Bigger Payroll For Multi-Location Retail

Your small retail store has done well and is ready to expand. You are considering opening a second or even third location. While this is an exciting time for your business you’ll find that some of the paperwork is overwhelming. A bigger payroll can bring its own problems, depending on where you are opening your new store. Here are some pointers for handling the bigger payroll you’ll have when you increase your store locations.


Your EIN or employer identification number is available from the IRS. Fill in a form SS-4, and you’ll get an EIN that allows you to report taxes for your retail store.

Employees vs. Independent Contractors

Normally, retail stores have employees, rather than independent contractors (IC). An IC usually offers services that are paid for on a by-job basis. For example, a small music studio that employs additional teachers may pay them as ICs.

However, be sure that you know all of the differences. In some cases, you may be in danger of breaking the law by classifying an employee as an IC. Check with an accountant to find out for sure what you should do as you expand your business. New locations may have different requirements, especially if you are going out of state to open your second or third store.

The main difference between an employee and an IC is that you have to pay taxes on an employee. Withholding for bigger payrolls may require the use of an accountant.

Payroll Systems

Be sure that as you expand, adding more retail stores, you use the same payroll system between the stores. If you find a manager that can handle payroll for his or her store, that’s great. But, see if they can handle payroll for both stores in order to keep it consistent. Otherwise, you may be better off hiring an accountant. Reporting and paying all payroll taxes are ultimately your responsibility as the owner, so you want it as consistent as possible.

Pay Period

You may have implemented a certain pay period at your store that works well for your employees. Don’t change it at other stores. Keep the same pay period, or you could end up with a lot of confusion and dissatisfaction among your employees. It is very hard to run payroll for a variety of pay periods, and mistakes can harm your employees.

Time Off

Another big change in how you run your stores may be in time off for employees. With one store, while you were in charge, you may have been more flexible with time off, whether paid or unpaid.

Now, however, with a bigger payroll, you’ll need a written policy. This will apply to paid time off, overtime, and other payroll issues. Compensation may also be in the form of benefits such as health insurance. All of these need to be either added to or deducted from the employees’ paychecks according to policy. Document your policies, and stick to them.

Employee Satisfaction

People work for the paycheck. If you don’t provide them with their paycheck, you create hardships for them – they can’t make a car payment, put food on the table, or even buy gas to get to work. You also set yourself up for legal action.

Statistics show that about 33% of new employees quit their jobs after only 6 months. This creates a real problem for employers who find themselves training new employees over and over again. Of the employees who stay, a third of them will start looking for a new job if they don’t get a pay raise after the first year.


Along with steady, fair pay, you must make sure your employees know what is expected of them. If you put too much into expectations, they will never measure up and look for another job. If you don’t set high enough expectations, they will let important details slide, hurting the store. Talk to other store owners, read industry journals and participate in online forums to find out what some realistic expectations are for your employees. Clear expectations are crucial when you are putting a dollar value on your employees’ time.