Freelancer Management

Here’s What to Think About if You’re Expanding Your Business (And Therefore, Your Payroll)

Here’s What to Think About if You’re Expanding Your Business (And Therefore, Your Payroll) 2560 1707 Alicia East

If you’re planning to expand your business, one of your top priorities should be making sure you’re in position to classify and pay employees and independent contractors properly. This is especially important if you’re looking to hire people in any state without any red tape. Today, we’ll talk about what it takes to run payroll and when it’s helpful to engage a partner.

Doing Payroll Right

Since payroll is always a complex, high-stakes business, it’s worth investing anything required on the front end to make sure you do it right. Whether you train an in-house team or engage a partner, they need to be in position to classify correctly, stay on top of laws as they change, identify and respond to the different tax requirements, and have a system in place that allows the process to be simple, accurate, and fast. This helps you avoid future fines and legal battles.

Doing it right means doing the following:

  1. Learning local employment laws. This includes identifying regulations regarding working hours, holidays, sick pay, insurance, and more and having a (preferably automated) system in place to follow those rules.
  2. Onboarding workers. This includes collecting information such as name and date of birth as well as tax forms, background checks, benefit status, and work eligibility.
  3. Storing and securing data. Since you’re dealing people’s personally identifiable information (PII), you MUST have a way to secure that highly-sensitive data. The fines for mishandling data are serious, so you should be equally serious.
  4. Authorizing payments and ensuring your employees get paid accurately.  This includes identifying the appropriate deductions/taxes, keeping accurate records, paying on time in every location, sending out notifications, reporting as required to government institutions, etc.
  5. Having a system in place to identify and adjust to changes. You don’t always have time to wait weeks to adjust to new laws. Things evolve rapidly, so your system needs to be ready to evolve just as rapidly.
  6. Staying compliant. Laws are different from place to place and do change frequently, so your payroll management software solution should have systems in place to ensure  compliance wherever you operate.

Would Outsourcing Payroll Benefit Your Business?

Outsourcing payroll is especially valuable in certain situations. If a company needs to hire employees in multiple states, is growing rapidly, and/or needs to hire temporary workers frequently, engaging an Employer of Record (EOR) could be a game changer. An EOR mitigates compliance risks, increases payroll efficiency, and eases the administrative burdens of managing a workforce.

The Bottom Line

Payroll is one of the most complex and challenging aspects of operating a business and should be given appropriate attention by every business. When a company is growing, payroll is one of the most important aspects of business to have in good working order. The right people on your in-house team or the right partner are essential. If you think a partner would be beneficial to your business, reach out! Relax: We got it.

Direct Sourcing: How to Walk The Compliance Tight Rope

Direct Sourcing: How to Walk The Compliance Tight Rope 2560 1707 Alicia East

Direct sourcing allows businesses to place workers as needed and on a temporary basis. One of the biggest benefits is that they get to keep the best workers in the pipeline between projects and tap their pool of talent as needs arise. Direct sourcing is a great tool for managing a contingent workforce, but companies must remain vigilant to stay compliant.

Direct Sourcing And Risk & Compliance 

While direct sourcing is an incredible asset to companies, it’s important to keep risk, compliance, and payroll top of mind. Mitigating risk requires specialized skills, a great depth of knowledge, and a department with enough bandwidth to understand and follow rules on a state and federal level.

Errors can be incredibly costly. Companies can be subject to heavy fines when they classify workers incorrectly or make mistakes with payroll. In addition, companies can face damage to their reputation and end up directing resources (including time) that could otherwise be directed elsewhere. Worker classification and payroll rules vary from state to state and on a federal level as well.

Since regulations change all the time, hiring organizations must do due diligence to make sure they keep their practices compliant and their businesses in good standing. Any company using direct sourcing simply must also include effective worker classification and payrolling services as a part of its plan.

When is it Time to Engage a Partner?

For companies that use direct sourcing, engaging a partner for risk compliance, worker classification, and payroll can be an incredibly sound business move. A partner can fill in the gaps to fill payroll demands and other contingent workforce management. Companies without a specific department to fill these roles will be well served by engaging a partner with the bandwidth and skills to handle everything related to risk, compliance, worker classification, and payroll for a contingent workforce.

