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Hiring Telecommuters

Before you set up employees in their own home offices, make sure you can handle the costs.

By Gisela M. Pedroza

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Things are going well for your homebased business. So well, infact, that you've decided to hire your first employee. But youlike working from home, so you've decided to allow them to dothe same. Before you do, make sure you're only hiring employeescapable of handling the responsibilities of working from home.There are many things to consider, and job fulfillment is just thebeginning--make sure you're ready to handle the costs involved,too.

But working from home is supposed to be cheaper, right? Well,you won't have to pay an office lease, but you'll stillhave to equip an office. For Lisa Wilson, founder and CEO ofVisiTech PRin Denver, whose eight employees work from their homes, the processof finding the right employees hasn't been easy, nor has itbeen cheap. After leaving a traditional office-based high-tech PRfirm to start her own firm in 1998, Wilson decided she would onlyhire people with eight to 10 years of experience in the high-techPR niche, counting on their experience and maturity to ensure thatthey would be working when they were supposed to. Even thoughWilson is not paying the lease on an office, she figures her costsare about the same because she provides all her employees withindividual office furniture and equipment, phone lines andhigh-speed Internet access as well as a budget for office supplies.Plus, because her employees have more experience, she also payshigher salaries and offers competitive benefits. And even thoughall but one of her employees is within a 30-minute drive fromWilson's home office, providing IT support can also be an issuesince not everyone is in one place.

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