Faulkner has hired a sales manager, its first new employee since the third quarter of last year. Up next: salespeople, workers to service cars and employees who develop new sources of revenue.
Small businesses held off hiring until they had enough business to justify taking more risks. As recently as March, an American Express survey found 76 percent of owners planned to hire only when their revenue rose.
The ripple effect from growth in construction and consumer spending are feeding the increase, says Susan Woodward, an economist who helps software maker Intuit compile its hiring surveys.
PAMPERING IS BACK
Liliana Aranda's business began picking up in March. Her 4-year-old company, Faces By Liliana, gives facials, massages and other spa treatments in homes or offices in the San Francisco area. Her business has done well since its start, but she never needed to hire. When clients held spa parties for their friends, she looked for freelancers to help.
In early spring, Aranda suddenly started getting more appointments. She attributes the bump in business to people splurging again after the recession and its aftermath.
"They make a point of saying, I've earned this, I'm going to treat myself, and I'm not afraid to spend a little more," she says.
The size of Aranda's spa parties was larger than in the past — 11 to 14 people compared to six to eight. Revenue is up 20 percent so far this year. The increase in business made hiring three part-time employees who she could always rely on a necessity.
A REGION RECOVERS
The recovery in South Florida's real estate market and economy has allowed Tadd Schwartz's public relations firm to step up its hiring. Schwartz Media Strategies usually hired one or two employees annually the past six years, but in the last three months, he's added three full-time staffers and two interns, putting his payroll at 17. That's up from 12 staffers a year ago.
Schwartz has been confident enough to hire before sealing a deal with new clients. He wants to have enough people on staff to hit the ground running when a contract is signed.
"We want to position our firm so we're not only able to service our clients, but be in a position where we don't have to say no to the right client," he says.
Schwartz Media's revenue is up about 16 percent so far in 2014. If Schwartz lands two or three more big accounts, he says he will start recruiting again.