Small-business owners “working longer hours than doctors”

New research from Prospa, online lender for small business, shows a quarter of Australia’s small-business owners are clocking up more hours per week than the average doctor, and that a third will not be taking any time off over Christmas.

Working long hours

10 per cent of small-business owners report they work between 50 and 59 hours a week, with 16 per cent putting in 60 hours or more. This means over a quarter are working 50+ hours each week. Combined with the fact 24 per cent of small-business owners report working seven days a week, it is clear that Australia’s entrepreneurs are working harder than ever.

The sectors putting in the longest hours are transport, primary industries like agricultural and mining, financial services and insurance.

No Christmas break

Spare a thought for the huge number of small-business owners working through the holidays. Just over a third (34 per cent) of small-business owners work the same number of days during the summer holiday period as they usually do, without taking a break.

Unsurprisingly, the industry working the longest hours over Christmas time is hair and beauty, but primary industries (such as mining and agriculture) and arts and lifestyle businesses are not far behind. Retail business owners also take very little time off over the holiday period.

Significantly, of the small-business owners who do take time off over Christmas, nearly a quarter (23 per cent) continue to work remotely while they’re away.

Involuntary leave

A third of business owners, including industries like building and trade, are forced to shut down because their customers are on holiday. However, they still have staff and suppliers to pay even when there is no money coming in.

Greg Moshal, joint CEO of Prospa, says, “The holiday period poses unique challenges for small-business owners. Some, in industries like retail and hospitality, need extra funds to staff up or stock up so they can take advantage of busy periods. Others need extra funds to help manage cashflow and pay fixed overheads while staff and customers go on holiday.”

Beau Bertoli, joint CEO of Prospa, adds, “We’ve been small-business owners ourselves, and know how critical cashflow over Christmas can be, so we offer a repayment holiday to help.”