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How To Determine What To Pay An Employee At Your Small Business

May 4, 2021
Bill Kimball

how much should i pay my employee

The best way to find out what a competitive wage is in your area is to find out what others are paying for the same type of work by obtaining salary data. Complying with wage and hour law and doing payroll are vital components of the process of paying your employees.

Without wage and salary data, it’s impossible to know that you offer pay that is fair in relation to other employers. If your employees begin to feel underpaid, you won’t be able to tell them, with confidence, that they’re not. How much a company pays for employee health insurance depends on the size of the company.

Social security taxes only apply to taxable wages up to $137,700—so the maximum an employer will pay in social security taxes in 2020 is $8,239.80 per employee. Where you do business in the United States can play a large part in employee compensation. Location-based variables like state and local taxes, cost of living, and market supply and demand can all impact your total employee cost. The total cost of an employee is their total compensation plus any additional expenses the business accrues as a result of hiring and employing that person. You may incur other costs not associated with wages, taxes, and benefits, but rather additional expenses from the hiring and onboarding processes.

how much should i pay my employee

The most common benefit employers offer to their employees is health insurance—but it’s not cheap. Health insurance costs will depend on what health plans you choose to offer your employees.


To figure it out, just divide your total annual overhead costs by the number of employees at your business. Your benefit costs depend directly on the number and level of benefits you offer. Therefore, an employee earning $30,000 will cost you around $37,500. Don’t forget to calculate paid vacation and personal or sick days in your budget.

One guiding principle to keep in mind is that a salary is an investment—so make sure you don’t pay more than you feel you will get in return. A good rule of thumb is to put 40%-80% of your business revenue toward employee salaries.

how much should i pay my employee

Then figure the salary for a permanent position from there, taking into account that you won’t be paying agency overhead, but you’ll be providing benefits. For high-level jobs, headhunters and recruiters are great sources of information. They’ll often provide some guidance for free in the hopes that you’ll hire them when you need a formal search. This rate allows employers to give a fair rate to employees who drive their own personal vehicles for work. The rate is also used by employees to deduct mileage on their taxes if the employer fails to reimburse them. The percentage of gross revenue that you spend on employee salaries can vary dramatically by industry. For example, the labor costs in a retail store are much higher than an automated semiconductor plant.

How To Set Up A Payroll Process For Your Small Business

You might also decide to work with an independent contractor or freelancer for some roles. These types of workers are typically paid as hourly employees but tend to command a higher hourly rate. That’s because unlike salaried employees (and salaried employees if you’re generous), these workers don’t receive any benefits like health insurance from your business. They’re responsible for providing their own, and so their hourly rate usually has a fee for this, as well as other responsibilities like a self-employment tax, baked into it. The Department of Labor for your state should also offer occupational wage statistics for metropolitan and rural areas. In many cases, this information is even more relevant as salaries, minimum wage, and cost of living tend to be highly localized. The Federal Insurance Contributions Act covers both social security and Medicare taxes for your employee.

Workers’ comp laws vary by state, but most states require employers to carry it if they hire employees. For example, Aida’s budget for a new hire is $2,000 a month. Knowing this, Aida can research benefit packages to see if there’s one that fits in her budget. While there’s no federal law that requires you to offer benefits, doing so can help you attract and retain more qualified employees, especially if you’re hiring in a competitive industry. payroll provider that processes employee’s checks and files state and federal payroll reports and payments.

It’ll give you a good snapshot for free, or you can pay for a detailed report. List the duties and responsibilities you want your employee to fulfil. Show what percentage of time you expect them to spend on each task.

how much should i pay my employee

A package featuring stock and performance bonuses can be more affordable. And it can make a big difference to people who are motivated by goal-setting and rewards. It also helps to speak with people whose job description matches the vacancy you have. If you’re hiring a senior designer, for example, chat with senior designers in your network.

Service-based businesses may have labor costs as high as fifty percent of their gross revenue. For most businesses, however, a fifteen to thirty percent of gross revenue is ideal.

