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Pros & Cons of Using a Temp Service for Your Small Business

Pros & Cons of Using a Temp Service for Your Small Business

As a small business owner, you wear many hats. Often in order to grow, you need to take off a few of those hats by hiring employees. If you need help for short-term tasks or tasks that don’t necessarily need to be done in-house, a temporary staffing agency may be a great solution.

Like any business decision, it pays to look at the benefits and the drawbacks before hiring this way. Here are the pros and cons of using a temp agency for your small business.


Time-saving. When you hire people on your own, it is a time-consuming process. You need to create and place ads, look through resumes and applications, set up and conduct interviews and call references. When you use a reputable temporary agency, they perform this pre-screening work for you.

Less paperwork. When you hire employees through a temp agency, the agency will take care of payroll and tax concerns, so you don’t have to take on that responsibility.

Qualified candidates. With a temp agency’s pool of resources, you can attract more qualified workers than you might otherwise as a small start-up. Today’s temp employees do everything from secretarial and office administrative tasks, to IT, to accounting, to writing and editing, to graphics and design.

Cost-efficient. Hiring employees through a temp agency can save you money over hiring full-time employees. You save on taxes, benefits and on overhead costs that come from having someone on your permanent payroll. In addition, if you have employees performing manual labor, you may be able to save substantially on workman’s compensation costs.

Flexibility. Workflow fluctuates with a small business. When you use temporary employees, you can hire people when you need them, such as during seasonal busy periods of when you or a key person on your team needs to take some time off. You are not committed to a certain amount of hours or a certain amount of months.


Training time. Even though you may get experienced temp workers, there still is time lost as they adjust to your particular way of doing things. You cannot expect a temporary worker to perform at full effectiveness right away, and important time may be lost as a result.

Unreliability. By their very nature, temporary employees can be somewhat unpredictable. They may be seeking full-time employment elsewhere, or they may be students with changeable schedules. In any case, some temp employees may not show up for work with little or no notice. Try to work with an agency that guarantees to replace a worker within 24 hours.

Lack of team unity. Because temporary workers are well, temporary, they may not consider themselves part of your team and vice versa.  You can set a good tone by welcoming temp workers into your office, introducing them to your other staff members and giving them important details on your company culture.

If you have weighed the decision and decide that hiring temp workers may be a good solution for your staffing needs, it is important to find the right agency. Ask friends and colleagues for recommendations. Check with professional or trade associations for their choices. Many temp agencies specialize in hiring workers for certain industries.  They may even have developed specialized skill testing for employees in your area of business.

Temp agencies charge a fixed percentage rate greater than the hourly cost of a worker. The more skilled the worker, the higher the percentage is. Reputable agencies often will waive fees for temp employees who do not work out.

If you are looking for a temp agency in your area, you can contact the American Staffing Association (ASA). ASA promotes legal and professional practices for the staffing industry. Visit for a listing of member agencies.

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by Tricia Drevets // Regular Contributor to Businessing Magazine. Tricia Drevets is a freelance writer who specializes in business and communication topics. A community college speech and theater instructor, Tricia lives in beautiful Southern Oregon.

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.