In a blog last week about music studio management software, I alluded to the need to defer hiring admin. staff as your studio grows.
Obviously, the primary reason to hold off on hiring is to save the expenses, but you don't need me to tell you that! What I wanted to do here was firstly to make sure you understand the other reasons why hiring to meet your studio administration needs is a "last resort", and secondly to give you a couple of alternative strategies to tame the studio management beast.
The Cost of Hiring
- Salary: The obvious downside of hiring...
- Benefits: Don't forget to consider the cost of whatever benefits package is expected in your area. Healthcare, vacations, savings plans...
- Payroll: Beyond the actual employee salary and benefits cost, there is a whole process of calculating pay, federal and state taxes, FICA deductions etc. Cutting checks... This is not trivial, and you will probably want to pay for a payroll service to handle the details (more cost).
- Reporting: Federal and State reporting has many levels and is generally done on a monthly, quarterly and annual basis. A payroll service will take most of this off your hands, but many forms will still need your input, signature and submission, so don't underestimate the amount of time you need for this mind numbing task.
- Personnel: As soon as you have your first employee, you will start to get questions about procedures, holidays, vacations, expenses etc. etc. that were not relevant when you managed things on your own. You will need to think about the legal implications, and documenting your conclusions in an employee handbook.
- Security: You have to implicitly trust anyone who has access to your customer lists or financial data. Having a teacher help out with studio administration tasks may seem like a good solution, but you must be aware of the risks, should they decide to leave and start their own business.
Deferring that first hire
So what can you do to defer hiring that office help? Here are my two suggestions:
- Step back, and take a close look! Think carefully about all the studio management tasks that are consuming your time. Are they still really necessary? What would really happen if you just didn't do them? Are there simpler ways to achieve the same goal?
- Take a close look at studio management software that can help eliminate the time and effort you are spending. When you answer the phone, are you focused on answering valuable student/class questions, and selling your classes, or are you just writing down family contact information and class selections for later input in a roster? The latter can be handled without your involvement with an integrated set of website, online registration and studio management features.
Good luck growing your music studio business, and I hope we can help you avoid hiring that office manager, for a while at least...