Seven Reasons to Hire Your Child to Work for Your Small Business

Father and Son Fixing Bike at Family Business

If you're a small business owner, you likely embody certain traits: self-motivation, creativity, persistence, and a willingness to work hard. If you are a parent, you probably want your children to acquire those traits, too. One excellent way to help them do that is to let you see firsthand what you do for a living—by helping you do it. If you could use a little help in your business, and there are tasks your child is old enough to undertake, consider these seven reasons to hire your child to work for your small business.

1. Spend real quality time with your child.

Of course, any time you spend together is important, but there is something special and memorable about working together toward a goal, whether that's restoring a classic car, making a meal together, or contributing to the family business. If your child is getting old enough to work for you, that means he or she will soon be flying the nest, so this is a great way to make the most of those precious last years with your child at home.

2. Instill a strong work ethic.

Kids hear about the importance of hard work all their lives, but it may not sink in until they enter the realm of the working world. At home, it doesn't much matter if you don't make your bed or set the table. Somebody else might even pick up your slack. At work, though, failing to fulfill your responsibilities has consequences. Working under your watchful eye, your child can learn to be dress and act professional, be prompt, complete assigned tasks to someone else's specifications, and generally do what is expected, when it is expected. Your child's future employers will thank you; many employers are shocked at young employees' lack of work ethic. Your child can set him- or herself apart.

3. Your child can earn tax-free (up to a point).

The only thing better than making money as a teenager is not having to pay income tax on it. The standard deduction for tax year 2018 will be $12,000, so assuming your child has no other income outside of work for you, he or she would have no income tax liability. It's possible you would not even need to file a tax return for your child.

4. You get tax benefits, too!

If your child is of a reasonable age to work and is performing work that you would ordinarily pay someone else to do, their wages are a legitimate business expense for you. Reasonable work includes data entry, filing, typing, customer service, cleaning, maintenance, stockroom or warehouse work, and so on. Depending on the age of your child and other factors, you may still qualify to claim him or her as a dependent or get the benefit of the child tax credit.

5. You might gain a new respect for each other.

Another bonus: the child who may have seen you as a walking ATM will understand at last how much work it takes to generate those dollars. And a child who is accustomed to seeing you as just mom or dad will gain valuable new perspective when they realize that others view (and respect) you in a different role: boss. Similarly, you might get to see your child in a different light. Yes, she'll always be your baby, but now you can see her as an employer would: competent, creative, with good people skills. The new perspective you each have will not only enhance your workplace, but your relationship.

6. You can teach your child fiscal responsibility.

Kids ask for a lot of things because other people (read: you) are paying for them. When it's their hard-earned dollar on the line, they tend to think a lot longer about whether that video game or shirt in the store window at the mall is worth it. Beyond that, you can teach them the real power of money: that what they don't spend now can help them build a better future. Show them the miracle of compound interest. Set up a 529 Plan for college savings and let your child watch it grow. Encourage them to donate to a charity they value if you want to cultivate a philanthropic bent. Once they experience the satisfaction of knowing they have money in the bank and have helped others, they'll be a lot less likely to throw their money away on trinkets.

7. You may interest your child in taking over the business someday.

Think about why you built your business: to satisfy your entrepreneurial streak, perhaps, but also to provide and build a future for your family. You may or may not have thought ahead to the next step: what will happen to the business after you're gone? If you get your child started early in the business, he or she may be interested in making a career of it, making your business succession planning much easier. Alternately, you may find that your child has no long-term interest in or aptitude for the business, and that may cause you to take an earlier look at what you do want to do about the future of the business. Contact our law firm to discuss your business succession planning and estate planning needs

No matter how you look at it, there is a lot of upside to hiring your kids to work for your small business. Give them a chance to show you what they can do; you'll both be the richer for it, and not just financially.

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