So, you’ve started a business. Things are going well…too well. You’re swamped with work, and now it’s time to hire someone else to help you pick up the slack. This is a fantastic milestone! But it’s also one of the most important tasks you’ll ever undertake. With so few people in your early team, hiring has a huge impact on your business. Hiring is a big financial and time commitment. So, you don’t want to be one of the 62 percent of small businesses that say they made a bad hiring decision, according to the Small Business, Big Hire Survey conducted by Braun Research on behalf of Monster Worldwide, INC. 

Step #1: Ask yourself - "Do you need an employee?" 

Are you overwhelmed in your business and needing help? First you need to determine what type of help you are needing. Do you need administrative help to assist with your bookings, customer service and social media? Perhaps you need someone to assist with pick-ups on busy nights or during a specific season. Maybe you just need someone who can fill in when you are out of town or on vacation?  

Amy Emmrich, a member of the YCS Advisory Council said, “I have kids with after school activities and can’t always get to a sign pick-up within our contracted pick-up range, so I hired an “Inventory Specialist” to help out.” 


Step #2: Now Ask - "Are you ready to hire someone?" 

Is your business actually in a position to hire someone? You ought to think about these questions: Have you done a cost-benefits analysis for your time? Have you defined the role? You need to be specific about the work you need this employee to do and how much time it’s going to take them, as well as how much you are willing to pay them for their service.  Will they be hourly or paid per job? Will you reimburse them for mileage or pay a flat fee?  

“My team is assigned to either set-up or pick-up yard cards. The pick-up job includes cleaning, straightening of stakes, and putting inventory away. I pay $25 per set-up and $20 per pick-up. This is especially helpful during the busy graduation season or when I need to take the occasional weekend off,” says Wendy Rennell, another member of the YCS Advisory Council.  


Step #3: Get your EIN (Employee Identification Number) 

Before you find the perfect person to work on your team, you need to set up a few legal things first, and the very first one is an Employer Identification Number. This is a number the IRS gives you to identify your business. It’s kind of like a Social Security Number, except you use it on all the forms and documents that relate to paying your employees. You can Apply Online on the IRS website. You need to answer a few questions, mostly about your business structure and whether you’re in charge of the business.  


Step #4: Know your business tax requirements. 

Ok, you’ve got your EIN! Now you need to get ready for all your tax requirements. They’re different in every state, so be sure to seek professional advice in your area for your individual requirements. That being said, most businesses need to be aware of their federal taxes, state taxes, and withholding rules. You can contact your state’s labor department and find out exactly what your requirements are.  


Step #5: Finding the right person. 

Hiring someone isn’t enough-you need to make sure they’re the right person for the job and your business. Disappointment comes from unmet expectations, and there’s no better way to create terrible expectations than by not accurately describing what the job will be and what you need from the role. Also remember: your business is small. Your first hire could play a huge part in your success and growth, so think carefully and take your time.  

“I hired a good friend for pick-ups about a year ago when I was getting swamped with pick-ups and set-ups on the same night. My hiring qualifications were someone reliable and trustworthy with effective transportation,” Cameron Ashley, YCS Advisory Council member.  

It's important to pay close attention to each step of the hiring process to make sure your business is in a position to hire, that you find your ideal candidate, and that you meet all the legal requirements to protect your business.  


Don’t forget to join Yard Card Business Support and Supply Facebook Group, if you haven’t already. You’ll often find additional information, tips, and videos from other carders. Also, don’t forget to check back for the next installment of Business Basics where we will be discussing Taxes. 

A special thank you to the contributions from our YCS Advisory Council Members: 

Amy Emmrich, Yard Sign People   

Wendy Rennell, Montgomery Yard Cards 

Cameron Ashley, Tally Yard Cards 



Elaina Boling is the owner of The Yard Life, a yard card company in Fort Collins, Colorado as well as a Creative Specialist for Yard Card Supply. She is married with 5 children and enjoys an active lifestyle. Elaina is passionate about quality products, mentoring, and growing the yard card industry.


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