How to manage staff rostering & costs for FREE

Staff costs are one of the largest expenses for any business. It is critical that staff rostering and costs are aligned to ensure you are employing based on what your business can actually afford, not on what you think you need.

While cloud-based technology has now been developed to make managing staff easier, these Apps (e.g. Deputy and Tanda) can be quite expensive and, in some cases, like small businesses with a small number of staff, an outright waste of money. How can you manage staff rostering and costs for FREE? Follow these 3 steps.

1. Set your wage budget

When it comes to rostering, it’s best to work backwards. Set the amount you can afford to spend on wages (including superannuation!) and form a roster to fit within your ‘budget’. The first step is to set a wage budget. For our example, we use the ATO benchmark for a small takeaway food services business and set the wage budget at (a maximum) 22% of total net sales (i.e. total sales less GST). So, if you are going to create a roster for the coming week, estimate your weekly net sales (say, $10,000) and calculate your wage budget (0.22x$10,000=$2,200).

2. Create a roster

For businesses with a small number of employees, say less than 10, it is relatively easy to create a roster using Excel and email it to your staff. Get in touch with us, and we’ll send you a FREE Excel template to use. Of course, Apps have now been developed to simplify employee scheduling, but they can be quite expensive. What if you could use the benefits of a scheduling App to manage your staff for FREE? You can!

Sling is a FREE employee scheduling App specialized for the hospitality industry. The free version of Sling allows the user to schedule employees and handle internal communication for unlimited number of users and locations. Find it on the App Store and get scheduling!

3. Align the roster and budget

Finally, you need to align your proposed roster with your wage budget. To do this, set up a very simple table in Excel (see a weekly wage costing below). In the left column, list all the different hourly rates you have in your roster. Then, add a column with the number of hours at each rate and calculate the row totals. Estimate the superannuation amount (9.5%) and calculate the total wage cost. You can then adjust the hours offered to ensure your roster does not exceed your budget. Once this is set up, you will only need to make minor adjustments as your week-to-week rostering is likely to be reasonably consistent

Weekly wage costing


Projected Net Sales



Wage Budget


















Super (9.5%)





The free version of Sling doesn’t have a timesheet component. But, most (good) accounting software packages, like Xero, have a free employee portal where employees can submit timesheets and view payslips.

Paying staff is already a significant cost without having to pay for an App just to manage them. Using Sling combined with a simple Excel spreadsheet is an effective way to manage staff and ensure your rosters do not exceed your wage budget.


wage budget blog

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