As a certified public accountant, Stan Griffin used to head the audit staff of the state of South Carolina. But even with this experience, once he entered the pool industry he didn’t want to be bothered with payroll and other human resources issues.
“We in the pool and spa industry need to put all our
efforts into the pool and spa industry,” says the president
of Griffin Pools and Spas in Columbia, S.C., a Pool & Spa News
Top Builder. “The processing of payroll is just a necessary
So instead of handling his own payroll, sending in tax records
or even managing employees’ benefits, he’s turned to a
professional employment organization to complete these tasks.
Besides saving time, Griffin says the move has given him peace
of mind. Here, he explains how it works.
Originally, Griffin had hired a company to process his payroll. But
he felt it wasn’t enough.
“All they do is write the checks,” he says.
“We still had to do the human resource functions, handle
medical insurance, and most everything else.” So Griffin
switched to a professional employment organization.
“They hire all of my employees and contract them back to
me,” Griffin says. “The [firm] is the employer of
record for tax, insurance, workman’s compensation and
employer liability purposes. But I, as a company owner, still
maintain complete control over my employees because they’re
contracted back to me. So I hire, fire and do everything that I
normally would do.”
For the payroll portion, all Griffin does is log onto a Website
and enter the amount each employee is owed for a given pay period.
The next day, direct deposits are made and checks are sent to each
of the pool company’s seven locations. Griffin receives a
statement itemizing wages, Social Security and unemployment
payments. The professional employment organization automatically
debits the total amount from Griffin’s account.
“They do the quarterly reports, the federal withholding
— everything, just like we are employees of theirs,”
Griffin says. “It relieves us of all these petty things with
payroll that we don’t have time or the expertise to
Because he enters the payroll information online, the task can
be handled from anywhere with an Internet connection.
Working with people
In addition to payroll, the professional employment organization
handles human resources issues.
The firm handles workman’s compensation claims and safety
training, and even performs random drug testing. It also helps his
company become better with sensitive situations. “They train
our supervisors on how to handle human resource issues,”
He also likes the backup he receives in situations with
difficult personnel. “If we fire someone, or lay them off,
and want to contest that person drawing unemployment for whatever
reason, the company sends a representative with us to the
Professional employment organizations also negotiate favorable
rates for health benefits, workman’s compensation, general
liability insurance and retirement plans. “They have tens of
thousands of employees, so when they go to get workman’s comp
insurance, they’re [in a stronger position],” Griffin
The savings his company sees from this helps recoup some of the
money Griffin spends on the service itself, which collects about 2
percent of each payroll. This fee is automatically deducted from
Griffin’s account along with the payroll. With the
efficiencies, however, Griffin estimates the company costs closer
to 1 percent.
Considering the backup he receives preventing potentially costly
safety mistakes and late payroll-tax payments, the savings become
“They will take on companies as little as five or six
people,” Griffin adds. “To me, there’s no reason
that even the smallest company should not use this service, just
because of the sheer fact of what they’re going to save on
general liability insurance.”READER RESPONSE
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