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If your order book is full, but the enquiries keep coming through, you may be thinking that it’s time to grow and scale your team. However, it can be hard to know exactly when the right time is to hire. You don’t want to get too busy that customer service suffers, and you’re working to the point of burnout. Equally, if you hire too soon, you may worry that there isn’t enough work for them to do or money to afford them. 

To help your trade business grow sustainably, we’re covering the most important questions to ask yourself before adding a new tradesperson to your business. 

Are you a self-employed tradesperson looking for financial advice? Check out our 10 Steps To Secure Future Financial Security As A Self-Employed Tradesperson to help you figure out the best next steps to take for your business.

5 Key Questions To Ask Before Hiring A New Tradesperson To Your Business

How’s business?

The first step is to review your business and what the last six to twelve months have been like. For example, you may feel overwhelmed now, but is this a running trend in the business?

In some cases, it might just be that you are experiencing a busy period and need an extra pair of hands for the short term. If this resonates, you may be looking for a contractor to support you for a set period. If your business has consistently ramped up and doesn’t seem to be slowing down, it may be time for a permanent hire. 

Do you want to grow your business?

Every business owner will have different goals. Some tradespeople will want their business to be a steady stream of income and enjoy the solitude of working alone with the freedom and flexibility that a one-person business can bring. 

Alternatively, other tradespeople may have visions of growing and scaling their business, adding to their team, expanding their reach and serving more customers. 

It is important to think carefully about your business goals. It may feel like growing a team is a logical next step, but if you’d rather stay solo or with a small team, then there is no requirement to add to your team. Instead, it may be that your business needs to work on its systems and pricing in order to manage busy periods. 

Do you feel comfortable delegating?

As As a business owner, team members will report to you, and you will have overall control of the business. However, if you recruit a new team member, you will need to be comfortable in delegating responsibilities. For example, would you feel comfortable letting your hired tradesperson conduct work for your favourite client? 

In many cases, you may be working on sites together, but if you plan to be working individually, do you feel comfortable letting someone else represent your business on your behalf? 

How much support can you provide to a new hire?

If you’re really busy, you may be looking for an experienced professional that can hit the ground running in your business. However, experienced tradespeople are likely to command a higher salary. Alternatively, if you’re in a position where you want to grow your team but are managing your diary, an apprentice or trainee might be more affordable but will require more of your time and support. 

Can you afford to hire another tradesperson?

When considering hiring a team member, you may immediately consider what salary you can afford to pay. This will need to be above the National Minimum Wage. 

Employing a tradesperson in your business will require budgeting for other HR expenses. For example, you’ll need to budget for Employers’ National Insurance contributions, which are 15.05% of earnings over the thresholds depending on the category letter. 

You will also need to contribute to the employee’s pension if your next hire is earning over £10,000 per year and is over 22 years old. You will also need to consider costs for Statutory Sick Pay – this is currently £99.35 per week for up to 28 weeks. 

As well as these costs, there may be secondary costs such as onboarding, equipment expenses, holiday, life assurance policies, employers’ liability insurance, travel and training costs. 

For this, it can be helpful to use a cost to hire calculator. This will consider all of the costs and help you check the affordability of your next hire. 

If you’re not sure whether to employ a new recruit, an apprentice, part-time support, or work with a contractor, it is wise to compare the different costs to make the best decision for your business. 

Do I Need Personal Goals Too?

While it is important to consider the cost of hiring, it is also worthwhile thinking about the cost to your business if you don’t hire. A new recruit could help the business improve its customer service, serve more customers and be more responsive. Another tradesperson on your team can help grow revenue and give you more time to work on your business rather than rushing from job to job. 

Choosing to hire is a big decision. Taking the time to consider the costs and advantages will be vital in making sure your decision is successful. 

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