A company’s greatest asset is undoubtedly its employees. Continuing our A-Z series looking at the various elements which make running a modern garage more efficient, successful and profitable, we look at employees and employment.


You can have the best business brain in Barnsley, Brighton or Birmingham or you can be the most talented mechanic in Manchester, Motherwell or Macclesfield, but if your employees are not motivated, enthusiastic or committed, your business will not deliver.

Employing the right people who will be just as passionate about your business and levels of customer service is fundamental to your on-going success. You will also need to be a pretty damn good boss to ensure you get the most out of the people who work for you. It is, of course, a virtuous circle.

Your employees are a critical element to your success. However, before we even begin to explore the ins and outs of recruiting and retaining a dedicated bunch of people, there’s all the boring stuff to consider: PAYE, tax, national insurance, employment law, health and safety, sickness and holidays. Employees can help your business grow, but you will need to make sure you have crossed every ‘t’ and dotted every ‘i’ when taking on members of staff.

If our short and by no means extensive list of ‘musts’ when employing people has been enough for you to forget your dreams of expansion, don’t give up too easily. Tens of thousands of small businesses employ a handful of people and it can be enough to take the pressure off you as well as take your garage to the next level.

As we’ve established and it’s obvious, you need to comply with a whole host of legislation when employing people. It’s imperative, you make it your business to understand exactly what’s expected of you as an employer from paying the right national insurance to taxing your employees the correct amount as well as holiday pay and maternity and paternity rights, the recent age act, the right to request flexible working and workplace pensions are just a few of the areas in which you may find yourself treading. Whilst it can make employing people a legal minefield, it’s likely your business can’t operate with at least a handful of members of staff such as trained mechanics and a front-of-house receptionist. Meanwhile, the government is keen that people like you take on more staff so they have helpfully produced a ton of information to help you successfully navigate this seemingly precarious course.

The list can seem endless but if you are employing people for the first time, there are six points you need to establish immediately: you must at least pay the minimum wage; you must check a person’s legal right to work in the UK; it is unlikely you will need a DBS check, but just be aware of the legislation; you need employers’ liability insurance; you will need to give your employee a written statement of employment; and inform HM Revenue and Customs of the people you have employed. You can find more information on Gov.uk where a step-by-step process will help you implement all the necessary processes properly.

As well as the government’s guidance, there’s a mass of information to be gleaned simply by undertaking a few internet searches. The B2B online community is well informed and eager to share its insights, best practices and pitfalls so reading up on employment for small businesses is relatively easy. The Federation of Small Businesses is a good place to start and there are plenty of blogs on employment issues from specialist magazines to B2B companies online, short digestible and insightful pieces can be found on LinkedIn, the social business platform. And, if you’re not on there from both a personal perspective and as a way to promote your business, our advice is to sign up, it’s the first port of call for all things business related so is a useful resource as well as a valuable promotional platform.

Now you have successfully negotiated the trials and tribulations of employing people, it’s time to make your workplace happy and harmonious to futureproof your business for on-going success. Whoever said being the boss was easy?!

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