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New Study Reveals the Unhappiest Cities for Entrepreneurs to Live for 2024

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Location can play a huge part in the overall success of a business. From foot traffic and talent to commute time and costs, there’s lots to consider when deciding where to set up shop. But where in the UK are the happiest and unhappiest places to live as an entrepreneur?

To find out, Capital on Tap has analysed 30 of the most populated cities across the country, looking at factors such as how happy residents are, the number of hours worked per week, the cost of renting both a co-working space and a retail space, and the average amount of time and money spent commuting in each location. Neel Sapat, head of commercial operations at Capital on Tap, has also provided some tips to help small business owners choose the perfect location for their company. 

Luton is crowned the happiest city in the UK for small business owners, with residents in the city scoring 7.64 out of ten for happiness levels

Taking the crown as the happiest place for business owners in the UK is Luton. The city is home to a resident happiness score of 7.64 out of 10, which is a good indicator of how content business owners and their employees might be in an area. People also tend to spend around 32.8 hours at work each week in the city, perhaps reflective of a good work-life balance.

For those looking to lease retail space, Luton boasts the cheapest price per square metre, at just 98p for the year. Co-working spaces are also relatively affordable, costing around £144 per month.

Preston has come in second. The northern city is home to the highest resident happiness score of all cities analysed, at 7.79. Commuting is also a little cheaper here than in Luton, with a monthly pass costing around £51, though residents do tend to commute for around six hours and 20 minutes each week in the North West. 

In third place is Southend-on-Sea. Those living in the coastal city only tend to work 31.2 hours per week, which is the second lowest amount of any city analysed, and residents have a happiness score of 7.31.

London has been ranked as the least happy place to be a business owner. A monthly travel pass in the city costs £182, and Londoners tend to spend an average of eight hours per week commuting. Co-working spaces in the capital city are also one of the most expensive of all locations analysed, at £331. A square metre of retail space will also cost £22.62 per year – the fourth most expensive out of the cities looked at.

Derby has come in as the second-least happy location. Co-working spaces in the city cost around £376 per month, which is the most expensive of any city analysed. Leasing a retail space in Derby will also cost business owners £15.49 per square metre for the year. However, commute times in the East Midlands are slightly lower than in other areas of the UK, with workers tending to spend around five hours and 20 minutes each week travelling to work.

Neel Sapat, Head of Commercial Operations at Capital on Tap, says, “Choosing the right environment for you and your business is key to your success. But with so many factors to consider, it can be a little overwhelming. With this in mind, we’ve put together some top tips to help small business owners pinpoint the perfect spot.

“No matter what type of business you have, you need to think about how accessible a location might be. Think about what might be best for potential customers, clients, suppliers, and employees, and then work from there. You also need to determine whether being close to competitors might be a help or a hindrance to your business. Is there an established customer base you can tap into, or is the market already too saturated in your chosen location?

“Knowing your budget is also really important. You need to be able to afford rent, bills, and utilities in the area, but you should also think about more hidden costs like travel or renovations. If you do feel like your money is a little tied up in the move, taking out a business credit card can give you greater financial freedom, freeing up cash flow for you to take the company to the next level.

“You should consider yourself in the process too. Whether it’s being close to family or having a short commute, make sure you think about what will contribute to your overall happiness and factor this into your location decision.”

The full research can be found here.

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