If you own and operate a retail business, you might consider hiring seasonal employees to help you get through the shopping rushes in the summer and around the holidays. The good thing about using seasonal help is that you can get the assistance of a full-time employee without having to make the long-term commitment.
However, just any seasonal employee won't do in these situations. You'll need to choose someone who can offer genuine help to your company, rather than just adding an extra body to the payroll. Here are three things to consider before hiring seasonal help.
1. Plan ahead for the season.
Planning ahead for your hiring needs is critical to finding good seasonal workers. If you wait until the last minute to bring on new people, you may find yourself understaffed when you need help the most. Be realistic when evaluating your hiring needs. While you might hope for a record-breaking season, the reality may be that your sales remain the same or even dip a bit from the previous year. Begin by posting the number of openings you actually need and then add more positions if sales increase.
2. Consider applications carefully.
Give yourself plenty of time to find good applicants. If you want to hire workers to help you get through the retail holiday season, post your job openings in late October or early November so that you can collect a good number of applications and have time to sort through them before the season begins.
As you're looking through the applications, be choosy. Select applications that include related experience and qualifications that will be assets to your company. Conduct thorough interviews to ensure that you select applicants whose personalities are a good fit for your business environment.
3. Find out if you qualify for any employer tax breaks.
Depending on whom you hire, you may be eligible to claim a few employer tax breaks to grow your business. For example, the Work Opportunity Tax Credit allows you to claim a tax break if you hire workers who are members of disadvantaged groups. Qualified individuals include ex-felons, individuals who receive food stamp benefits, select military veterans, and summer youth employees.
If you hire workers from these groups, you can take a tax break of 40 percent of the first $3,000 in wages for a maximum credit of $1,200 per employee. Since seasonal work may only last for a month or two, this could be a significant amount of your payroll, saving you a bundle at tax time.
Busy retail seasons can make or break a company. If you're caught unprepared, shoppers may stay away the next year, causing you to close your doors. On the other hand, if you use these tips for hiring seasonal help, your company will be well-equipped to handle the increased demands of seasonal business.
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