Q:What is the trusted, time-honored advice on hiring office help? I'm spending too much time on office tasks unrelated to my bottom line. Should I outsource it to a neighborhood kid? What's the right age group for prospective employees? I'm a one person marketing, and writing company (for computer co's).
A:Perhaps you could find someone, like myself, who has their own business providing administrative services on an "as-needed basis" to small business owners & professionals. I have the business structure already in place, along with my own office, so businesses do not have to deal with payroll, related taxes and reporting. I work on an hourly, or a per job basis and simply submit an invoice. You will also spend less time supervising than you would the "neighborhood kid." When you say neighborhood kid, I'm assuming high school? There are wonderful things the upcoming generation can do for any office environment. If you are able to hire a kid with working papers go for it. Be aware that there are restrictions that you will need to become familiar with (number of hours allowable, latest time the kid can work, excusability, etc.) Speak to your local high school guidance counselors for help in this area. Most schools have a work/study program to help kids get experience in the marketplace and you may be just the experience they need. I would definitely explore this further. The right age group question is dubious. Do you mean how young? If you do not and are asking for the correct age group for office help - STOP. Age discrimination is something you need to avoid. Qualifications, integrity, and personality traits are a few of the things you want to be considering. There are companies that will do the office work for you on a vendor agreement. You would not have the liability of an employee and would be able to give them work as sporaticly as you wish. Let's face it, sometimes you may want to do it yourself on a slow week to save a couple bucks. Be prepared to experience different pay structures with this service. It is definitely "Buyer Beware". Satisfaction guarantees are the things to be looking for..... You have to realize that hiring an employee is not as simple as posting an ad and waiting for the call. Tax implications are usually the biggest obstacle in the way of proper employment. Those employers that are afraid of taxes usually outsource. The calculation I use to figure actual cost of employment is pay times 2.5. That usually gives a good leeway, either in budgeting or in actuals. Remember to get contracts in writing, writing, writing. But be careful. Even written contracts can be overturned in the courts. There are some shady characters out there (even in your own neighbourhood) that are just looking for some sucker to screw (pardon my french), and they don't stop to check references. They know all the rules and laws, and they will use them to their own advantage. Your best bet would be to outsource to an agency, number one, but if you REALLY have to hire, then do lots and lots of research. Make sure you know more than the person you are hiring.