Sunday, January 17, 2010

Hiring independent contractors

Expanding a small business

Poway Pet Care is not a startup, in fact I have been doing this for over 10 years now. But I hope this year will be a transition year for me, where I expand and add subcontractors to help me handle the workload. I will continue to do all the pet sitting visits, but I need help with in-home boarding for dogs.

It’s a scary proposition. I worry about entrusting my precious clients’ pets to someone new. Will they care for them like I do? Will they know what to do in an emergency? Do they really know a lot about caring for dogs? Can they handle doggy conflicts? Housetraining issues? Chewing? Hiring the right people is the key.

On the other hand, some dogs will do better in a home where they with just a few dogs. When I am really busy with boarding, I sometimes have up to 11 dogs here plus my own. That is like a doggy daycare, and pretty hectic. Older dogs and those that are not very sociable will do better in a quiet environment. Some dogs are just overwhelmed in a big group. You see it all the time at the dog park—a dog cowering under his owner or the nearby picnic table.

Independent Contractors

So I am researching how to go about hiring independent contractors. There’s a lot of information out there, and legal requirements vary by state. The penalties are stiff if you do it wrong. A good place to start your research is your state’s Department of Labor website.

Federal requirements (and penalties) are also very specific. Go to and enter independent contractor in the search box for a series of articles on how to determine if your workers fit the profile. This one is a good place to start: “Independent Contractor or employee”

Here are two sources for hiring “kits” that do a lot of the preparation (paperwork, etc.) for you:

If you are a member of PSI, The forums have discussions about hiring and managing independent contractors and employees.

There’s lot to do before you hire that first helper. Prepare contracts, schedules, interview question, want ads, payment and procedures before you start looking for people. I am still in the research phase. It’s a big leap to go to the next step. I’ll keep you posted!

Photo above: Rex the Lab and Oliver the terrier share a stick.

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© 2009 Terry Albert. All Rights Reserved.


Joshua said...

Hi Terry -

First of all, I want to say thanks for including my IC Tool Box in your article.

And second, as scary as it may be for you now, I can assure you that when you get through the initial hiring phase, it'll become a huge relief to have found someone to join your team.

Make sure you do take the necessary time up front so you can be sure to do everything properly.

Can't wait to follow your journey, and please let me know if you have any other questions.

Creator, PetSittingOlogy

info said...

Are there different laws for each state. Do you need to go through a lawyer to prepare this properly?

Terry Albert said...

There are federal and state laws to consider. Check out the IRS site, check with your tax accountant, and then with the state. I don't know if you need a lawyer to figure it out. Do be sure your ICs can provide a certificate of insurance. Your insurance won't cover them, unless you add a special rider on your policy.

Anonymous said...

Hi there, I'm looking into IC's right now & am curious to know how things turned out? Did you go the IC direction & if so, do you recommend it? Thanks!