You can get a skills subsidy of £1,730 for taking on a young worker.
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Wages are always a major cost but a range of government schemes offer employers help with paying some of their staff; subsidies are also available for training.
The New Deal offers employers a subsidy to take on unemployed people. For 18-24-year-olds you get a subsidy of £60 a week for six months (DID for part-timers); rising to £75 a week (£50 part-time) for over-25s. If the applicant has to work part-time because of a disability you'll get the full amount. You have a free choice of applicants just as you would for any other job.
For 18-24-year-olds you will also get a training grant of £750; you are expected to provide at least one day a week training in return.
You could also be eligible for an Upfront Skills Shortage Subsidy if you provide 15 days' training within the first eight weeks. This provides £1,730 paid at the start for 18-24 year olds (£1,460 for over-25s) and 1580 (£490 for over-25s) after 26 weeks. You must offer at least 12 months' employment and the training must be towards an approved qualification.
There are also New Deals for lone parents, partners of unemployed and workers over 50, and a scheme for disabled people is being piloted in some areas.
You might be able to help finance training of existing staff through a Small Firms Training Loan (SFTL),
which is available to firms with than 50 employees. SFTLs inc year interest free: you can them over one to seven years.
Your employees could t from Individual Learning Am (ILAs) which can subsidise tr courses paid for by them (r you). For most courses a discc 20% is available, to a maxim £100 in any one year. ILAs ca used to pay for statutory traini heatth and safety training is no ble. But discounts can apply tc skills training such as HGV anc lift driving or servicing and repa For certain IT and maths col the ILA discount can rise to 805 maximum of £200 in any one y&•
• Pl You can save n by choosing a different sup* calls from your line rental.
Ten years ago most busint didn't have a lot of choice wt came to their telephone servic was either BT or Mercury.
Now there's a lot more chola it's also a more difficult choic
e, with different suppliers offering imetimes bewildering choice of ount structures, prices, and s of contract.
lefore you decide, spend some looking at your last few months' ne bills. Who are you callingp are those calls made? Are you ng a few numbers regularly, or is r call pattern more diverse? All 3e factors should affect your ice of supplier.
Jne factor is line rental, but for st businesses this is a small cost -oared with call charges, and it's k?.ly to be the main reason for osing a supplier.
f you're making a lot of national or rnational calls and BT is your supr, it might make sense to move to rect access for these calls. This ails that you keep the BT line but 3 calls go to a different supplier. can choose one for national and
one for international, or a single supplier for both. You'll get two bills, one from BT (for the rental), and one from the other supplier (for the calls).
Plenty of free sites on the Internet offer cost comparisons but businesses generally have to pay between 160-150 for this service. If your bill is high enough this might be worthwhile, otherwise simply get a number of suppliers to send details and spend some time looking at the comparisons. Don't forget that some phone companies have extended peak periods—if as hauliers you start work early or finish late, this could be a major factor. This is stating the obvious, but one surefire way to cut your phone bills is to make shorter calls! Write down the main points of a phone call before you make it to keep you focused.
If you use a fax, could some of your messages be replaced by e mail? It's quicker and cheaper. You might also replace some of your phone calls by e-mail. This makes a lot of sense for complex messages, such as explaining items on a bill, or for non-urgent calls. You can bar certain calls to avoid misuse by employees, including all international calls and all premium-rate numbers. If you have a PBX (switchboard) you could be even more selective.
ss. A one-stop on-line
service can get you free finance quotes from 15 banks.
Most hauliers have a lot of capital tied up in their fleets. Leasing can reduce costs while freeing up funds for other aspects of your business. Look out for special deals from manufacturers, particularly on secondhand equipment which has been taken back at the end of lease agreements.
In terms of finance you might find that a lease-purchase deal will give you a short-term advantage as you can be more flexible on repayments. However, don't forget that there's a larger final payment to be made with this type of finance.
If you're coming to the end of a finance lease you'll be faced with a decision between selling the vehicle and extending the lease. In a growing economy it's often best to use the sale to pay off any lease that's left, and get a new vehicle to take advantage of
lower maintenance and fuel costs. On the other hand, you might find it better to extend your fleet's useful life and continue the lease.
Operators who do not run their own workshops should consider contract hire with an inclusive maintenance payment. The cost is based on an agreed average mileage—avoiding large breakdown bills—and there is also a saving on mechanics' wages.
Mercedes offers a contract based on actual mileage through its 'pay as you use' system. If your fleet utilisation includes high-demand peaks but regular deep troughs, this could be worth considering.
These are all ways to reduce your monthly outgoings. If you need to raise money to support your business and currently own your fleet, you might consider a sale and leaseback deal. A number of finance houses are willing to offer good terms on this sort of business.
Whatever your aims, use a broker to find cheaper finance. For instance, Whatrate matches finance requests from SMEs (small and medium enterprises) to 15 banks with 18 different financial services between them. Whatrate doesn't charge you a fee; it charges the lender. Other brokers will charge a fee, but if it's less than they save you, you're still in the money.