Money which you take from the business to cover your own personal living expenses is known as 'Drawings'. This shouldn't be included in the cash flow under 'Wages' - it'll be dealt with elsewhere.

Decide first whether your business will need any employees. Think about the size of business that you want to run. Perhaps you aim to start off small and build up gradually. Consider too whether some of the jobs could be done by a business partner if you have one - or perhaps by a family member helping out from time to time.

Before you can make an estimate of how much you might pay in wages each month, you'll need to identify the work that must be done and how many people - if any - will be needed to do it.

Employees' duties

You might need employees to:

  • run the outlet when you're not there - you may be away regularly on buying trips
  • help you in the outlet at times when it's busy, or perhaps full time
  • do jobs like cleaning and polishing salvage items
  • do specialist skilled work like stripping, repairs, conservation and restoration
  • manage your website and keep stock listings up to date
  • package items up for shipping
  • collect and deliver items
  • answer the telephone and attend to administrative tasks

The wages you pay your employees will depend on their level of experience, and also to some extent on what is the going rate in your area. The Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE), which is carried out by the government, gives average weekly wages (national and regional) for a wide range of different types of job. The survey is available online on the Office for National Statistics (ONS) website. Don't forget:

  • you could use a combination of part time and full time workers
  • people who have an interest in the trade may be prepared to work for relatively low wages to gain experience - and because they enjoy it
  • the National Minimum Wage Act sets a minimum amount that you must pay your staff. Workers aged 25 and over receive a Living Wage premium on top of the standard National Minimum Wage
  • there is other employment legislation which you should be aware of
  • you will have to pay employer's National Insurance Contributions (NICs) and you'll have to operate PAYE in 'real time'. You may have to make employers' minimum contributions to an auto-enrolment pension scheme too

Ideally any retail staff you employ will be enthusiastic and knowledgeable about the products you stock, and will be able to answer questions from would-be buyers. Decide whether retail staff will have the authority to haggle over price, or whether you will be the only person in the business who can agree a discount.

In the cash flow, just put the amounts you'll actually pay to staff after you have deducted NICs and PAYE - you will show these separately. Include here the cost of staff pensions.