Advice on employing (or not) my first staff?

Discussion in 'General Business Forum' started by isntworkdull, Jul 11, 2019.

  1. isntworkdull

    isntworkdull UKBF Contributor Full Member

    39 3
    Hi all

    I need help!

    I have my own business, have done for 11 years now - just me, CEO, sales, website designer, purchaser, marketing, order packer and tea boy!

    It is hard bloody work, i have known for some time I need help. I started 11 years ago with £3k my dad gave me when i was unemployed, to now turning over nearly £800k last year and making a living - not a lavish living, just a living.

    I use to work all day, go home at night open laptop and work on website design or adding products or updating products, or making videos about the products... but now i have a 13 month old and she takes up a lot of my spare time - and the rest is spent trying to catch up on sleep!

    So, things are getting left behind - the website isnt as up to date as i would like, lots of products just have generic descriptions - I spend so much time paking the goods i sell i miss lots of phone calls in the office...

    But, i am scared ****less of employing people - i dont know why, maybe because i simply know nothing about it, and i have no idea who i would need to speak to to learn about it.

    My other half "kind of" works in HR (for the NHS) and all the rules she tells me about make me think, forget that!

    The way i see it i would love two other people:

    1) website person, update website etc make product pages, new videos for products etc etc

    2) warehouse person, pack all goods and maybe deal with rma's etc

    (I would probably say #2 is first priority)

    But i would love to do this slowly with as much flexibility as possible, as in a few hours a day at first and increase there time as we grow more... but if i have part time staff then do i need to offer pension schemes ? what other obligations do i have?

    I have had people mention "0 hour contracts" to me, but i thought that was something only the likes of amazon did? can anyone advise what these are...

    Basically any advice on safest most flexible way to look at employing people would be great...

    (My other half even told me if i go to an agency for part time staff - after 13 weeks i need to pay them for holidays... This can not be true right?!)

    any advice welcome

    Posted: Jul 11, 2019 By: isntworkdull Member since: Mar 25, 2010
  2. Opinion87

    Opinion87 UKBF Regular Free Member

    261 48
    Do you not think that people that have worked for you for 13 weeks (or the average of the previous 12 they've worked) deserve paid holiday?

    Do you plan on paying peanuts, too?
    Posted: Jul 11, 2019 By: Opinion87 Member since: Jul 1, 2015
  3. isntworkdull

    isntworkdull UKBF Contributor Full Member

    39 3
    When i was doing agency work years ago, if you had a holiday you didnt get paid... So no, i did not expect to pay agency staff their holidays...

    But even if the laws changed I presumed that came out of the hourly fee i paid to the agency... apparantly not?

    In regards to hourly rate, i have no idea, I have not got anywhere near that subject yet...
    Posted: Jul 11, 2019 By: isntworkdull Member since: Mar 25, 2010

    MY OFFICE IN CHINA UKBF Big Shot Full Member

    4,350 875
    Get an apprentice in to train . . . or . . . start with one person on a trial, after interviews and shortlisting . . . or . . . outsource the services you need.

    Whatever it costs (including holidays, taxes etc), it costs.

    The alternative is that your business will not move forward and you’ll be sacrificing your family life (especially watching your kids grow up) and get bogged down even more in your business.

    You are likely to regret this in the future.

    Think positive!
    Posted: Jul 11, 2019 By: MY OFFICE IN CHINA Member since: Nov 16, 2011
  5. ecommerce84

    ecommerce84 UKBF Regular Free Member

    561 167
    Zero hours contracts aren’t as bad as the press make out and are used all over the place. They are great for when you want flexible staff, but be warned that flexibility works both ways and staff on zero hours contracts can refuse shifts you offer them.

    For holidays, your staff will start accruing holiday the minute they start working for you. I’m not sure how it works for agency staff though.

    You’ll be responsible for paying any PAYE tax the employee is liable for, employee national insurance, employee national insurance and a pension scheme. All of these vary depending on how much the employee earns.

