By Daniel Hunter

According to research by Direct Line for Business (DL4B), more than half (51 per cent) of small trade business owners and managers rely on spouses and partners to help run their company.

The research by DL4B revealed that 46 per cent of small trade business owners and key decision makers rely on their partners to carry out general business administration while one in five (19 per cent) employ their partner as a receptionist.

In fact more than one in seven (14 per cent) trust their partners to look after legal and accounting services. A further 8 per cent of small trade business owners and key decision makers look to their partners to carry out sales, marketing and new business generation responsibilities.

However despite small trade business owners and key decision makers suggesting their partners work on average two days a week (with one in four working three or more days a week), nearly a third (31 per cent) do not pay their partner any money at all.

This selfless contribution is particularly apparent as DL4B’s research showed that on average, partners have been helping each other for over four and a half years. In addition, two in three (65 per cent) people who help out in their partner’s small trade businesses have other employment elsewhere. Of these, one in four (26 per cent) work full time and two in five (39 per cent) work part time at another business.

“Small businesses are crucial in re-energising the UK economy. It is therefore, heartening to see partners working together to help sustain these small companies despite not being fully financially compensated and in many cases not paid at all," Jazz Gakhal, Head of Direct Line for Business commented.

"It is clear that small trade businesses are seeking voluntary help from their partners to avoid high legal, secretarial or IT support fees but it is vital that these businesses ensure their partners are adequately covered in event of an accident.”

The research by DL4B looked at small trade businesses employing less than five people with an average annual turnover of around £124,000.