In a recent dance studio management software blog, I suggested that you defer hiring office staff, even as your studio grows.
The primary reason to hold off on hiring is to save on expenses, but you don't need me to tell you that! What I want to do here is firstly to lay out the other reasons why hiring to meet your studio administration needs is definitely a "last resort", and secondly to give you a couple of alternative strategies to tame the "studio management beast".
The Many Costs of Hiring
- Salary: The obvious downside one...
- Benefits: Don't forget to consider the cost of whatever benefits package is normal in your area. Healthcare, vacations, savings plans...
- Payroll: Beyond direct employee salary and benefits costs, there is a whole process of calculating pay, federal and state taxes, FICA deductions, Cutting checks etc... 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, and especially trying to correct things if you mistype a number somewhere.
- H.R. & Personnel: As soon as your first employee wlks in the door, you will start to get questions about procedures, holidays, vacations, expenses etc. etc. Questions that were not relevant when you managed things on your own. You will need to think about them and their legal implications, and document 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.
How to defer that first hire?
So what can you do to defer hiring office help? Here are my two suggestions:
- Step back, and take a real close look! Think carefully about all the studio management tasks that are consuming your time. Are they still strictly necessary? What would actually happen if you just didn't do them? Are there easier ways to achieve the same goal?
- Take a look at studio management software that can help eliminate the time and effort you are may be wasting. 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 dance studio business, and I hope we can help you avoid hiring that office manager, for a while at least...