Small Biz Owners Worry Benefits Cost Could Stunt Growth

October 26, 2009 ( - 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.

A press release from Intuit about its Q309 Payroll Survey said 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. 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 .