    You’ll need employers insurance, which is a legal requirement.

    You’ll need someone to draw up a contract for you to give to your employees.

    I’ve been an employer for other businesses for years and it’s all fairly straightforward. Treat your staff well and they’ll work hard for you. Even simple things like treats on busy days, a little something for their birthday and gift vouchers as a reward for going the extra mile. Even if they’re doing a minimum wage job a few extra pence hoes a long way.

    The worst part for me as someone who is now employing in my own business has been actually getting setup with HMRC. 3 months after I submitted my application I’m still not actually able to submit any ‘real time information’. It’s been a very frustrating process to say the least.
    Posted: Jul 11, 2019 By: ecommerce84 Member since: Feb 24, 2007
  6. estwig

    estwig UKBF Legend Free Member

    12,265 4,297
    Subcontracting, sub out the simple tasks, like website updates, answering the phone and doing the books. Get someone part time to do the packing. What you can't sub out, try to automate as much as possible, take up tennis and enjoy the sunshine.
    Posted: Jul 11, 2019 By: estwig Member since: Sep 29, 2006
  7. billybob99

    billybob99 UKBF Regular Free Member

    1,182 262
    Posted: Jul 11, 2019 By: billybob99 Member since: Apr 23, 2013
  8. Newchodge

    Newchodge UKBF Big Shot Free Member

    12,638 3,288
    Before you do anything, define what you need. X hours per day packing, every day, or every other day, or whatever. Once you know exctly what you want them to do it becomes easier to establish how to get the work done - outsource, agency, zero hours etc.

    I would not recommend an apprentice at this stage, as they would not be productive for months and you spend more time training them than they do working for you.
    Posted: Jul 11, 2019 By: Newchodge Member since: Nov 8, 2012
  9. Mr D

    Mr D UKBF Legend Free Member

    16,847 1,886
    As an alternative to warehouse person, have you considered using a fulfilment service for some of your stock?

    If employing someone, perhaps offer them more than minimum wage? Possibly a salary of minimum wage increasing to £x after 13 weeks?
    The cost to your business is the wages and other costs of employing them. If they work out, great. If they aren't worth keeping then at some point you would have to let them go. Literally sorry its not working out, grab your stuff I'm escorting you out - pay outstanding holiday pay plus notice period.
    Harder if they have a protected characteristic. hate to say it but may want to avoid someone with one as your first employee.
    Posted: Jul 11, 2019 By: Mr D Member since: Feb 12, 2017
  10. Mark T Jones

    Mark T Jones UKBF Big Shot Full Member

    3,514 1,051
    As per many of the above - first stop, is to look at ways of outsourcing work, and to consider agency staff where necessary.

    Employing people is a 2-way street; you may think that the law favours the employee, employees probably feel the opposite - in any case to get value from staff, they need to feel valued.

    A reasonable rule of thumb is to assume that the cost of employing them is 1.5 their salary.

    Some people see zero=hour contracts as something imposed by unreasonable employers. In reality, there are any good employees out there who will only work on zero-hours. The trade off being is that they have as much say over when they work (or rather don't work) as you do.
    Posted: Jul 12, 2019 By: Mark T Jones Member since: Nov 4, 2015
  11. pentel

    pentel UKBF Regular Free Member

    423 68
    Holiday pay is usually included in the hourly rate you pay to the agency. After 13 weeks agency workers are entitled to the say terms and conditions as an equivalent directly employed person. Assuming the agency worker is only doing pick / pack then they would not be equivalent to the things that you do, so probably no need to be concerned about this.

