I’ve been breaking down the three types of workers that you’ll want to consider for your catering business: interns, contractors, and employees. Now we will tackle the final pieces to the puzzle, employees.
An employee works for YOU. This category may seem constricting if you’re just starting out hiring people, but having employees will bring the most long-term benefit to your business. The beauty in having employees is that you can train them to work to your company protocol. Unlike interns and contractors, employees are encouraged to embody your company culture. Also, that company culture is what will positively impact your client experience.
What exactly am I required to provide for an employee?
The ‘rules’ of employment are dictated at the federal level by the Department of Labor, which has the broadest requirements. State labor offices will sometimes have more strict laws in place to protect workers. California and New York, for example, have some of the strictest requirements. Each state has its rules on overtime, sick pay (required in 7 states), and minimum wage. Health insurance is not required for employers with fewer than 50 employees. Though, it is a nice benefit that some companies can offer regardless of their size.
The IRS defines how taxes are taken from the employees’ paycheck. However, the tax requirement isn’t as large as people think. At the Federal level, the employer is typically responsible for only ~7.5% in taxes. Your state may have other taxes that you’ll be accountable for. New York, has one of the highest rates at ~6%, which is extreme.
You can have an employee who works 5 hours each month or 160++ hours each month. There is no requirement to bring on people full-time until your company is ready to do so. And you can staff people as needed. With catering and events, you need to have this flexibility as you may have multiple events in one weekend and slow seasons with minimal staffing needs.
How do I find good people?
As I shared earlier, with employees, you have an excellent opportunity to build a strong culture which will impact your brand and your client experience. The best place to begin your hiring strategy is to go back to your core philosophy. What are the values and mission statement that define your company?
It’s best to prioritize the core values of your business over the skills. After all, people can be taught almost anything. Of course, you want them to be able to cook if you’ve hired them as a chef. Some basics are undoubtedly non-negotiable. While you can teach most skills, you can’t teach someone how to embody the ideals you have as a business owner: service, responsibility, creativity, teamwork. Your interviewing and hiring process should be focused on determining whether your candidates have those qualities you want them to exemplify as representatives of your company.
Which one is right for you? Employee? Contractor? Or, intern?
It’s best to start with a detailed job description. After doing this, you’ll begin to see whether the job is best suited for an employee, contractor, or intern. If you want greater control over the work done and you want to guide the worker in company processes, you’ll want to look for an employee. If you’re looking for an expert to jump in with little training, you’ll want to hire an independent contractor. And, if the job is entry-level, and you are willing to invest the time educating them, then set up an internship. You'll likely need each one of these three types of workers at any given time in the evolution of your growing business.