Opportunity USA

Straight talk from a small business crippled by shutdown

Had to lay off some 80% of staff on shutdown: YPO member

Some of the 450,000 federal workers who were sent home Oct. 1 have just received their final paychecks until D.C. reopens for business.

Those federal workers who are trying to make ends meet with those last dollars are not alone: A whole group of private workers are in the same boat.

This is how the shutdown trickles down to private business.

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Take NASA's Johnson Space Center. It's still on standby to bring back workers—only about 100 employees out of the 3,150 civil servants who work at the center remain on the job.

But the Space Center's closing is hitting private workers hard, as well.

More than 2,000 private employees contracted to work with the center have been furloughed. Should the shutdown continue, that number could skyrocket by the end of the month, to nearly 10,000.

That's just one part of one agency whose shutdown has sent shock waves through the labor force. Private businesses nationwide are seeing large drops in revenues and personnel.

(Read more: How the shutdown is hurting Main Street America)

We are praying that Washington will reopen for business so that we may rehire our people and get back to work.
John Tucker
Owner and founder of Laser Imaging Plus

It's what John Tucker, the owner of Laser Imaging Plus in Los Angeles, has been dealing with since Day One of the shutdown.

"Not only did all our sales stop, but we also have not been able to collect on invoices and orders that were previously shipped," he said.

Laser Imaging Plus provides office supplies to a number of federal agencies, including the departments of defense and labor. With government contracts accounting for 80 percent of the company's revenues, Tucker has been forced to lay off many employees, some of who have been with him for over 10 years.

Last week, Tucker—who is also part of CNBC's YPO Chief Executive Network—was forced to lay off his entire sales team and "all but a couple of administrative people in order to just hold on for dear life while this insanity continues."

Tucker shared the hardships his employees are going through, providing a snapshot of how quickly a shutdown can affect workers.

One employee who has four children has been doing whatever he can, including driving on a spare tire, to cut household expenses. Another is unsure how she will be able to afford the care her autistic son needs as her unemployment check won't cut it.

Tucker said he was preparing to dip into his life savings just to keep his 20-year-old company on life support. He plans to hire his staff back as soon as revenues begin flowing back into his coffers.

"We are praying that Washington will reopen for business so that we may rehire our people and get back to work."

—By CNBC's Anthony Volastro.