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A small business blog featuring tips to help entrepreneurs succeed in the small business world. Topics include family business, human resources, marketing, money, networking, operations, ownership, startup, taxes and technology.
Determining Your Employee’s Salary

If you are hiring an employee for the first time, one of the most difficult tasks ahead of you is figuring out how much to pay him/her. The salary you offer must be fair and competitive, without paying too much for the job at hand.

SET BOUNDARIES
The first step to determining how much you will pay your new employee is to determine the ceiling and floor. The ceiling is the maximum amount you are willing the pay, and the floor is the least amount you should pay.

Decide how much the job is worth to you by asking yourself how much value someone in the available position will bring to your company. Also do some number crunching and determine how much you can afford to pay while still making a profit. For a salesperson, the pay is based on revenue and easy to determine. For administrative staff, you need to ask yourself what the cost would be to your company if there was no one filling the position.

Market rates are the source for determining the minimum you should pay. Candidates expectations are based upon the market, so you need to be aware of what the competition offers. You will first need to have a job description handy. Basing the market on title alone leaves lots of room for negotiation. For example, a marketing director can earn anywhere from $50,000 to $500,000 a year. Break the job down and be specific about the responsibilities it entails.

There are a number of sources available to determine the market value of the job you are offering. Call your local chamber of commerce and ask about similar jobs in the area. Read the local classifieds to see what others seeking employees are offering.

Search Google for “salary surveys” to compare business and trade magazine surveys of jobs nationwide. Or, you can also use websites such as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and/or Salary.com to determine past and current salaries locally.

TYPES OF PAY
There are several ways to pay an employee. Explore all the options based upon the job you are offerings before determining what works best for you. The following are types of pay to offer an employee.

1. Hourly
Hourly pay is typically associated with work product that is a direct result of the time put in, such as assembly line employees. You must meet the minimum wage requirements, which is $5.15 federal, but some state minimum are higher. This is also solely based on eight hour work days for a total of 40 hours a week. Hourly employees typically get time and a half for overtime and working on holidays.

2. Salary
Salaries are a fixed payment amount, usually determined by an annual salary that is divided into 52 weeks a year. Salary is usually associated with administrative positions, such as clerical or managerial jobs. Salaried employees are paid the same each pay period, regardless of sick days or vacation time (as long as it is within the parameters set by the company policy).

3. Commission
Commission pay is most often used in sales positions — a job that contributes directly to revenue. Most salespeople are paid a low base salary and then receive a percentage of the sales they bring into the company. This opens the opportunity for effective salespeople to make six and seven figures a year, which also means they are making 10-20 times that for your business.

4. Bonuses and Benefits
Keep in mind that most every applicant is going to expect some sort of incentive outside of legitimate pay. Consider offering bonuses occasionally as reward for a job well done. You should also look into benefits for your employees. Your first thought is, of course, health insurance and company stocks. But also consider the less obvious benefits such as a set amount of vacation time, paying for the employee to further their education, and even casual dress requirements. All of these make a job much more motivating.

PLAN AHEAD
When determining what the starting pay for your new employee will be, remember to leave room to grow. Everyone expects to and strives for earning a raise. Inflation, when the buying power of your employee’s salary drops while the amount is stagnant, occurs on a yearly basis. Salaries need to adjust to accommodate.

Also, consider the fact that, when and employee first starts he won’t know the ropes very well and will make mistakes, but, as time progresses, he will learn more and become more efficient, thus becoming worth more to your company. He will deserve a reflection of such growth in his paycheck.

Sources:
• Entrepreneur.com: How to Set Salaries
• Microsoft.com: 5 Steps to Determine an Employee’s Salary
• Bliss & Associates, Inc.: Deciding How Much to Pay Employees
• ItsSimple.biz: What Other Employers Are Paying


Related Small Business Buzz Posts:
Independent Contractors
How and When You Should Pay Yourself
Stronger Business Through Honest Communication
New EEOC Guidelines Expand Employee Protection
Finding the Right Price for Your Product or Service

By Michelle Cramer
Thursday, June 2nd, 2016 @ 12:00 AM CDT

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