Half of SMEs rely on spouse at work

Sarah Davidson

August 24, 2012

The research by Direct Line for Business revealed that 46% of small trade business owners and key decision makers rely on their partners to carry out general business administration while one in five (19%) employ their partner as a receptionist.

In fact more than one in seven (14%) trust their partners to look after legal and accounting services.

A further 8% of small trade business owners and key decision makers look to their partners to carry out sales, marketing and new business generation responsibilities.

However despite small trade business owners and key decision makers suggesting their partners work on average two days a week (with one in four working three or more days a week), nearly a third (31%) do not pay their partner any money at all.

This selfless contribution is particularly apparent as DL4B’s research showed that on average, partners have been helping each other for over four and a half years.

In addition, two in three (65%) people who help out in their partner’s small trade businesses have other employment elsewhere.

Of these, one in four (26%) work full time and two in five (39%) work part time at another business.

Jazz Gakhal, head of Direct Line for Business,said: “Small businesses are crucial in re-energising the UK economy. It is therefore, heartening to see partners working together to help sustain these small companies despite not being fully financially compensated and in many cases not paid at all.

“It is clear that small trade businesses are seeking voluntary help from their partners to avoid high legal, secretarial or IT support fees but it is vital that these businesses ensure their partners are adequately covered in event of an accident.”

The research by DL4B looked at small trade businesses employing less than five people with an average annual turnover of around £124,000.

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