Industry sector: Leisure

Golf driving range: Wages

Money which you take from the business to cover your own personal living expenses is known as 'Drawings'. This should not be included here, but will be dealt with elsewhere in the cash flow.

Before you can make an estimate of the wages you will pay each month to your employees you will need to identify the work that must be done and how many people will be needed to do it.

Staff duties

To run the driving range side of the business the duties that you or your staff will carry out include:

  • serving customers. Depending on the system that you operate this may involve manually giving the customers buckets of balls and taking the money from them or, if your system is automated, it may simply involve giving customers change or tokens for the ball dispensing machine. (You may also decide to provide change machines, further reducing the need for someone to serve range customers who only need balls)
  • hiring out clubs
  • collecting up the balls from the field
  • cleaning the balls
  • filling the ball dispensers
  • positioning the targets and yardage markers
  • general maintenance
  • mowing the field
  • giving lessons. For your lessons to appeal to potential students, you'll probably need to engage a properly qualified golf professional

When engaging a professional, give some thought as what the financial arrangement between you will be. For example, you could:

  • employ a professional on a salary basis and you keep the proceeds from the lessons
  • pay the professional a retainer and let him or her keep the proceeds from the lessons
  • allow a self-employed professional to give lessons in your range in exchange for an annual rent

As part of the agreement, you may also decide that a professional engaged on a salary or retainer basis will run a golf equipment retailing outlet from the premises.

Don't forget that engaging the services of a respected professional can enhance the profile of your business. You may wish to specially fit out one of the bays for giving lessons in. This could be wider than normal to accommodate two people (the professional and the pupil) and, if you can afford it, could be fitted with video analysis equipment.

You may find that, aside from giving lessons, you do not need a great deal of help in running the driving range, especially if you are prepared to work fairly long hours (many ranges open from 8.00 am to 10.00 pm). You could collect and clean the balls and fill the ball dispensers in the evenings and mornings when the range is not open and then spend the day dealing with customers. Alternatively, you may find that part-time staff, who may be paid by the hour, are a useful asset.

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:

  • 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 employment legislation which you should be aware of
  • you will have to pay employer's National Insurance Contributions (NICs) and you will have to operate PAYE in 'real time'. You may have to make employers' minimum contributions to an auto-enrolment pension scheme too

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