How to Afford Employee Benefits as a Startup

How to Afford Employee Benefits as a Startup

Are you ready to start the hiring process for your successful startup? Congratulations on this critical step to growing your business! Before you begin, it’s important to understand that if your startup business is like most startups, then it must, by necessity, be very lean. Most startups cannot often afford to give “typical” employee benefits. That’s why you should consider providing the basics first. But offering health and dental insurance, a 401(k), and other perks will help you to retain a strong workforce for a longer period of time than companies without them. The next step is figuring out how to afford them.

Think Outside the Box

As a startup, you can offer benefits that big companies do not. These include:

  • Flexible work hours – For employees exempt from overtime, emphasize that they can work when urgencies arise and take some breaks when they need personal time during less-urgent periods.
  • Time off without pay (if an employee requests) – Many employees just want to take a couple hours off for a family event. Show your ability to be very flexible with those kinds of hours.
  • Extended time off during holidays – Sometimes the time off is more important to your employees than the pay. 

Keep Your Costs Low

Set up benefits that big companies offer but keep the company’s side of the costs low. You can offer a 401k, or similar savings plan, where perhaps the company matches the first $500 per year, or something very modest. For those who cannot find health coverage outside of the company, like through a spouse, negotiate a modest wage bonus that you would pay employees each month. This allows the employee to use that money to buy their own insurance. Set it up so that the bonus is removed if/when your company does begin to offer health insurance to everyone someday.

Find Affordable Options for Health Insurance

If your startup is ready to offer health insurance, start researching affordable options. According to the Missouri Department of Insurance, health insurance plans available to small businesses include Comprehensive Major Medical Plans and Limited Benefits Plans. Comprehensive Major Medical Plans offer employees a network of healthcare providers at lower rates. Limited Benefits Plans are based on specific healthcare needs.

Research Dental Insurance

According to Delta Dental, there are dental plans that cost less than $1 per day per employee. They even offer voluntary benefits where all or a portion of the cost is transferred from the employer to the employees. This option is easier on them than seeking out their own coverage as this plan can result in reduced rates. Cigna also discusses the different types of dental insurance on their website, which you can read through and make comparisons.

Meet with Custom Technologies

The tips listed above are a great starting point for any startup, but it’s not all the expertise that Custom Technologies has to offer. Our Minimum Viable Launch™ approach includes every step from ideation to launch. Setting up a new business can seem just as difficult as coming up with your first idea, so let us handle everything as your one-stop manufacturer. We’re not just consultants, we’re a team of experienced and professional doers.

Contact us online, call us at (573) 756-1433, or email us at to learn more.