Tips and resources for your business


There comes a time when a small business owner may declare: “I need to hire someone to help me. I can’t do everything by myself.” Here are my top tips for businesses in need of staffing help.

Farm it out.

Many small business owners do their own payroll, accounts payable, accounts receivable, and tax returns. Bite the bullet and hire a professional so that you can spend your time making money and doing what you’re good at. Why did you want to start your own business in the first place? I bet it wasn’t the prospect of doing payroll every two weeks.

Consider alternatives to hiring traditional employees.

Hiring traditional employees involves a lot of paperwork, posting statutory notices of legal rights, paying minimum wage and overtime, tax withholding, unemployment insurance, workers compensation insurance, and exposure to anti-discrimination laws. You may be able to get by with hiring independent contractors. But BEWARE! See my blog on Hiring Independent Contractors. Hiring an independent contractor isn’t as simple as you and the worker agreeing not to withhold taxes and calling him or her a “1099 employee.”

Consider using a temporary agency or professional employer organization (PEO) to test the waters and have the paperwork done for you.

Or, if done properly, you may be able to set up a low-cost internship. See U.S. Department of Labor Fact Sheet #71: Internship Programs Under the Fair Labor Standards Act for guidance.

For the right kind or organization, you may be able to recruit volunteers. Consult U.S. Department of Labor Fact Sheet #14A: Non-Profit Organizations and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Put your kids to work. The experience of earning a dollar rather than having one given to them could be hugely beneficial to your youngins. Plus, it starts building their résumés. Also, there are some nifty tax benefits for hiring your own children. But don’t violate the child labor laws. The child labor laws tell you what kind of work kids of various ages can do, when they can do it, and for how long. We don’t want eight-year-olds disposing of hazardous waste for 12 hours a day when they should be in school, for example. If you’re being paid by the business, you probably have to pay your children to work in the business as well. But that doesn’t mean you have to pay your own kiddos the same rate you would have to pay to get a willing worker on the open market, so long as you pay minimum wage and overtime.

Count the costs.

Don’t staff up without knowing what it’s going to cost you. Once you realize the full costs, you may decide it isn’t worth growing your business after all. You will have to pay: minimum wage, and time-and-one-half overtime when applicable, the employer’s side of FICA, FUTA, Colorado unemployment insurance premiums, and workers compensation premiums. Depending upon the size of your company, you may be required to provide health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. In the near future, and again depending on the size of your company, you may be required to provide paid family and medical leave. You’ll have to pay a little for employees on jury duty too.

Don’t grow too fast.

Although growing your company may be have been an initial goal and make you feel like you’re a success, reconsider whether that is something you really want—at least right now. Growing too fast has been the downfall of many small businesses. The businesses end up running the owners rather than the other way around.

© Copyright 2019, Gene R. Thornton, Attorney-At-Law, all rights reserved.

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