Dave is, regrettably, not blessed with the sunniest disposition.
If you have met him before you will be aware that where there is a silver lining, Dave will be sure to find a cloud. And it is in this frame of mind that we find him today. He’s just been going over books for FinalVinyl with his accountant, Anna Bacchus…
…and is perturbed to find that last year was the most profitable year so far for the business, with turnover from all three shops and the new online channel almost doubling on the previous year. The recent kit-hiring arrangement with Le Troubadour* suggests that there will be more business in that line, too.
“It’s a disaster”, he says, just as Simon walks into the main shop.
“What is?” asks Simon, who as well as regularly irritating Dave with his optimism, has also apparently appointed himself Dave’s business mentor.
“We’ve made record profits”, replies Dave.
“The only disaster about that is the pun,” says Simon. “Tell me you’re not serious.”
Dave grudgingly admits that making a much higher profit is indeed a good thing, but still he grumbles. “I’m going to have to take on more staff at this rate. What a pain.”
“Recruitment. And then training. They just take SO long.” (We’re paraphrasing here – Dave actually uses some rather un-businesslike language). “When do I ever get time for that? And all the documentation: letters, policies, contracts and who knows what else. And besides, what if I take people on full-time and then the big increase in turnover just turns out to be a blip? I’ll be stuck with people I can’t afford.”
Simon is silent.
“Well?” says Dave. “Not like you to have nothing to say.”
“I just wanted to make sure you’d finished” retorts Simon. “In the first place, recruiting people is serious, and you can’t expect to do it in ten minutes. But it’s worth taking the time if you get people who will make FinalVinyl even better. Second, you can always dispense with training – but only if you’d be happy with people who don’t know what they’re doing. And third, don’t you know about zero hours contracts?”
“Aren’t they illegal?”
“No. And zero-hours or variable hours contracts might be just the thing for you. Especially if you think your staff levels are going to fluctuate, like when you’re working for customers offsite. And it’s not difficult to put a contract together, either, if you know where to look.”
Dave knows exactly where to look, because Simon has told him so on many occasions: Simplify the Law. There he finds a template to draft a zero-hours employment contract, so that he can employ people without having to commit to a minimum amount of work per week.
While he’s there he finds that there are templates for all sorts of employment documents: offer letters, staff policies and plenty of others (including for those situations when things don’t go as hoped). Not to mention guidance to get him through the whole process of recruitment.
“Why didn’t you tell me about this other stuff, too?” he asks.
“I didn’t want to make things too easy for you. I’m not sure you’d cope if you had nothing to complain about.”
Dave says something else unbusinesslike, and Simon leaves the shop, to reappear (no doubt) in future episodes.
* If you missed this exciting instalment in Dave’s many (mis)adventures, just look here.