Enabling TechnologyEngaged WorkforcePayroll

Resource Guide—Payroll Case Study

To make outsourcing truly effective for ideal image, the hair-removal services company needed a razor-sharp provider that can accommodate its rapid growth.

by Dean Akers, CEO, Ideal Image

Tampa, FL-based Ideal Image, founded in 2001, is a national laser hair removal clinic that has expanded to more than 50 sites across the U.S., with additional international locations. When I joined Ideal Image as CEO in 2004, I knew our growth potential was significant.

To maintain focus on serving our customers and growing our business, we knew that we would need a strong partner to manage our payroll, human resources (HR), compliance, benefits administration, and risk mitigation services. My own experience partnering with outsourcing in a prior business made it an obvious choice. Ideal Image wanted to grow, and we needed a provider to support our national growth.

Since engaging Advantec, also based in Tampa, in 2004, Ideal Image has added 53 locations. Our projections call for nearly twice that number by the end of 2007. We will expand from 300 employees to as many as 600 during the next 18 months.

Ideal Image contracts with Advantec in a co-employment outsourcing relationship, which provides the flexibility to purchase our medical benefits directly from the carrier. Advantec manages this distinction, making it seamless for all employees. For us, the value in a co-employment relationship is the consultative support provided to Ideal Image.

Prior to partnering with Advantec, Ideal Image tried the traditional national payroll vendor approach with Paychex. We had managed the HR, risk, compliance, and benefits on our own. The result was an inefficient process that also muddled our ability to focus on strategic decision-making. We chose to partner with Advantec to leverage the compliance support and best practices expertise that co-employment can provide in addition to the full range of traditional administrative services support: payroll, tax, benefits, and others.

Should our business model change—leading us to consider a move from PEO to an Administrative Service Offering (ASO) or Human Resource Outsourcing (HRO) model, we know that Advantec could accommodate us by leveraging its core competencies in the co-employment model.

The provider offers Ideal Image with best practices consultative support through its SHRM-certified Human Capital Consultants (HCCs). Our HCC has been with us since we first contracted with Advantec in 2004. She provides us best practices advice and compliance consulting just as if she were an Ideal Image employee. The value of its consultative support touches on every area of our business and has been a strong component of our success. In comparison with the national payroll service approach, co-employment outsourcing has easily saved the FTE equivalent of two or three highly knowledgeable HR and compliance experts. The compliance consulting support we receive from Advantec, through our HCC, is essential to Ideal Image. In a rapid growth mode, we cannot afford to find ourselves out of compliance.

As a privately held company, Ideal Image is ready to open our books when a potential investor comes to conduct due diligence. We can do so with peace of mind, knowing that our records are compliant because of outsourcing. This confidence provides us with more time to devote to the strategic parts of investor discussions, enhancing our success in generating capital to drive our business goals. Compliance support from a third party means not just having to worry about the down side; it enables Ideal Image to enjoy the freedom to focus on moving forward.

Advantec’s consulting services have been essential in sustaining our rapid growth and in allowing us to set up our franchises in a manner that optimizes flexibility. Because Ideal Image holds a right of first refusal on each franchise location, we needed our franchises set up so that if we repurchase one, it rolls into our HR infrastructure seamlessly. With outsourced payroll, tax, and compliance, we know that if we repurchased all our franchises tomorrow, we would face no significant HR-related issues. The value in that level of service is immeasurable, and knowing that we can execute quickly is like money in the bank.

Through Advantec, Ideal Image conducts employee satisfaction surveys every six months. The feedback we receive has allowed us to maintain Ideal Image’s positive corporate culture, retain our best employees, and attract new talent. Enjoying these benefits without having to take the time to conduct the survey and analyze the results ourselves leaves more time to focus on corporate strategy and growth.

Tags: Enabling Technology, Engaged Workforce, Payroll

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