That’s it…you’ve had it. There just aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done, especially the time-consuming but all-important task of setting appointments. It’s either run yourself into an early grave or hire a scheduler and after careful consideration, you’ve decided that hiring a scheduler is the better option.
Looking at your options may inadvertently widen the field, not narrow it. Schedulers can be grouped into three distinct categories: independent schedulers, scheduling “brokers” (companies that assist in helping you hire independent schedulers) and firms whose schedulers have W-2s.
So, what does all of that mean? Let us help clear up the mystery.
Independent schedulers are exactly that: independent. They are contractors who are not affiliated with any company. They are instead out on their own, making a name for themselves one client at a time. They are typically the least expensive of the group, but that savings could cost you dearly later down the road. Because they are working on a contract basis, independent schedulers are free from any required training or education.
But how is that different from any entry-level position for which you might hire? A lot different, actually. Workers who are classified as independent contractors may not only lack training, you, as an employer, cannot legally require them to take any. You also can’t legally supervise or discipline an independent scheduler, nor can you require them to have certain types of equipment or software. Consider this: how comfortable are you with sharing your data with a scheduler who works using a shared spreadsheet from a home computer that is also used by her three high schoolers?
Finally, you can’t require your independent scheduler to pay their taxes and since it’s easier for the government to go after companies than it is to go after individuals, you may be stuck with your contractor’s tax liability.
Certainly this is a better option, right? Well, not so fast.
While going through a company to hire a scheduler may seem like a good way to avoid expensive mistakes, if you are matched with an independent contractor, you will be the exact same boat as above. It doesn’t matter how you find them…if your scheduler is independent, you are on the hook for just about everything.
The final of the three scheduler-hiring options is a firm whose schedulers are W-2 employees. In this case, your scheduler is an actual employee of the scheduling company: their paycheck comes from that company (not directly from you) and they are held to that company’s training, equipment and compliance standards as a condition of their employment.
W-2 scheduling firms, like ESA, also pay state and federal taxes and carry worker’s comp, liability and unemployment insurance on their schedulers, meaning that your liability is nearly zero.
Don’t be overwhelmed by your scheduling options. Educate yourself on the right choice for you and what it could mean down the road. Knowledge is power!