nearly one in three spend more than 80 hours each year.

On the local side, about 30 percent spend 40 hours or more each year dealing with these state and local regulations.


Nearly half of small business owners report spending more than $5,000 annually in direct costs and another $5,000 in indirect costs to deal with federal regulations.

At the state and local level, more than half of small business owners say they spend more than $1,000 in direct and another $1,000 in indirect costs.

From the beginning:

It’s no secret that launching a small business from the ground up is an extreme undertaking, yet very rewarding. More than half of small businesses say they started worrying about regulations within the first year of opening. And how about this number: $83,019.23. That’s the average regulatory startup costs. Wow.


A glimmer of good news is that 90 percent of small businesses have not been fined for regulatory noncompliance, however for those who were – the average cost of citations over five years was $30,651.

What are your thoughts? Do these stats compare to your experiences in your small business journey?

You can view the whole survey here.

The great news is when you partner with PrimePay, these regulatory concerns are eased. We help you stay compliant in many areas like payroll, taxes and ACA. Click here to learn more about our solutions.

Also, our in-house subject matter experts constantly provide insight that translate into resources you can use! Check out our latest: Quick Wage and Tax Guide. Download your free copy and get state-by-state and federal wage and tax numbers you need to plan for the rest of the year.