I've been a one person operation since the past many years and recently in the past 1 year, thanks to Etsy, my business has grown leaps and bounds!
It's to the point where I can't handle orders all alone and I'm refusing several each week because I'm nearly burnt out with all the work!!
I have no idea how to hire help; thinking of getting someone in part time to start off with - I've asked friends and family for referrals because I'm not sure I want to post online for strangers coming to work in my house, but no luck so far.
Would really appreciate any advice on this please!! Thank you!
I started my business from home and eventually built it up enough to move into a shop front, so have been through what you are going through.
You are going to have to get your head around the fact that you will probably have to hire a stranger. There is no guarantee that hiring a family member or friend of a friend is going to work out. For me hiring a stranger has it's advantages in that there are not personal and possibly damaging relationships to consider if things don't work out. I have just recently hired a new staff member. I hired three different people over a period of three weeks, the first two seemed right, but when I had them on the floor working, they weren't and they had to go. The third person turned out to be the right person, but on paper she was the least qualified for the job. By this I mean there is no guarantee that the first person you find is going to be the right person, so be prepared for that.
I don't know what services are available in your area, but in mine we have employment agencies who find employees for you. This does not cost me anything, it is a government funded service, basically the more people who are employed the less the government has to support on unemployment benefits. Is there anything like that where you are? I'm busy and don't have the time or inclination to do background checks on people and am happy to let them cull the wannabes and just send me the people with the skills I need.
It is rather unsettling having somebody spend a large chunk of time in your own home. Are there areas that you can specify as off limits to your staff member and set boundaries on what are work areas? If you have never employed anyone before you need to think like the boss. Be clear about what is ok and what is not in your home.
Is your business legal? Do you have all the relevant local and state government approvals? Have you looked at what insurance is required. In my area we have to by law have Workers Compensation Insurance to insure employees in case they are injured on the job. Have you looked at insurance? Your home owners insurance will probably not cover a staff member.
Have you looked at your pricing and timing? It's one thing for you to work at whatever pace you want to work at, but a staff member has to be financially worth your while. If they are too slow or their quality of work is not consistent this will cost you. Have you worked out your pricing so that all costs associated with hiring someone are covered and there is still profit for you the owner?
I don't know where you're located so check the laws in your area. I'm in Massachusetts and I cannot have an employee in my home based biz unless it's a family member.
@810whitechoc gave you some good advice. Once you start hiring, your insurance requirements will most likely change. You made need unemployment insurance, workers comp, etc.
Thank you so much!! Great info! I will look up employment agencies in the area - I had a few leads but they were all baking enthusiasts; and I don't think I want to train competition?!!
Yeah, I operate out of my kitchen, so that will primarily be the work area - if getting a team together works out, I might be able to setup a separate workspace in my garage.
Yes, I do have the necessary paperwork and licenses/insurance in place :)
I was also reading about potentially hiring culinary school students - is that a good idea?
Culinary school students are always looking for jobs, so that's a good place to start. The one thing I'd advise is to have an accountant set up your payroll system, because my bank did mine and they screwed it up royally. As an employer you have to send in the employee's part of their social security/medicare wages, plus your part, plus another part or something...It's more complicated than they let on because the IRS is involved.
Thanks costumeczar!! Are culinary school students reliable/honest/trustworthy? I am a bit hesitant of hiring strangers coming over to my house to work! Is an online background check reliable enough?
If they work part time, do I still have to do the social security/medicare etc?
Also, is $10/hour a good pay rate to start off with? TIA!!
I think $10 an hour would be good, but it's going to depend on where you are. I'd get references from the chef instructors if it's a culinary student. I only hired my kids so I didn't have to do a background check, haha! You have to pay social security, medicare and unemployment regardless of whether they're part time or full time. Don't let a tricky accountant tell you that you can hire people as contractors instead, because what you're describing is an employee, not a contractor. Sometimes people will tell you to hire them as contractors so that you don't have to pay the taxes but that's a good way to get audited. If you tell them what to do and when to do it, and they come to your home to work they're employees, not contractors.
Anyway...You might also have to register them through the state employment database if there is one, and pay their state taxes too. In Virginia I had to register my kids with the employment commission because they run everyone through the deadbeat parent database. And it's as much of a pain in the butt when you stop having employees, you have to tell everyone you're registered with that you don't have employees anymore by filling out yet more paperwork...
I'd be reluctant to hire strangers too. Definitely go through a culinary school or an employment agency so that they can help you screen people.
What's your Etsy shop?