Interview with Pamela Cormack and Karen Grieve from Family Payroll

Find out how business partners Pamela Cormack and Karen Grieve started their business Family Payroll almost by accident.

What’s your career background?  

Pamela: I’m the founder of Family Payroll Ltd and a single mum to a nine-year-old son, and I have more than 20 years’ experience in the care sector. In 2018 I set up another business, Lothian Childcare Solutions, a Childcare Agency that recruits and provides childcare workers to families such as nannies and mother’s helps.

Before that I worked as a practitioner in nurseries, as a deputy project leader in a children and families project and then as an inspector with the Care Commission (now Care Inspectorate) inspecting early years services across Scotland.

Karen: I’m a mum to two grown-up sons, with over 15 years’ experience in HR Administration, Finance and Operations under my belt. I have recently gained an accountancy qualification too and I’m fully committed to furthering my studies. I’m Pamela’s Business Partner and really proud of that!

Where did the idea for your business come from?  

Pamela: It’s really a follow-on from Lothian Childcare Solutions. When getting to know my clients and discussing their needs, I was being asked by more and more families if Lothian Childcare Solutions could run payroll for the nanny I had placed with them.

Instead of recommending other payroll providers I really felt that I wanted to offer families an extension of the service we had provided  them with so far. They needed us! Family Payroll Ltd was born. 

How did you move from idea to actual business?  

Pamela: Moving this idea over to a business felt like a natural progression with the families whom we had nurtured and built a relationship with through Lothian Childcare Solutions. With the help of a legal expert, HR consultant and an Accounts Coach we pulled everything we needed together to get our first clients started with us. 

Karen: I agree completely. Creating a bespoke service to offer our help with payroll for the people the families employ in their home felt very natural. Everything else was sheer grit and determination, and we both loved every minute of it! We are incredibly passionate about improving these families’ work-life balance by removing the burden of the administration that goes with being an employer and giving them just one less thing to worry about.

What’s your USP?  

Karen: We know that, since we started, we have been able to provide a very personal service to each client who has contacted us. We are on first name terms and have taken time to get to know about their family life and their needs – we even know their carers’ names.

We know that taking the time to do this has allowed us to support them with lots of other things including working closely with our sister company, Lothian Childcare Solutions, to find the right person, suited to their personal situation, and help with paying for their childcare using a Tax Free Childcare account for example.

What’s been the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome?  

Pamela: We launched the business in the middle of a global pandemic and just before a national lockdown. Despite this we kept a positive mindset and a determined attitude. Nannies, carers and personal assistants were valuable key workers and still had their job to do and we had a service to provide to our clients. 

One of the main obstacles was definitely not being able to network as we would have normally done with a new business, but we have worked hard to overcome the issues and turn them into positives.

Karen: We both agree that a positive attitude and a truly bespoke, attentive service is what our clients needed most, and that’s what we went for.

And your proudest moment so far?  

Pamela: Being featured in press articles and seeing what we have actually achieved in a short space of time has really boosted our confidence and sense of purpose!

Why is work so important to you?  

Karen: Although we are both naturally caring and nurturing people, we are also very ambitious. We love that fact that we can do a job with great purpose which helps families and individuals to have the care at home that they need, while we make their lives easier.

Who inspires you?  

Pamela: We are members of some amazing Ladies in Business groups where the theme of support and upliftment is key. We are always inspired by those women who successfully juggle work/business and family life; women should not have to sacrifice family time to have a successful business, nor should their business suffer if they need to spend quality time with their family. 

Karen: We also inspire each other, with our ideas and being there to give each other a boost when needed. We both have strengths in different areas which compliment each other really well.

Fond out more about Family Payroll.