Tag: human resources

Tales from the Small Business Trenches, Part 5: With a Little Help From My Friends

It’s been another one of those weeks where the job of job creation has to give way to actually doing my own job. My daughter suggested seeking out a bookkeeping and payroll company to take me through the process and handle the paperwork. She holds such a position for a large organization, and she does it so indispensably that she was still answering text messages while she was in labor – until her husband turned off her phone.  She worked for me part time when she was in college, and she knows I need help.

A neighbor has provided payroll service for small businesses in the past and still has a few clients. However, last time we chatted, she said it was getting to be such a headache she’s cutting back and focusing on running a new business – without employees. Anyway, paying a consultant to create and manage one job just doesn’t pencil out.

A Facebook friend also provided helpful advice. She is another one of those capable women who run offices. The list of federal withholding forms and new hire reporting requirements didn’t phase her a bit, and she confidently said she could help. I’d already made one mistake about being an employer – the purpose of the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) forms. I said last week in Tales:

“Apparently I may have to serve as a collection agent if I hire someone who is delinquent in child support payments.”

My young friend corrected me:

“It isn’t even delinquent. They can be perfectly current and you still would have to serve as collection agent. I currently process anywhere from 80-100 employees with child support just in WA state . . . you also could have to deal with OTHER state orders coming in.

You also would have to serve as collection agent for the courts if the person has court-ordered Writ of Garnishment. I also process many of these every week. Not nearly as many as child support, but plenty of them.

I hadn’t even thought of those items that you would have to do once someone is hired – mainly because it is second nature to me after almost 9 years of doing payroll/HR.

Don’t forget about the laws relating to preventing sexual harassment in the workplace; discrimination; small employers may not be subject to Equal Opportunity Employment (not sure on this one) but even if not, you still could run into issues if someone thinks you slighted them for the job because of their race/nationality/heritage.”

Clearly creating a job is a tough do-it-yourself project, and networking with family, friends and neighbors for advice will be critical. Meanwhile I have deadlines for paying clients.  Job creating will have to take a back seat until next week.


For previous stories in the series, see the links below:

Part 1:  http://www.nwdailymarker.com/2011/09/tales-from-the-small-business-trenches-in-the-beginning-the-owner-created-jobs/

Part 2:  http://www.nwdailymarker.com/2011/09/tales-from-the-small-business-trenches-part-2-there-is-a-purgatory-for-job-creators/

Part 3:  http://www.nwdailymarker.com/2011/10/tales-from-the-small-business-trenches-part-3-working-conditions/

Part 4:  http://www.nwdailymarker.com/2011/10/tales-from-the-small-business-trenches-part-4-into-the-mountains/


[photo credit: hojusaram]

Tales from the Small Business Trenches Part 3: Working Conditions

There’s a story about the Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) enforcement inspector who comes to a ranch to check on the working conditions. He walks up to the rancher and says, “I need to talk to your staff.”

The rancher replies, “There’s only one fellow who works on the ranch. He’s on duty seven days a week, is up at dawn and out in the field until dusk, gets paid mostly in room and board, doesn’t get any sick leave, and rarely takes a vacation.”

The L&I inspector gets all excited, thinking he’s uncovered a serious case of workplace rights violations, and says, “That’s the one I want to talk to, I must interview that poor exploited worker.”

“You’re talking to him,” replies the rancher.

Last week’s article ended with a well-intentioned pledge to set aside a half day to focus on creating a job for a hired hand. Unfortunately, the four hours set aside for job creation were eaten up by:

  • A software troubleshooting session and upgrade download, taking an entire afternoon and part of an evening.
  • A nasty head cold slowing down productivity.
  • Two goats deciding the grass was greener outside the pen than in, had to be herded back into the buck pen and the fence fixed. Three times.

All unplanned, just the typical challenges of running a no payroll small business. There is no IT Department, there is no sick leave and no back up, and until the Director of Human Resources (i.e. me) can get through this job creation task there is no hired hand to help chase down errant goats and fix fences.

The other day, my neighbor stopped his tractor while I was helping my husband load up animals, first time we’d had an opportunity to talk in months. He said his wife was asking him why he seemed to be in the field all the time, more than when they first started farming 30 years ago. He said he thought about it, and realized they always used to have a hired hand around the place, but he hasn’t been able to do that for awhile. He said nowadays a hired hand takes almost as much time to hire and manage as if you just did the work yourself.

I hope he’s not right. I’ll have a chat with the Director of HR and see if she can get her act together before next week’s article is due, even if it means squeezing a few more hours into the work day.


For previous stories in the series, see the links below:

Week1:  http://www.nwdailymarker.com/2011/09/tales-from-the-small-business-trenches-in-the-beginning-the-owner-created-jobs/

Week 2:  http://www.nwdailymarker.com/2011/09/tales-from-the-small-business-trenches-part-2-there-is-a-purgatory-for-job-creators/


[photo credit: InfoMofo]

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén