Freelancer Management

hiring contingent workers

Throwback Thursday: Hiring contingent workers pre e-anything

Throwback Thursday: Hiring contingent workers pre e-anything 4404 2477 Heidi McLean

On the rare occasion I pay a bill the old-fashioned way, I marvel. It wasn’t so very long ago that, for each bill, we’d sit down, handwrite a check, and then actually put it in the mail. Just as online bill pay has become the way of the modern world, so too have email, job boards, and social networking sites proven the ultimate gamechangers for hiring practices. They’ve made a once-tedious and manual task more efficient and also brought the phrases “freelance” and “work from home” or “work remotely” into our modern language and culture.

Hiring short-term engagements pre-electronic mail, pre E-lance, and pre e-anything was a totally different ballgame. As the founder of Crew Connection and PayReel, I’ve had a front row seat to that game and its remarkable evolution. It’s hard to believe we have gone from faxing and phoning to pointing and clicking in my personal 30 plus years in the business. It’s even harder to imagine the days before my involvement.

 

A brief history of hiring contingent workers pre-internet

Sometimes I wonder how anything got done before we had the power to hold the whole world wide web in our hands. But early hiring tools included job fairs, notices on community bulletin boards, government employment offices, or even a good old-fashioned “now hiring” sign. Here are some of the significant markers in the history of hiring contingent workers.

1800’s, “free lances” fight for pay: While freelancing as we know it today may feel like a rather new phenomenon, the word’s origins date as far back as the 1800s. Merriam Webster defines “free lances” as soldiers who sold their soldiering to the highest bidder.

1700s, “Help wanted” ads appear: The Boston News Letters began carrying ads in 1704. Paying by the word, employers put an ad in the classifieds and waited for a response via snail mail. One such ad, from 1892, would be subject to anti-discrimination laws today. It sought, “A young lady of German parentage; must be a 36 bust and understand bookkeeping on a small scale. 

1890, Consultancy and recruiting agencies incorporate: Before online databases, where you could vet and possibly even book talent from a pool of candidates in minutes, we had telephones. Hiring managers might reach for the Yellow Pages and start down the list of consultancy agencies. The very first of such, Arthur D. Little Inc., was founded in 1886 and incorporated in 1906. The company broadened over the years but at first focused on technical research. In a sense, as someone hired to do a very specific job, these early consultants were the first freelancers. Like today’s freelancers, they kept companies from having to hire full time. Similar firms cemented their place in the U.S. economy in the 1900s.

1980s, Fax machines take over office buildings: While inventor Alexander Bain first sent an image over wire in 1843, the fax machine didn’t make its way to frequent commercial use until the 1980s. These miracle workers reduced turnaround time by taking resumes out of mailboxes and into the printer room. Employment agencies (who still had to pull resumes from their giant paper databases) could now send candidate details to employers in minutes, leading to speedier vetting and hiring. While bulky by today’s standards, the fax machine was one of the early innovations that led to a greater efficiency in the hiring space.  

 

Significant moments in hiring contingent workers post-internet

Of course, with the internet, things really picked up. In evolutionary terms, it’s comparable to a leap from apehood to personhood.

1994, Email brings mail to inboxes everywhere: We all know what happened when email came out. The whole world changed. Suddenly, candidates could send resumes as digital files that were instantly received and could be printed in perfect quality. Individual candidates sent resumes as attachments and agents sent them to employers electronically, too, making rolodexes and endless file cabinets of resumes obsolete. This was the tool that made a paperless world imaginable.

1995-1998, Online job boards post positions: Yep, it’s the biggie. Platforms like CareerBuilder, HotJobs and Monster took over the internet. Email brought mailing resumes to a halt and then these job boards nearly replaced emailing. This is where filters that allowed hiring managers and recruiters to sort candidates (by skills and location, for example) came into play.

2003, Online interviewing tools : Video chat services such as Skype allowed recruitment agencies to conduct initial interviews online, no matter where in the world the candidate happened to be. This reduced travel costs and turnaround time. It also reduced dress time for the candidates, who only had to look professional from the waist up.

 

The bottom line

Companies have it so easy today. We go online, conduct a few video chats, or use a service like Crew Connection or Toptal, and then we have a very skilled and vetted professional within a matter of hours or days. Time and location are of no consequence. Technology really makes life more efficient. And yet, we’re all still as busy as ever. But that’s another story for another day.

 

 

About PayReel

Producing multimedia content and executing live events is chaotic. At PayReel, we make sure our clients are able to hire who they want, when they want and that everyone is paid properly. Leave the details up to the PayReel team so you can focus on pulling off a flawless production. Contact us anytime at 303-526-4900 or by emailing us here.

Relax. We got it.

 

 

sick leave

February 2018: Month in review

February 2018: Month in review 5808 3876 Heidi McLean

January took forever and February flew. Just like that, the second month of 2018 is over. Below are a few of the topics in employment and politics that made news in the shortest month of the year.

 

The FMLA turned 25…and had a quarter life crisis 

On Feb. 5th, 1993 the Family and Medical Leave Act, which gave employees job protection to care for sick family members, was enacted. Some of the questions coming up around its birthday are:

  1. Should that time off should be paid? It’s up for debate, but at least two Trumps and a Rubio say yes.
  2. Who qualifies as a family member? Austin’s guidelines leave room for interpretation.
  3. Does it go far enough to protect everyone, including low wage workers? And what about parents?
  4. Will the Koch brothers and cronies be able to win the fight against the aforementioned FMLA expansions?

 

People got sick…or at least sick of work

Thirty-precent of prison guards called in sick for Super Bowl Sunday. And it happens every year. But it turns out, the real problem may be that Americans don’t take enough sick leave. Meanwhile, Airlines sued Washington State over sick leave laws and Maryland’s sick leave laws got delayed in Senate.

Interns and ballers said “Show me the money!”

As Vogue took criticism for unpaid internships, Carmelo Anthony and others called the NCAA corrupt. It all brings up the bigger question: is it time to classify internships and treat college athletes like employees?

It was quite a month in employment. What stories caught your eye?

About PayReel

Producing multimedia content and executing live events can be chaotic. At PayReel, we make sure our clients are able to hire who they want, when they want and that everyone is paid properly. Leave the details up to the PayReel team so you can focus on pulling off a flawless production. Contact us anytime at 303-526-4900 or by emailing us here.

Relax. We got it.

February 2018: Month in review

February 2018: Month in review 500 500 wpengine

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When Net 90 Kills Creativity, You Need To Pay Contractors Quicker and Easier

When net 90 kills creativity, you need to pay contractors quicker and easier

When net 90 kills creativity, you need to pay contractors quicker and easier 800 534 Heidi McLean

Internal processes, red tape, and backlogged accounting departments make it hard to get checks in the mail. We definitely understand. Unfortunately, your corporate freelance payment policy might prevent you from working with the best people.

Paying contractors on time is good for you, too

We know: keeping people happy can be a pain the arse. But it’s good for you, too! Top contractors get booked quickly. When you pay contractors quickly, they’re more likely to answer your calls and ramp up your projects in a short amount of time. For busy department heads with big projects and short turnaround times, there’s nothing better than diving right in with tried and true creative partners. Saving time, money, and hassle by working with people who just get what you’re looking for is priceless.  Paying later than your competition can get you blacklisted or moved to the bottom of a contractor’s long to do list.

And if the benefits to you aren’t enough, think about it from their perspective. Freelancers single-handedly juggle creative work, billing, marketing, and more. That means the person who sees your invoice in their red column is the same one you’re expecting to bring their all to your next project. What seems like an insignificant to a big company can have a major effect on a small business’ cash flow.

 

Don’t be a hoarder

According to a Wall Street Journal article, many large companies are “hoarding cash” and “squeezing small businesses” to increase their own bottom lines. Don’t be that guy. Not only does it add pressure to those you work with, it’s just not ethical. You may justify it by saying it’s not as bad as the latest headline maker’s illegal and greedy ways, but shady practices of any degree have no place in your business.

 

The bottom line

Paying contractors quickly is worth the investment. If it’s not feasible to transform your internal process, get a partner involved. You get the peace of mind of knowing that you’ll always be in good standing with contractors. It pays to hire someone with systems in place.

Hiring contractors is a beautiful thing: It gives you a fresh perspective and talent without having to bring on full-time team members. Just make sure you do it right. Going from Net 90 to Net Now will save you time, keep you in good standing with contractors, and ensure you can feel good about the way you do business. Rather than trying to save Benjamins up front, take Benjamin Franklin’s advice and “Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.”

 

About PayReel

Producing multimedia content and executing live events is chaotic. At PayReel, we make sure our clients are able to hire who they want, when they want and that everyone is paid properly. Leave the details up to the PayReel team so you can focus on pulling off a flawless production. Contact us anytime at 303-526-4900 or by emailing us here.

Relax. We got it.

 

client relations payreel

Four easy steps to improve client relations

Four easy steps to improve client relations 5379 3663 Heidi McLean

We all like compliments. What a nice shirt! Great job on that presentation! Those jeans make you look skinny! But what about complaints? Can we honestly say that we always appreciate this type of feedback? Maybe not. But the best thing we can do for client relations is to treat those complaints as the gift they are.

 

Follow these easy steps to improve client relations

  1. Consider the complaint a gift. In customer oriented organizations, complaints should be embraced with the same anticipation and curiosity as if received in a beautifully wrapped little box. Complaints are gifts because they are our clients’ way of offering us a second chance to get it right. When a customer doesn’t invest the time and energy to complain, you’re in deep trouble. You’ve probably lost the advantage of knowing your offer has fallen short of expectations before the problem impacts your bottom line.
  2. Make it easy for the customer to give this gift. Giving key accounts a single point of contact is a great strategy, but what happens when the SPOC you’ve provided is the source of the dissatisfaction? That’s why executive relationships are vital. Giving your clients the ability to pick up the phone and share concerns directly with your upper management is the business equivalent of being one of Santa’s LinkedIn connections. Direct line to the gift man.
  3. Respond quickly. Clients know you’re busy. Sometimes simply making their concern a top priority is enough to smooth any rough waters. People want to be heard…and preferably before they forget what they said.
  4. Thank the gift giver. When someone gives you a gift you should, of course, express gratitude. In order to do so with authenticity, you have to truly see the benefit and opportunity in the feedback. If you don’t see if that way, work on your mindset. The highest form of gratitude you can convey is to fix the problem. Once fixed, make a call and acknowledge the mistake as well as how you have fixed the problem.

Handle complaints well and my guess is that you will have effectively turned a complaint into a bonding agent that will strengthen your connection with the customer. And that’s a great gift!

 

About PayReel

Producing multimedia content and executing live events is chaotic. When it comes to event payroll, payroll taxes, and so much more, PayReel makes your life easier. We make sure our clients are able to hire who they want, when they want and see that everyone is paid properly. Leave all payroll services and details up to the PayReel team so you can focus on pulling off a flawless production. Contact us anytime at 303-526-4900 or email us.

Relax. We got it.

 

freelance payroll payreel

The gig economy is here to stay: Here’s what it means for businesses

The gig economy is here to stay: Here’s what it means for businesses 4256 2832 Heidi McLean

The gig economy now makes up 34% of the US workforce. Gone are the days when cubicles dominate workers’ worlds from 9 to 5 Mondays through Fridays. Independent contractors are more likely to do the bulk of their work from home or from Starbucks than from a cubicle or brick and mortar offices. Tax laws, employment laws, and freelance payroll are all evolving in response. Here are some of the main implications for businesses:

 

Smaller core staff

As independent contractors do more of the work for businesses, many companies are shifting towards smaller core staffs. While there are benefits to having workers under the same roof during the same hours, small businesses may benefit financially by being responsible for fewer full-time workers.

 

New legal considerations  

Freelance payroll is a different ballgame and one of its biggest considerations is worker classification. While it was once a fairly black and white issue, the subject grows more important and more challenging each day. This highly confusing topic also carries intense legal ramifications. The government is paying more attention than ever (see Uber and America’s pastime as prime examples) to making sure workers are classified correctly—and making someone pay when they aren’t.

 

The bottom line  

Subjects like payroll taxes, worker classification, and freelance payroll get more complicated by the day. Partners who help make sense of a tricky transition as big as this one are worth the investment. At PayReel, we manage all of the above and, as the employer of record, we even take on all risk associated with a variable workforce. Think you might benefit from hiring a payroll service? Here’s a handy guide to find out more.

 

About PayReel

Producing multimedia content and executing live events is chaotic. When it comes to event payroll, payroll taxes, and so much more, PayReel makes your life easier. We make sure our clients are able to hire who they want, when they want and that everyone is paid properly. Leave all payroll services and details up to the PayReel team so you can focus on pulling off a flawless production. Contact us anytime at 303-526-4900 or by emailing us here.

Relax. We got it.

 

worker classification. PayReel

How to navigate the increasingly dangerous waters of worker classification

How to navigate the increasingly dangerous waters of worker classification 4449 3675 Heidi McLean

Just as the stakes are getting higher, worker classification is getting trickier. The rise of the gig economy has led to an exponential increase in the number of independent contractors it brings into the labor pool each day. Lawmakers are taking note,  and the government ain’t playin’. Tax and employment law violations can lead to severe consequences. Employers shouldn’t play either. Here are some ways to tell the difference between an employee and an independent contractor and some questions worth asking before bringing an independent contractor on board.

 

How to tell independent contractors and employees apart

This is a meaty subject with a mountain of government legalese to back it up. Thankfully, employers can look at some of the main factors the government considers to sort out any areas of confusion, including the following:

  • The employer’s degree of control over the worker
  • The worker’s opportunity for profit or loss
  • The worker’s investment in facilities
  • How long-term the relationship is
  • The worker’s skill set

If you’re confused by gray areas, of which there are plenty, Upwork provides a simple IC v. employee compare-and-contrast chart that would make your high school English teacher proud. We also dive deeper and provide a handy cheat sheet and additional resources on the subject here.

But if you’re still uncertain, engaging a contractor management firm is your safest bet.

 

Questions to ask before hiring an independent contractor

1.  Am I confident I could make a strong case for the classification we chose?

If there is any question whether you’re on solid ground with your decision, you’re probably on very un-solid ground. It’s worth engaging support to make sure you get it right before it hits the courtroom.

 

2. What are the consequences if I get it wrong? 

Uber has provided über lessons on worker classification woes. It’s clear that the consequences can be steep and that the DOL is ready to drop the hammer on misclassification.

 

3. Do I need professional support and a built-in insurance plan to make sure I get it right? 

Navigating the dangerous waters and staying compliant is harder and more important than ever. Worker classification is one of those areas in which you can’t afford to take risks. Partners who make your life easier are worth the investment. A payroll service may be right for those who don’t have the bandwidth or interest in digging into the legalese. At PayReel, we manage payroll taxes and, as the employer of record, we even take on all risk associated with a variable workforce. Think you might benefit from hiring a payroll service? Here’s a handy guide to find out more.

 

About PayReel

When it comes to event payroll, payroll taxes, and so much more, PayReel makes your life easier. Producing multimedia content and executing live events is chaotic. At PayReel, we make sure our clients are able to hire who they want, when they want and that everyone is paid properly. Leave all payroll services and details up to the PayReel team so you can focus on pulling off a flawless production. Contact us anytime at 303-526-4900 or by emailing us here.

Relax. We got it.

 

event payroll payreel

Six reasons PayReel projects are better projects

Six reasons PayReel projects are better projects 560 315 Heidi McLean

Whether it’s a massive event or a one-camera shoot, when PayReel manages your projects, it’s the best for clients and workers alike. At PayReel, we’re devoted to making every single client and worker interaction a good one.

 

We make your life easy and your workers happy

 

1. We do it all.

Unlike the big guys, we handle events of any kind and any size, whether you’re payrolling thousands of workers or sending a one-person crew to film an NBA game.

 

2. We’re here. We even answer the phone.

Events don’t operate on a nine-to-five schedule and neither do we. We have an after-hours phone so we can be sure to provide speedy answers.

 

3. We’re paperless.

Not having to sift through piles of identical paperwork cluttering up your desk and your headspace makes the process quicker and easier for you and for your workers.

 

4. We offer speedy payment.

Workers submit timecards on Mondays and we pay them on Fridays. When they’re paid quickly, workers won’t be calling your office, which frees you up to do your job better. Of course, it also keeps workers happy so they are free to focus on your project and happy to come back for your next event.

 

5. We keep workers happy.

Speaking of keeping workers happy, the last thing you need once you’ve hired workers is to lose their loyalty on the back-end details. Whether they’re working for one day or for a month, we make sure workers get paid quickly and accurately so if you want to use them again, they’ll be ready to pick up the call.

As Michael, one of the freelancers PayReel pays, said, “Natalie ( on of our PayReel Customer Experience Manager) has been superb in addressing whatever problems I have had.”

 

6. We make event payroll as easy as 1, 2, 3, w-4.

By managing all the payment details, including the mountains of W-4s, we make event payroll a non-event.

 

The bottom line

You work with us because we make your life easier. Why not use us for all your events and workers? Not only does our team manage event payroll and payroll taxes; as the employer of record, we even take on all risk associated with a variable workforce. Think you might benefit from hiring a payroll service? Here’s a handy guide to find out more.

 

About PayReel

When it comes to event payroll, payroll taxes, and so much more, PayReel makes your life easier. Producing multimedia content and executing live events is chaotic. At PayReel, we make sure our clients are able to hire who they want, when they want and that everyone is paid properly. Leave all payroll services and details up to the PayReel team so you can focus on pulling off a flawless production. Contact us anytime at 303-526-4900 or by emailing us here.

Relax. We got it.

 

The gig economy: How to pay contractors and navigate benefits

The gig economy: How to pay contractors and navigate benefits 4166 2083 Heidi McLean

The gig economy offers benefits to workers and companies alike. While those benefits do include flexibility for workers and lower costs to employers, they don’t cover things we’ve grown used to such as built-in 401K plans, health insurance options, and worker’s compensation. For many independent contractors, that’s a problem. And as the gig economy’s slice of the economic pie grows, so does the problem. Currently, there is no roadmap telling you how to pay contractors fairly while keeping costs down. The good news is that we at PayReel have been on this road long enough to learn how to pay contractors legally and ethically.

 

Start with worker classification

First things first: classify workers correctly from the outset. A worker’s classification (whether they’re an employee or an independent contractor) guides what freelance benefits they’re entitled to by law. The rise of the gig economy has brought with it the rise of confusion over who is an employee and who is a contractor. Wherever gray areas and money meet, you will find lawsuits. True to form, legal disputes over worker classification have plagued everyone from Uber to FedEx. Following the rules and classifying correctly from the beginning saves time and potential legal troubles.

 

Stay aware of potential legal changes

From workers to legislators, people are thinking about how to manage the evolving landscape. Some envision an entirely new system with changing guidelines that suit changing times. Such a system might include “portable benefits” that travel with workers from company to company.

According to this article from the Pew Charitable Trusts, one bill proposes to:

“require people or companies that find work for and transfer payments to independent contractors — Uber, say, or a middleman who works with farm laborers — to contribute to a pool of money managed by an independent nonprofit. The broker might do that by charging consumers extra or by taking the money out of workers’ pay.

Contributions would be made at least monthly and would have to amount to either $6 per hour worked or 25 percent of the sum charged to the consumer, whichever is smaller. The money could be spent on paid time off, health insurance or other qualified benefits.”

We can only guess how things will change, but we do expect them to change. It behooves company leaders to stay in tune with these kinds of conversations and legal considerations.

 

Consider more than the bottom line

Some companies aren’t waiting for a legal mandate to make changes. Instead, they are voluntarily providing freelance benefits beyond their legal requirements. Care.com, for example, adds a small fee to each transaction, which converts to “benefits bucks” that service providers may use for expenses such as transportation. This kind of perk goes beyond the money in a worker’s pocket. Workers who feel valued are more loyal and do better work.  

 

Protect yourself

If you can’t (or just don’t want to) keep up with the rules and developments surrounding the on-demand economy, PayReel can keep up for you. Check out this handy guide to see if you might benefit from hiring a payroll services company. Not only does our team manage worker classification, payroll, and payroll taxes; as the employer of record we even take on all risk associated with a variable workforce. Going above and beyond in the ethics department isn’t just a warm and fuzzy notion. It’s a sound business decision, too.

 

About PayReel

When it comes to payroll taxes and so much more, PayReel makes your life easier. Producing multimedia content and executing live events is chaotic. At PayReel, we make sure our clients are able to hire who they want, when they want and that everyone is paid properly. Leave all payroll services and details up to the PayReel team so you can focus on pulling off a flawless production. Contact us anytime at 303-526-4900 or by emailing us here.

Relax. We got it.

 

IRS mistakes cost big (even when they're not your fault)

IRS mistakes cost big (even when they’re not your fault)

IRS mistakes cost big (even when they’re not your fault) 4500 3000 Heidi McLean

 

A case involving embezzlement, tax liability, and good intentions added up to a nightmare for one man. Dr. Robert McClendon’s story proves there’s no amount of caution too intense when it comes to payroll tax liability.

 

The road to hell is paved with good intentions

In a sobering case reported in Forbes, a man who loaned $100,000 to a struggling business was fined $4.3 million for said company’s payroll tax liability. When you dig into the details, it’s not as unfair as it may seem at first blush, but that doesn’t make the situation any less painful for Dr. McClendon—the defendant and a legally-deemed responsible party. As the Forbes article states, “You can be ‘willful’ under the tax law even if you didn’t have a bad motive or evil intent.”

So what was the kiss of death for Dr. McClendon?

 

Responsible & willful: A match made in IRS hell

Dr. McClendon owned the business to which he loaned the money and the cash went toward the seemingly noble goal of paying employees to prevent shuttering the doors altogether. While it was an employee who’d embezzled the funds earmarked for payroll taxes, the case against Dr. McClendon was strong enough to prove him responsible and willful. He wasn’t responsible for the embezzlement but he was responsible for choosing to pay employees instead of the payroll taxes, which by that time, he knew about. The case against Dr. McClendon withstood the legal tests and left the doc to nurse his own wounds. Ouch.

 

How to protect yourself

Either learn the rules of payroll taxes and precisely follow them or hire a qualified company to do it for you. The Forbes article suggests that one benefit to hiring a payroll service is that “the employer doesn’t have discretion to use the money to pay vendors or for anything else.” It’s sort of like a much higher stakes version of a 401K: If you can’t access the money when the temptation for an out-of-reach car comes up, you’ll still have it when you need it for less sexy reasons. Additionally, hiring a payroll service takes the burden of having to understand all of the rules and make heavy decisions off the company leadership.  The payroll service takes on the liability and frees up the small business to focus on business.

 

The bottom line:

There are too many ways to get in trouble with the IRS to choose ignorance. With fines and possible jail time on the line, legitimate small businesses must take payroll taxes seriously. The government sure does.

 

About PayReel

When it comes to payroll taxes and so much more, PayReel makes your life easier. Producing multimedia content and executing live events is chaotic. At PayReel, we make sure our clients are able to hire who they want, when they want and that everyone is paid properly. Leave all payroll services and details up to the PayReel team so you can focus on pulling off a flawless production. Contact us anytime at 303-526-4900 or by emailing us here.

Relax. We got it.