Small Biz Owners Worry Benefits Cost Could Stunt Growth

A new survey finds small business owners are ready to pick up hiring, but feel the inability to afford benefits may hinder them from attracting new employees.

Intuit’s Q309 Payroll Survey found nearly 90% of survey participants indicated they believe health insurance benefits are important to attracting and retaining good employees, yet 58% do not offer health care insurance, according to a press release. Nearly 50% of those who do not offer health care insurance stated they cannot afford it.

The survey found employer-provided retirement plans are even scarcer. According to the press release, just one-fourth of businesses surveyed offer retirement benefits. Of those who do not, nearly two-thirds said it is because they do not have a responsibility to do so, while the remainder said that they cannot find an affordable plan.

Forty-four percent of small business owners surveyed are planning to hire new employees within the next 12 months, and 60% said they expect their business to grow in the next year. The survey found newer businesses are the most bullish: 80% of companies founded less than three years ago expect to grow over the next year, compared to roughly half that have been in operation for 10 years or more.

The third-quarter 2009 Intuit Payroll Survey was conducted by Global Strategy Group from September 21-30, with 1,004 Intuit Payroll customers responding.

More survey findings can be found at