PAYING the living wage makes good business sense for small companies as well as large ones, according to funeral director Ross Anderson.

He believes the costs of increasing staff wages to the living wage are outweighed by the return in their commitment to the job.

Started by his grandfather, Andrew Anderson, in Callander in 1969, Andrew Anderson and Sons was originally a joinery business, and then branched out into the funeral trade.

Ross started working with his grandfather nine years ago and on Andrew’s retiral in 2014 he took over, starting to grow the business and employ more staff.

“My real passion is helping families when they are at their lowest point,” said Ross.

“The business is growing because we are known to provide a good service and work hard for families. We have a brand now, a website and everything is on computer whereas in my granddad’s time it was all done in pen and paper.

“We have also made it possible that families only need to come to us. We can sort the flowers out, the cup of tea after the service and even the headstone, so we take the full burden off the family when it comes to organising the funeral.”

In April the company opened a second branch in Balfron, taking on more staff. There are now two full-time members of staff, including Anderson, one part-time and three on-call staff.

“Before we opened up the second branch there was only myself and a part time member of staff but we knew we were going to be employing more people and did not just want to look after the clients but also the staff,” said Anderson.

“We wanted them to know they were being looked after and not paid the minimum wage but the living wage.

“One of the reasons I knew about it is that Stirling Council signed up to it and we deal with them and thought it was a good thing to do. It is not that much more of an increase in costs but it can mean a lot to the individual, especially if they have a family. I think even small companies can afford it.”

Added Anderson: “I want the staff to feel they are being rewarded for providing a good service. We were not far off paying the living wage anyway, but even that slight increase helps. We are not a huge company; we are family-run but we would strongly recommend any company to do it, large or small.

“People should be rewarded for what they do. On the minimum wage they are just scraping by but on the living wage they have that chance to do a little more, which is especially important in the current economic climate.

“I feel it is essential to look after people because if we look after the staff they will buy into our ethos and look after the families.”

Since it was launched in April 2014, more than 500 organisations in Scotland have signed up to the scheme to become accredited as official living wage employers, giving their workers at least £8.25 per hour.