When to hire a second sales assistant

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Aug 29, 2007 11:00 am

My assistant claims she's overworked and that we need a second one.  She may be right, but I want to get some feedback from you all.  For some background, I'm been an independent FA (it is just me and my assistant in the office) in the mid-west for about 3 years and before that I was with EDJ, my assistant was with me at EDJ, assets are about $87,000,000, production this year should be between $550 and $600k, I pay her about $40k base and about $8k bonus plus full health care and Simple IRA contribution.  She works hard, about 45 hours per week.  I'm young and my business is growing (I'd of course like to grow more).  Mostly fee-based but also do some VA's and other commission business.  She does all paperwork, is licensed, does mailers, handles incoming calls, check requests, works with back office, etc, etc.  We both stay very busy.  So.... am I too small to hire a second part-timer?  Your advice and/or experiences would be appreciated.

Aug 29, 2007 12:26 pm

I'd say you're big enough.  I intend to hire another one before I get to your level...

Aug 29, 2007 1:29 pm

with more capacity you could get to $100mill aum and $1mill in production faster

Aug 29, 2007 1:40 pm

Consider hiring a part time person for that second position.  Maybe you need help, but not FT help

Aug 29, 2007 1:43 pm

College interns could possibly help as well....

Aug 29, 2007 2:45 pm

Blarm, you'd be too busy tagging that to get any good from an intern...

Aug 29, 2007 3:45 pm

You are so right...

Aug 29, 2007 3:51 pm

From my past helping small business, I would not want to go past 15-20% total in staff payroll and benefits at your current sales level.  Again, as Vin D mentioned, it may squeeze your for a few months, but should allow you to focus on your clients/prospects more effectively.  This should allow you to grow your business by 50%.  A word of caution, the cost will be much higher, percentage wise, because of hidden training costs the first few months.  Training=less production=short term.

Aug 29, 2007 7:39 pm

Go with a part timer to pick up the cashier duties along with mailers and other marketing.  Let you full time associate focus on client paperwork, office admin, and other client service issues.  You keep doing what your doing and you'll be over 100Mill in no time. 

Aug 30, 2007 1:02 am

This is all good advice and primarily confirming my thought of hiring a part-timer.  I've tried the college intern thing.  (too bad I couldn't find a cute one ).  They are smart, but only stick around for a few months so I can't justify training them on anything with a large learning curve.  And when I hire another one I have to go through the whole background check etc.  So they wind up doing mailers and busy work, but can't really help my full-timer because they are not trained on all the back office stuff, and they don't really get to know the clients.  So I think the way to go is a permanent part-timer that is in it for the long haul.  I'd like someone with some experience in the industry.  What is the best way to find someone other than networking and word-of-mouth?  Monster.com?  Temp agency?

Aug 30, 2007 5:27 pm

my production is approx 450k and i have 2 admin and 1 technical analyst on my books, I would say you have a phenom of an admin!  you should definitely hire another,  even if it is just someone who can answer and screen calls with a smile.  It will help you biz grow to have more help, plus you and your admin should take some time off, then what happens.  treat yourself to some  more time.  -JB

Aug 30, 2007 5:28 pm

Make your growth very public to show your success, biz will follow and you will be able to serve your clients better. -jb

Aug 31, 2007 12:27 am
Glad2Bindy:

This is all good advice and primarily confirming my thought of hiring a part-timer.  I've tried the college intern thing.  (too bad I couldn't find a cute one ).  They are smart, but only stick around for a few months so I can't justify training them on anything with a large learning curve.  And when I hire another one I have to go through the whole background check etc.  So they wind up doing mailers and busy work, but can't really help my full-timer because they are not trained on all the back office stuff, and they don't really get to know the clients.  So I think the way to go is a permanent part-timer that is in it for the long haul.  I'd like someone with some experience in the industry.  What is the best way to find someone other than networking and word-of-mouth?  Monster.com?  Temp agency?



I know a guy who was very successful at finding part time help by putting his help wanted ads in "neighborhood" newspapers and targeting mom's who had left the workforce for a few years to raise their kids and wanted something part-time and somewhat flexible while once they were in school all day(i.e. first grade and up).  He made it a point to be VERY understanding when the ladies had to take days off because the kids were sick, flexible with scheduling especially in the summer time.  Over the years he has had a few very skilled gals who worked for a reasonable cost, and one of them become part of his full time crew.  Too, they were so motivated by a boss who paid them fair, gave them a 'real' job, and understood their family obligations, that they would walk through a brick wall for this guy.

I'm going to try this myself soon.

Aug 31, 2007 8:00 am

Thank you all... all good stuff, keep it coming.  I think I need to suck it up and hire another.  I have very little time to go after new business.   I like the idea of a stay-at-home mom coming in from maybe 9:30-3pm every day and then she could still be with her kids.  I'm thinking she would focus on marketing and keeping my contact mgt system (ACT) updated, but also learn basic operational/back office stuff in case my full timer is out of the office.  Is this how you guys divide the labor?  Do you think what I pay my current assistant ($48k total plus full health insurance) is ball park?  Should I pay the new one somewhere in the $10-15/hour range depending on experience?

Sep 3, 2007 7:51 pm

Here is a different angle altogether. Maybe instead of adding another staff

member, you could consider offloading your "C" clients to another broker.

Jan 31, 2011 12:34 pm

Nice to see this get bumped. When you look at the time frame the discussion started, it makes you think and wonder? The original poster never followed up, so we're left with some questions...

Did he hire someone, or did the impending downturn scare him off? What happened to production and revenues, and did that potentially lead the rep to cut the new staff member? Did this rep blow up, hang on, or even grow revenues?

If I'd have read this back then, I'd have told the guy to hire shortly before you really need someone. He was long past that point in my opinion, for the fact that his asst was complaining about her workload. Hire a person right before you need them, and give a pay raise right before they ask is the way I roll. If you have a good asst, it's very important to keep that person... If you have a mediocre or bad person on the other hand, GET RID OF THEM.