What is an Independent Contractor?

Congratulations your pet sitting company has grown!

Deborah J Laughlin, Pet Sitter Blog,101 Pet Sitting,Independent Contractors

You in need of time off! You need additional help? Who will represent your high quality of service to your clients? Are you trying to determine classification of workers?

Are you thinking you may want to utilize an Independent Contractor?

What is an Independent Contractor?

Independent contractors are individuals who contract to perform services for others, without having the legal status of employees. Many business owners think that they can properly maintain independent contractor relationships, simply by having a written agreement that designates workers as independent contractors. Smarter business owners know that this is not the case. Although the parties’ understanding is one factor in properly establishing such a relationship, the real key is whether the parties treat themselves as true independent businesses.

Deciding When to Work! (The biggest Benefit and Drawback)

Independent contractors should, above all else, retain their independence. This means that the contractor, not the company, decides when to work and when not to work, or whether to accept or reject a particular pet-sitting assignment. This is the biggest benefit to the independent contractor, and the biggest drawback of the relationship for the pet-sitting company. However, it is a right that cannot be ignored.

Would you want someone caring for your pets or because they have to or for the reason they want to?  Having the Independent Contractors that decide when to work is a benefit for my business.

101-A: Pet Sitting Business Book

How to start and run a petsitting business.

Using Independent Contractors was my choice and my story and experiences an be found in chapter 2 book my book written with my business attorney who specializes in employment law.  101-A: Pet Sitting Business Book is designed around five main subject areas for utilizing IC’s.

 Legal Section

You need to understand the legal framework surrounding this complex issue so you can make the decisions that will enable you to properly maintain independent contractor relationships. These legal principles are presented in layperson’s terms so that you can utilize your new found understanding of the law in your business.

 Practical Issues

The manual addresses the practical problems pet-sitting agencies face when establishing and maintaining independent contractor relationships. We present you with a “Dos and Don’ts list” that will help you make sense of the issues faced in maintaining a legally defensible independent contractor relationship that actually makes sense in the context of the way you do business.

 Model Agreement

The manual presents, and then explains, a model independent contractor agreement that has been designed specifically for the pet-sitting industry.

 Defending the Relationship

The manual provides you with the tools you need to respond to legal challenges to your independent contractor relationships. These challenges could arise during an employment tax audit by the state by federal taxing authorities, an unemployment benefits case, or a lawsuit.

Classification of workers requires knowledge of federal and state laws prior to bringing on help for your growing business. Plus keep up to date with the changing laws!

The Small Business Administration  web page has resources and links to help you get local help!

They partner with: SBA District/Regional Office, SCORE Chapter, Small Business Development Center, Women’s Business Center, Veteran’s Business Outreach Center and more.  Just type in your zip code and you will get a list of these local resources!

FYI: Do you already have employed workers? Seek legal advice prior to changing the same people to an IC relationship.

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About Debbie June Rickman Laughlin

Wrote 101-A: Pet Sitting Business "Work Book To Conquer Success", http://101PetSitting.com to help others in the industry, Founder/ CEO of House Calls Pet Sitting and Home Care Services. Established 1981 and still going strong, http://housecalls4pet.com. To relax I do Photography and Painting. View, and Purchase my art at: DJLaughlinArt.com.

Discuss: “What is an Independent Contractor?”

  1. February 1, 2013 at 10:04 am #

    If you are going to hire and IC be sure you know all the ins and outs. This guide will help you with that.: You will also need to have a contract for IRS purposes. Good luck!

    Posted by Stacy
  2. April 9, 2013 at 10:34 am #

    My daughter has had a home based “Pet Sitting” business for about 10 yrs. in No. Ca. She needs to take on an employee for over night sittings.
    How does she go about this.? As of now she has not made enough money to pay taxes.
    She was worried about liability to herself if she hires someone and something happens while pets and home are in that person’s care.
    Is there a contract between them they can sign.? She would be an Independent Contractor, but would be paid by my daughter. My daughter would of course get a part of the payment.
    Where and who do I contact for all of these questions about hiring on an employee and both their legal rights.?

    Posted by Carmen
    • April 9, 2013 at 11:47 am #

      Hi Carmen,
      Congratulations to your daughters business growing!
      Have you read this post? http://101petsitting.com/independent-contractors-and-your-home-based-business/
      I believe strongly that your daughter needs to understand the federal laws and your state laws before bringing on help for her businesses. It is a complex issue that I have broken down over many pages in chapter 2 of my book with a list of resources and a sample contract. http://amzn.to/11Ohwby.
      The book is full of the Good to know information for any form of home based business wanting to or using IC’s.
      Our website link “Pet Sitter Resources” also offers links http://101petsitting.com/pet-sitter-resources.
      Again Congratulations!

      Posted by Debbie June Rickman Laughlin
  3. January 28, 2014 at 9:35 am #

    Hi Debbie,

    I am currently analyzing the pros and cons of bringing on help. I read in the Oregon I.C. laws that an I.C. must meet all the criteria to be classified as such. One of my main concerns is they require the I.C. to have an ABN. If I hire a person as an I,C. and they agree to get insured and bonded but don’t want to get a business license and ABN then would this automatically disqualify them as and I.C.? Are there any exceptions in the pet sitting industry that you are aware of? Does your book cover I.C. qualifications in depth?

    Thank you,

    Shelley McGee

    Posted by Shelley McGee
    • January 28, 2014 at 11:12 am #

      Hi Shelley, Chapter two is devoted to using Independent Contractors and written with my small business employment lawyer. With that said each state is different and you should direct your state question to a small business employee lawyer who has experience in your state on the IC issue. Knowledge is the key. Take Care, Debbie

  4. February 27, 2014 at 3:18 pm #

    We have about 8 IC’s that work for us and we are growing. We currently have them schedule their own time -within the parameters of a client’s request (so, for example – morning can be between 7-10am). We are use google calendar and can all see eachother’s schedule. I am looking for a petsitting software – preferably with a mobile ap that you can use, that allows IC’s to continue to schedule their own appointments.

    I have 2 questions. 1) To keep the relationship firmly as an IC vs employee, is it required that IC’s schedule themselves? 2) if so, is there a software for pet sitting out there that can allow that?

    Thanks, Ann

    Posted by Ann
    • March 5, 2014 at 6:01 pm #

      Hi Ann,
      Sorry for the delay in response.

      I am not clear on how you run your business so my response is based on assumptions:

      When you offer a contract to an IC, they have the option to accept or reject the offer.
      (Based on the information you share with the IC about what the customer has communicated to you the dates and times of service.)

      You make the offers to the IC by phone or email. If the IC accepts they will be communicating with the customer about duties and so on.

      Is this all be record or saved for reference and placed in your software under the IC’s name?

      Does the IC invoices the customer and provides you with a copy?

      So are you looking for software that the IC can log into and they would enter the clients request instead of you?

      Please feel free to call me.


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