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Dealing With Seasonal Demand

Seasonal Staffing Holiday Help

The holidays are time for families to come together, people to celebrate, and business operators to wake up in cold sweats, panicking about how they will manage the seasonal rush. If you’re a retailer, you’re faced with a larger than average influx of customers (a good thing), that may be standing around waiting for someone to help them because you don’t have enough employees in your stores (a bad thing). Even if you’re not a retailer, this is the time of year you add more and more items (holiday parties, client gifting) to your usual 5,000 item To-Do list.

I know what it feels like, I’ve been through it. [pullthis]In the Fall of 2010, I ran a digital camera rental company and spent at least 10 hours a week cleaning, packing, and shipping cameras to satisfy rapidly expanding seasonal demand. You know what I wasn’t doing during those 10 hours? Running my business. I’ve learned a thing or two since then, like how to prevent my customers (and bank account) from feeling the burden of the holiday season.[/pullthis][pullshow]

You may be tempted to hire more staff, but that’s expensive, time-consuming, and risky. Adding staff meaningfully impacts your operating costs, even more so when you’re a small business with just a few employees. Among many other things, this approach will impact your payroll taxes, unemployment insurance, and worker’s comp policies.

You may be tempted to do it all yourself — you’re a super(wo)man after all. You’ve already lost plenty of sleep getting your business to where it is today, no? Forget that your family will be in turkey-tryptophan induced holiday comas while you sweat over the proper organization of receipts, purchase orders, and customer return requests. There’s always next year to celebrate with your family.

Or you may be tempted to take a cue from some of the biggest employers out there, and bring on temporary help. From mom-and-pops to Fortune 500s, more and more companies are adding seasonal workers — Walmart alone is adding more than 50,000 people this holiday season. Bringing on qualified staff temporarily frees you from much of the overhead associated with full-time hiring. And there are tons of options for on-demand labor. For a few months of full-time help with highly specialized skills, agencies like Manpower and Robert Half are reasonable, albeit expensive solutions. I prefer TaskRabbit for the flexibility, reliability, and affordability.

Had TaskRabbit been where it is today in 2010, I would have jumped at the chance to hire some trustworthy people to come and manage my makeshift startup supply chain. It would have saved me money, increased my efficiency, and allowed me to spend more time with the people close to me during the holidays. TaskRabbit puts companies like yours in touch with qualified, reliable talent in an instant — at much lower prices than traditional staffing agencies.

Victor Echevarria is the Head of Business Development at TaskRabbit. Follow him on Twitter @etxeba.

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