I have the hiring itch. Leads and sales are up, and we don’t have extra hands to jump in and get things done.

But I’m hesitant. Political uncertainty lurks ahead, not to mention winter and a possible seasonal lull.

The benefits of bringing on a new team member need to clearly outweigh the costs, and those costs can vary. If the characteristics of the position are clear and involve pre-defined tasks (e.g., product sales, design, carpentry, accounting, administration), the cost of hiring and training will be relatively small. If the characteristics of the position are vague and more subjective (e.g., design/build sales, project management, leadership), the cost of hiring and training will be significantly higher.

So what makes up the total cost of bringing on a new team member?

Recruiting: Plan on one to three months for a role with pre-defined tasks; up to six months for one with subjective tasks.

Training: This starts on day one and continues until the new hire brings in consistent results. Expect to spend one to two months orienting and training roles with pre-defined tasks — they are more “color by number”; plan on five to seven months for more subjective roles.

Impact on existing team: Think through the effect of a new hire on compensation, workload, and efficiency. Make sure performance of the rest of the team won’t suffer.

Impact on you: Do you prefer managing people or managing projects and “stuff”? If the latter, do you really want more people, or can your business needs be filled through efficiencies, third-party firms, or other means? If you prefer managing people, make sure the hire fills a business need — not just your need to measure success by the size of your team.

If these are all “green lights,” go for it. If they aren’t, consider other options. If you can’t wait the six to 13 months needed to recruit and train a design/build salesperson, could you reduce the lead time by adding a designer to work with an existing salesperson? Don’t like that idea? Raise your prices so you have more to invest down the line to bring on a new sales rep.

Don’t just hire because the work is there. Your team should meet your business needs. Consider the total cost of hiring so that you proactively build the kind of company you want. 

Bruce Case is president of Case Design/Remodeling, in Bethesda, Md. bcase@casedesign.com

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It's Hiring Time: How Much Help Can You Afford?

Are You Ready To Hire? What to consider when taking on a new employee.

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