Make a Donation…….Enable a Work-Force!

Employees are an expensive part of any small business.  Even a $10 an hour employee becomes a major expense when you add the payroll taxes, work-mans comp. and all the other added costs to your business.  One top of that, you have to keep average employee focused and with the A.D.D. generation we have of over stimulated younger people who are terrible at redundant tasks.  As small business people we often have marketing or advertising ideas that require a labor force.  Whether it is labeling mailers, hanging door hangers or having a bunch of attractive people handing out your studios advertisements, the cost of paying actual employees can make any of these ideas impossible when you look at the return on investment.

When you have a large amount of work to be done in short period of time and that payroll cost would be too high to make feasible look to groups and charities for a make-shift work-force.  When direct mail and mailers were all the rage, it seemed like we would just get done sending out one set of mailers only to have the next set of mailers come in for labeling.  My staff was business running the business, it was way too expensive to have a marketing service do, so we turned to our schools.  Yearbook, cheerleaders, leadership and other school groups are always having fundraiser and looking for ways to raise money for trips and project they are working on.  We would take a huge stack of mailers and labels over and for a $50 to $75 donation the mailers got labeled.  First of all this is a tax deduction, second there is no payroll tax or matching benefits and the best part is there are 30 students working at one time so it takes little or no time.  If I would have used our employees, this same task would have cost me several hundred dollars, plus someone would have had to stand over our employees to keep them on track (creative people suck at production work).

We have done the same things for displays at fairs, malls and other locations.  For big events that would be improved with personal contact, we donated money to have members of the cheer squad be at a display.  Cheerleaders are cute and fun, if we would have had attractive adult women in elegant clothing, it could have turned “hooters-esque” in its overall feeling.  Again a small donation covered the entire event with young people who are very happy to be doing the work.

A friend on mine owns several pizza restaurants in our area.  Door hangers are a common advertising tool, but with the employee costs he found it was a ‘wash’ advertising in this way.  He also questioned whether all the hangers were ending up on the doors or did his employees get bored trash the door-hanger and take a “siesta”.  My friend heard of using organizations as a work-force and he went to the local Boy Scouts as well as the cheer staff of the local high schools.  His response to the door hanger went way up (because they were actually hung on each door, instead of being thrown away!) and his overall “employee” cost was cut by 60%.

Before I start getting emails from “do-gooders” telling me I am exploiting child labor or taking jobs away from people who need them, these are groups that need donations to continue and you use these students for projects that basically wouldn’t happen without them.  If you are thinking of sending an email objecting about this post, I first want you to take your creative studio staff people and sit them down with 2000 mailers and 2000 labels and see what happens.   You will be able to count to ten between each label being a fixed to a mailer.  They will typically use excessive conservation to make such a mundane task tolerable.  And you will feel like the high school principal dealing with a group of misfit students trying to keep them on track!

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~ by jeffsmithbooks on November 24, 2010.

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