Before you jump in feet first and hire an employee right away, you need to take a hard look at your numbers. I recently met with a photographer who was considering going full-time with his photo business. After looking at the profit for a typical session and factoring in the cost for material expenses and time, he was making around $8 an hour. Hiring an employee at $10 an hour so you can get more work at $8 an hour just doesn't make sense. Similarly, it wouldn't make sense to hire an employee if you don't have extra paying work to do yourself.
Would Somebody Get The Phone?
The most apparent benefit we saw when we hired an employee was that our voicemails and emails were getting returned in a timelier manner. It was particularly evident during our busy season, as it was pretty embarrassing how long it took us to get back to clients. Before we had an employee to respond to clients, we were occasionally losing business because they got tired of waiting for a response and found another photographer. Not only were we missing out on additional business, we weren't helping our professional reputation by leaving customers waiting.
Cleaning Up Pretty Nice
When you've got 100 things on your to-do list for the day, it's easy for some of the "less important" tasks to fall through the cracks. For me, the less important stuff was presentation of the client deliverable. I know what you're thinking, and yes, I've heard the experts talk about the importance of presentation. It just ended up getting ranked lower than other equally important tasks on my list. After hiring an employee, we saw an immediate improvement in the presentation of pictures we were delivering to customers. Hiring an employee can also result in a cleaner studio. With the reduced stress, we were even able to look more presentable to clients ourselves as less frazzled business owners.
Pursuing More Business
Networking with other business professionals can be a good way to increase business, but it's often hard to find the time to do the face-to-face interaction you need with networking. Bringing on an employee may reduce your workload enough for you to consider adding a few more networking opportunities to your calendar. Depending on how confident you are in your new hire, you may even think about letting your employee do some networking for you.
Don't Abandon Diligence
You've worked hard building your business. Getting an employee to help you out doesn't mean you get to just sit back and relax. Stay on task with growing your business. No employee will ever work harder than a boss, so don't set a bad example. There's still plenty to do.
Hopefully hiring an employee will let you enjoy your job more, make your customers happier and make your business more money. It's certainly not a decision that you should take lightly, but it may help you turn a corner with your business. Make sure to run the numbers with your accountant and consult your lawyer before making a final decision about whether now is a good time for you to hire. Best of luck with growing your business!
TJ McDowell is the owner of the Saint Louis based video production company Gateway Commercial Media.
Photo Website: http://www.LarissaPhotography.com
Wedding Videos: http://www.TJsVideoCafe.com
If you enjoyed this article, be sure to check out TJ's previous guest posts on 5 Reasons You're Not Booking Photography Sessions, and Ways Photographers Are Wasting Money on Marketing.