This is a question that small business owners face all the time. The business has been doing well and you’re ready to hire a new employee or two. Instead of taking the time to go through an exhaustive hiring process, you might remember that cousin Eddy has some sales experience, or maybe your sister is currently looking for work. Whatever the case, there is a lot to consider before you hire a relative. You already have a personal relationship with them, and now you’re trying to build a professional relationship—sometimes that works out, and sometimes it doesn’t. Here are the pros and cons that you should think about before hiring a family member to help you out in your energy brokerage.


Right off the bat, you probably have a good idea of whether or not this person is going to fit in well at your business. You know if you can stand seeing them every day, and you probably have a good idea whether they’re actually qualified to do the work. You also have some idea of their reliability. These are all things that you might be able to figure out interviewing a stranger, but not always. The best part about hiring a family member is that you usually know what you’re getting before you hire them.

Also remember that your family members have a vested interest in seeing your business succeed. There’s a greater chance that they’ll be willing to go the extra mile or pitch in during an emergency.

And if you want your business to be family owned and operated, then by all means, hire away, but most people find themselves in a situation where they’re hiring on a family member to their already established business…which brings us to the cons.


You won’t be able to take emotion out of the picture. Keeping personal and professional relationships separate is great on paper, but rarely works out in the real world.

It will be hard to treat them just like any other employee. This doesn’t always mean favoritism either. You may wind up asking them to help out more, or do more because they’re family, and that can make them feel put-upon, straining your relationship.

Your other employees will probably resent them. No matter what you do, you’re going to be in a bind. If they perform well and you reward them, it looks like nepotism. If they don’t perform well, then it still looks like nepotism because they’re not performing but still have a job. Which brings us to the last point…

You might not be able to fire them. If it’s a close family member, firing them may cause so much family discord that you can’t bring yourself to do it. But guess what? Not firing them is also putting you and your business under a tremendous amount of pressure. You run the risk of ruining your business, or ruining relationships in your family—not a great situation to be in.

So you can see that there are quite a few things to take into consideration if you’re thinking about hiring a family member. Our best advice is don’t rush the decision, and don’t make it based purely on emotion.

For more tips on building a successful energy broker business, check out our blog at Broker Online Exchange.