Hiring Independent Contractors


Sometimes hiring a full-time employee just doesn’t make sense. Maybe you don’t have 40 hours’ worth of work for them to do every month, or maybe you don’t have hiring privileges. It could be a money and benefits thing or even a control issue. Regardless, hiring a full-time employee isn’t always an option.

The next-logical step is looking into part-time employees. This can be a great option if you know exactly what kind of work you need done and when you will need it to be completed. Part-time employees can become a problem when your needs fluctuate. You may have multiple hours of work one week while only needing some light assistance the following week. This becomes tricky because your part-time employee may have another part-time gig that takes up her hours when she’s not working with you. After all, life requires a full-time job…or at least two part-time jobs.

Finally, you have the option of hiring an independent contractor. These workers can be a God-send, giving you the flexibility to use them when you need them and back away when things slow down. You aren’t responsible for their taxes or insurance and there is no shortage of independent assistants ready to work for you.

But all that glitters is not gold.

Hiring an independent contractor is not to be entered into lightly.

First, how do you know they are who they say they are? The chances are they are honest, legitimate workers…but there are always those bad apples that sneak in to ruin the bunch. Background checks are costly and time-consuming, but they are imperative when you’re hiring a contractor.

Second is their work experience. Are you sure you’re getting what you’re paying for? Resumes are easily fudged, so be sure you verify all prior employment and call all references.

Finally, you need to consider supervision. Under US labor laws, independent contractors cannot be told how or when to do their job. Essentially, you are at their mercy to get the job done correctly and on time. And if the work isn’t done correctly or on time? You have no legal recourse other than to cancel the contract (and hope you put a clause in there that allows for cancellation under certain circumstances).

Of course, there’s also compliance. If your contractor is found to not be compliant in his or her work, the government can come after you and your company for the non-compliant work done on your behalf.

Independent contractors are a great thing…but know your legal liabilities when hiring one. Make sure you cover your bases in researching your potential hire’s background and knowledge of the work he or she will be doing so that you aren’t stuck with an expensive (and possibly life-altering) mistake.

The ESA Advantage

Executive Scheduling Associates combines the convenience of a part-time contractor with the quality control of a full-time employee.

All of our schedulers are W-2 employees of ESA. That means that our team of account managers can legally train, oversee, and coach on our staff on the practices we've developed in our 12 years of scheduling. Our initial and on-going trainings mean that your scheduler will always be aware of the latest compliance protocols and best scheduling practices. Our company and team meetings foster regular, open conversation so that nothing is ever lost in translation.

Leaving your contracted workers to fate can be a costly error in supervision. Let us manage your scheduler so you can focus on your product and sales.

Have you ever made a hiring snafu? Tell us about it in the comments below.

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