    Outsourcing as much as possible is the way to go.

    will you still be making a living after including all these additional costs?
    Posted: Jul 12, 2019 By: pentel Member since: Mar 12, 2011
  12. Newchodge

    Newchodge UKBF Big Shot Free Member

    12,638 3,288
    Agency workers (and all workers) are entitled to holiday pay from the moment they start work.
    Posted: Jul 12, 2019 By: Newchodge Member since: Nov 8, 2012

    JEREMY HAWKE UKBF Legend Full Member

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    I would look at outsourcing for the time being

    Your turning over 800K and just making a living
    Unless you increase the profitability of that turn over,double it or make serious other efficiencies and cost cutting your small profit will start to become a loss as that will be going on employment and employment costs
    Don't just look other situations and decide that your going to employ people and treat them that way
    Remember if your employing full time people it is a two way thing You are taking over their life I have always said this will only work in a positive way if there is something in it for the employee
    I don't buy this modern new crap of zero hour contracts and screwing people down to the point that they have to go to a foodbank .
    Im in it to make as much money as possible but I will speak out when we are living in a society where working people are not make a living and their income is supported by tax credits and charity
    Posted: Jul 12, 2019 By: JEREMY HAWKE Member since: Mar 4, 2008
  14. TheoNe

    TheoNe UKBF Regular Full Member

    135 14
    There are many great benefits that agency workers can bring to your business - flexibility stands out. On the other hand, agency staff do cost money & you take on specific responsibilities when you include them in your workforce.

    This guide is a great place to start:

    I hope this helps.
    Posted: Jul 12, 2019 By: TheoNe Member since: Jul 6, 2019

    JEREMY HAWKE UKBF Legend Full Member

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    As far a drivers are concerned I have always found that agency's are expensive
    Posted: Jul 12, 2019 By: JEREMY HAWKE Member since: Mar 4, 2008
  16. Newchodge

    Newchodge UKBF Big Shot Free Member

    12,638 3,288
    Of course they are. You are paying them for:
    Employee's pay
    Employer's NI
    Holiday pay
    Overheads - running payroll, finding staff, finding employers, keeping records, running an office etc

    An agency will always cost more than doing it yourself, but you are paying for a service which may, or may not be worth the cost.
    Posted: Jul 12, 2019 By: Newchodge Member since: Nov 8, 2012

    JEREMY HAWKE UKBF Legend Full Member

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    Not worth the costs Cyndy !
    Convenience is an advantage but I will add to your list van damage and destruction to the vehicle or street furniture that gets hit and all the hassle of dealing with that :confused::confused:
    Posted: Jul 12, 2019 By: JEREMY HAWKE Member since: Mar 4, 2008
  18. Darren_Ssc

    Darren_Ssc UKBF Regular Free Member

    467 96
    If you are employing someone to keep your website updated you'll spend as much time showing them how to do do stuff as you would doing it yourself. Eventually it maybe worth the time invested but maybe not. Been there done that.

    As for the basic stuff like packing, phone answering and such, as has been said, getting someone to lighten load so you can concentrate on other stuff is an obvious solution.

    You need to get your website back on track because the competition are not going to sit around waiting for you to catch up; everything else is secondary.
    Posted: Jul 12, 2019 By: Darren_Ssc Member since: Mar 1, 2019
  19. Mr D

    Mr D UKBF Legend Free Member

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    You can always pay someone a higher wage to avoid them using tax credits and charity.
    Perhaps pay a guy with 4 kids a wage double the single girl living with parents for the same job.
    There are some who claim the employer, who has to pay out the money, is subsidised by tax credits.

    OP, back when I last looked at employing someone part time - worked out they would have had to increase sales by around £600 a day in order to cover their wage. That was my business where the margins were different from yours.
    If someone is not helping your productivity enough then taking them on will cost your business.
    Posted: Jul 12, 2019 By: Mr D Member since: Feb 12, 2017
  20. Mr D

    Mr D UKBF Legend Free Member

    16,847 1,886
    And you pay the agency so they handle problems including recruitment.

    Where my wife works the agency staff are called late afternoon if there is a demand for more and told to come along to start at say 9pm. The client cannot do that to its employees, the agency it contracts with can when demand is found to be higher than expected.
    Cost of using agencies can be worth it for clients.
    Posted: Jul 12, 2019 By: Mr D Member since: Feb 12, 2017