By Princess Jones

Managing staff effectively can really affect your bottom line. Too many workers and you’re losing money on labor. Too few workers and you’ll lose money because either you can’t keep up with demand or you’re paying high overtime costs. It’s a real balancing act. Temporary staff is an option when you need more manpower without the permanent commitment.


Temps are the happy medium between getting the work done with the staff you have and taking on a whole new hire. An overworked staff is an unhappy one. Employee retention and efficacy has a lot to do with the delicate balance of the workload you give them. All it takes is a little too much work with too little resources and you may find yourself in a staffing crisis.

And hiring new employees is a detailed process. Between vetting potential hires, conducting interviews, negotiating compensation packages, and taking time to do the training, new hires can be expensive in both time and money. But, a temp is usually only for a specific project or set of tasks. Training can be minimal and compensation is very straightforward. And when you no longer need them, you don’t have to worry about severance packages or unemployment insurance.


The best time to hire a temp is right before you actually need them. When you’re already knee-deep in too much work, it can be hard to find the time to actually hire a freelancer. You’ll find yourself rushing to get someone–anyone–to help out. That’s a tough position to make sound decisions.

Plan for the future now. Take a look at your business’ needs and pick out one or two reasons you might need some temporary help. For example, if you run a full service catering company, you might need a freelance designer to do some invitations a few times a year. Or you may have several serving staff on payroll but if the event is over a certain amount of guests, you’ll need to hire some temp servers to help out.


You have two options when it comes to sourcing temporary workers — you can do the legwork yourself or you can go to a temp agency. It depends on how much work you want to do and what type of temp work you’re looking for. Creative freelancers tend to be hired from referrals, job postings or through creative agencies. Retail workers, office staff, or serving staff are usually more efficiently sourced through agencies than ever from job listings.

Your background work on the temp will also depend on whether you do the direct hiring or go through an agency. Generally the agency will handle all the due diligence work for you, including background checks, drug testing, and confirming reference. Many will even give you an accuracy guarantee.

Take into account the labor laws applicable to your business, too. Most will require some sort of contract or disclaimer signed by the temp worker that acknowledges it is temporary work for hire. In some cases, temp work must go through an agency or be hired with very specific language in the contract. Otherwise, you will be on the hook for unemployment and other requirements, just as if you had hired a full-time employee.