Check out Salary.com for salary ranges sorted by position and geography. You’ll find out what’s high, low and average for your state and town, so you can begin any employee search knowing what candidates will expect. When considering how much to pay your employees, it also helps to know the difference between exempt and nonexempt employees. The Fair Labor Standards Act , the federal law that regulates employment policies, recognizes two types of employees.

Labor costs account for, on average, 68.3 percent of an employee’s yearly salary or wages. To figure out the labor cost percentage, multiply an employee’s total salary or wages by .683.Read more about labor cost percentage. But let’s say an employer spends an additional $8,000 on that employee throughout the year.

A 6 Step Guide For Deciding How Much To Pay Your Staff

Despite its unpopularity, one benefit of paper paychecks is that you can put a stop on a payment – something you can’t do with automated payments like direct deposit. This feature can come in handy if you miscalculate employee hours. See what they’re giving, not just with pay but the health plans and benefits they offer, too, said Matt Venuto, regional sales manager at ConnectPay. Charles Read, president and CEO of GetPayroll suggests researching the role in the industry to better understand pay rates. Look at what other companies pay for the position, and research market-rate sites that break down average compensation by location.

Does the position require an advanced degree or certification? Generally, the more training and education an employee has, the higher the pay.

There are some required benefits such as social security taxes, workers’ compensation, leave benefits and unemployment insurance that businesses need to pay. Optional benefits include group health plans and retirement benefits. As a small business owner, one of your biggest financial decisions involves asking yourself the question, “How much should I pay my employees? ” It’s a question most small business owners struggle with, especially those who don’t have a dedicated human resources department or who are hiring for the first time. But what to pay employees is an important question because according to a recent study by Glassdoor, 67% of job seekers consider salary to be a top factor in considering whether or not to take a job. It may mean less profit for your business in the short term.

What Are Payroll Taxes?

How well does the person match up to your ideal vision of who would work in a particular job? If they are exactly what you had hoped for, position their wage higher on the scale. A person who has about half of what you’re envisioning should fall part way on the scale, while someone who is less of an ideal match would be toward the bottom. If this seems unrealistic for your business based on the budget you’ve already created, then you’ll need to go back and readjust.

The most important ones for you to follow are going to be the legal parameters for employee pay that help answer the question, “How much should I pay my employees? ” We’ll go over the legal parameters you need to factor in when determining salary.

  • Benefits account for 31.7 percent of an employee’s total cost.
  • For most businesses, however, a fifteen to thirty percent of gross revenue is ideal.
  • An employer’s overhead cost per employee is also considered, in addition to the employer’s annual taxes.
  • You’ll find out what’s high, low and average for your state and town, so you can begin any employee search knowing what candidates will expect.

Two A-team players can accomplish the same as three less engaged, less talented players. That can save you in net salaries and keep your team more lean. This is perfect for any small business looking to grow or survive long term. You’ll also spend less time and money looking for new hires and interviewing. The recruitment process can be costly, so avoiding it as much as possible can be a positive thing. A well-compensated and engaging culture will make employees more likely to stay in their jobs long term. The longer someone is at your company, the better they understand the systems, norms, and mission.

How Small Business Owners Pay Themselves

You can transfer funds from your business bank account to an employee’s bank or credit union account. Although some believe that paychecks are outdated, many employers still compensate employees with a paycheck. A paycheck is a printed check that is sent weekly, biweekly, monthly or based on the arrangement agreed on by you and your staff. Read also recommends using timeclocks to calculate honest and accurate pay for your employees. You do this by calculating how much money you believe the employee could bring in for the year. Consider how much time they will save you and the status of their job within your company.

Comply with the lawIf you plan to employ someone on the minimum wage or offer overtime, you’ll need to check the law to make sure you’re compliant. There’ll be other legal issues you need to understand so talk to your advisor and check out theIRS guide to understanding employment taxes.