Home improvement contractors have it tough. From understanding the art and science of their profession to navigating the morass of rules that govern modern construction projects, they need to have a keen eye for detail to succeed in their industry. Americans paid pros nearly $130 billion dollars to work on 30 million home improvement projects in 2013, according to the Census Bureau. And for many of those projects a huge stack of rules govern what work can be done when and by whom.

From electrical codes to plumbing inspections to lead removal standards, the many rules that govern home improvement projects explain why contractors in 75 out of 95 cities we looked at have a more negative view of their local government than the overall average in the Thumbtack Small Business Friendliness Survey.

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