View Full Version : Independent Contractor question

06-01-2012, 01:02 AM
I saw a thread similar to this but it was from 2011 and I'm trying not to ressurect old threads from the dead. I have 2 scenarios, one from the past and one from the present.

I worked for a company, I had seen their add on craigslist, went in, they ran a business where they had custom made photobooths they had made, they hired me (and many others) to "host" those booths, (i.e. they flew me out all over the country, paid for my plane tickets)

I was responsible for the cost of the rental car and hotels if I needed them (though they paid me more for those) if I was close enough to drive my own car, I could get paid extra for mileage, but otherwise my expenses, meals, etc were out of pocket, all the expenses related to the booths, (luggage fees, film, maintenance they paid for) basically, they got hired to have the booth at weddings, events, etc, they hired us to go, set them up, run them, tear them down, and return them.

They would put out a list of the gigs for the week, and everyone would say what they were available for, then they would hand them out based on whatever factors they decided on.

They called us independent contractors, were we? (oh, also we had to sign a form saying we wouldn't work for any other photobooth company while we worked for them (or for, i believe, 1 year after) if I remember correctly.

I don't really have a beef with them, but it is similar enough to my current situation that it made me wonder.

Now my current consideration, I'm looking into starting working as a DJ, a local karaoke host / DJ, asked me if I wanted to work for him... I had hosted karaoke before, but he was looking for people to DJ weddings, I said I was interested, and he invited me to come with him on a wedding last Saturday. I helped him set up and tear down, and he showed me how the computer worked, even had me choose the songs, and run the booth for a while.

He did all the talking, I just watched and helped, and he said for training, he was going to pay me $100, wednesday he told me my check was on the door, went and picked it up, it was written out on a check from his company, written to me. But there was nothing else indicating anything.

He asked if I'd be willing to come hang out tomorrow and learn the software better, and run a wedding on my own Saturday, I'm fairly comfortable with that, and don't have a problem with it. Pay is $250 for the night, which I can definitely use. I'm planning on talking this over with him, I'm not really "concerned" but I would like to know what I'm getting into. I haven't filled out any paperwork, I know he listed off what he pays for weddings, school events, etc... but nothing about taxes, etc... it "feels" like he's thinking of me as an independent contractor, unless he's thinking he's paying me under the table (so to speak) but a check on his company's business account makes me feel otherwise.

Basically, I just want to make sure everything's on the up and up, and know what I'm getting into if I am ended up being called an independent contractor. Or if I'm not qualified to be, what to ask before getting too involved. :)

Steve B
06-01-2012, 04:31 AM
It sounds like in both scenarios you would be an independent contractor. Of course, a lot more information would be required to give a better opinion.

In scenario #2, just ask the guy what he has in mind and you will then know the answer.

06-01-2012, 01:47 PM
Thanks, I'm going to be meeting with him soon, just wanted to make sure. Some of the other threads I read sounded like the opposite was true. :) Because of using their gear/equipment, and them setting all the rules (so to speak) but I wasn't sure.

06-05-2012, 09:42 PM
It definitely could go either way in terms of being an employee or independent contractor. The rules aren't always clear-cut. I'd say the biggest factor is ultimately "control". Who controls when you work, or how you do it?

Think of it like a Subway franchise... If you're a franchisee, you're bound to a bunch of rules for corporate, but even with all those rules you're not really an "employee" of Subway (corporate)... =)