You have a variety of options when it comes to hiring employees, but are part-time or full-time hires the best option for your company?

There are quite a few choices for hiring employees, ranging from temp workers to full-time employees. The most common choice, however, is between part-time and full-time help. Which is a better choice for your company? That depends on what you’re looking for.

In most states, you’ll find that there are no legal standards for full or part-time employees. You are the one who will define just what those terms mean in your business, although there are some generalizations, which will be discussed below. If you are planning to offer benefits, be sure to check with your insurance company since they probably have their own rules as to what constitutes a full-time employee. In order to provide benefits appropriate to the work times, you will need to define your employees according to the insurance policy if you are providing insurance.

Full-time Employees

The definition of a full-time employee will vary from business to business, but the general standard is someone who works 5-6 days a week, usually for 8 hours a day, or totalling 40+ hours a week. The exact amount is not always determined, but if an employee works over the usual 40 hours a week, you may have to pay overtime, or time and a half. Be sure to check the labor laws in your state.

Full-time employees tend to be more stable because they aren’t trying to balance more than one responsibility. A full-time employee works for you and probably only for you, which makes him more loyal and eliminates the need to come up with new schedules on a regular basis. It’s also easier to train just one person instead of two or three to do the job.

There are some downsides to having someone work full-time, however. You will have to give them insurance and employment benefits, which means more money out. It also means you will have to continue to pay them for full work days, even if you have less work coming in. This can end up being an unnecessary expense and most people will not be willing to drop to part-time status after having worked full days.

A good option, if you aren’t sure if you want someone to work full-time, is to hire him on as a part-time worker with the possibility of full-time work in the future. This lets you essentially test the employee and get a feel for his work style and ethics before you actually put him on full days.

Part-time Employees

Part-time employees tend to have more flexible hours than those who work full-time. You will be able to define the number of hours they work in most cases. These are employees who will work just one or two days a week, or only for half shifts the entire week, or on call, etc. Their hours usually total around 17-18 hours a week, or under 1,000 hours a year.

One of the advantages of having part-time employees is that you can shuffle them around easily. Keep in mind that many will be balancing other jobs or school along with work, so this may affect the hours they can work for you, but in general, they will be more flexible.

Another advantage is cost. You will save money by hiring someone to work only half days or just a couple days a week if you are taking the other hours yourself or have a full-time employee to handle these. Since most part-time workers do not receive benefits or receive greatly reduced benefits and bonuses, you will save in this area, as well. In some cases, you may prefer to have only part-time workers in order to avoid the extra money spent on benefits.

If you are just starting out and feel that you can handle most of the business on your own, you may only need part-time employees on your roster. These are people who would fill in for you on your day off, if the business is open 7 days a week, or help you out on the busiest afternoons, for example.

Mixing the Two

Of course, you don’t have to choose only full-time or only part-time employees; you can have a mixture of the two, according to your business needs. Take a look at your business and decide exactly how many people you need on a regular basis. Some days may be busier than others, requiring extra hands and these are the days you would look at bringing in part-time help.

Your business will change and grow over time, so it’s normal to go from having one or two part-timers to a couple of full-time employees, then expanding into more and more staff. Realize that whatever the best option for you at the moment is, it probably won’t be your ideal staff configuration in two or three years. An expanding business is a good sign and it also requires more help. Whether you add part or full-time employees to the payroll is up to you.