The best partner will be able to handle every type of worker a business employs. When direct sourcing talent, many businesses find an Employer of Record (EOR) that takes care of all the administrative details of managing a contingent workforce is an indispensable part of their team.

If you’re considering whether an EOR would be helpful to your business, let us know! This is our jam.  

Event Management And The Key to Making 1+1 Equal 10

Event Management And The Key to Making 1+1 Equal 10 2560 1707 Alicia East

The adage goes “If you want something done, ask a busy person.” But what about when you’re the one known for getting it all done? Whether you’re managing a massive event or a one-camera production, it’s time to think about multiplying your time. Engaging a partner who specializes in event management works out well for clients and workers alike. That’s because the right partner has all the tools and skills to be efficient in the worker management and payroll pieces of the process. Those skills require a huge learning curve, but when you engage someone who specializes in it, you skip all of that! It’s one of the quickest ways to increase bandwidth. When you delegate the pieces you don’t specialize in, everyone wins. Go ahead: Take some of that time saved to order yourself a World’s Best Boss mug to celebrate your victory.

Easy Events 

The right partner can handle any event, whether you’re payrolling thousands of workers, sending a crew to an NBA game, or something in between. Knowing some of the major details are handled frees you up to focus on other details (of which there are always plenty!).  

Events don’t operate on a nine-to-five schedule and neither do we. The right partner needs to be able to operate with the reality of your schedule. An after-hours phone number to provide speedy answers can come in clutch in time-sensitive situations. Our online system allows clients to take care of just about anythingand at any hour! PayReel handles all the paperwork and the bonus is that we do it without any actual paper. 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.

Speedy Payment And Paper-Free Paperwork Makes Happy Workers

Happy workers make smoother events. By managing all the payment details, including the mountains of W-4s, payroll becomes a non-event. Workers submit timecards on Mondays and we pay them on Fridays. When they’re paid quickly, they don’t need to call 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. 

The last thing you need once you’ve hired people is to lose their loyalty on the back-end details. Whether they’re working for one day or over multiple events for months, we make sure workers get paid quickly and accurately so if you want to bring them on again, they’ll be ready to pick up the call.

We’re devoted to making every single client and worker interaction a good one, which makes working with you mighty attractive for workers.

The Bottom Line

In short: the key to multiplying your time is delegating/engaging partners whenever it makes sense. Clients work with PayReel because we make event management easier and free up clients’ time for the things they do best. Our team manage event payroll and payroll taxes and, as the employer of record, we even take on much of the risk associated with a variable workforce. Think you might benefit from hiring a payroll service? Contact us at 303-526-4900.

What to Know Before Engaging Independent Contractors in High Risk States

What to Know Before Engaging Independent Contractors in High Risk States 2560 1697 Alicia East

Hiring independent contractors can be a great way to advance your business goals without hiring additional employees for the long term. Often, contractors are the best bet for accomplishing specific, creative tasks like rebuilding a website. However, if you engage independent contractors in any of the high-risk states, it’s important to take extra care to protect your business from the associated liability. 

Which States Are Considered High Risk And Why?

Laws around documentation and classification are complicated and in certain states, it’s even more so. There are federal rules around engaging independent contractors and each state has its own regulations as well. What’s more, the rules change often and, in some cases, they even contradict each other. Even so, it’s still possible to guard against the major concerns that accompany engaging workers in these states. 

Some companies dedicate entire departments to the task, but those without an internal team/human resources department that is equipped to address those needs should partner with a company that specializes in handling them. The best partners will be aware of these risks and on top of the changes as they happen. 

The following states are considered high-risk for engaging independent contractors:

  • California
  • Washington
  • Oregon
  • Indiana
  • Illinois
  • Wisconsin
  • Maryland
  • Pennsylvania
  • New York
  • New Jersey
  • Massachusetts
  • Connecticut

What Risks Will Employers Encounter?


While we tend to hear only about the major lawsuits against the big players (like Instacart), many companies misclassify workers without even realizing it. Moreover, a standard, objective test to determine whether a worker should be classified as an independent contractor or an employee doesn’t exist. That’s in part because each state has the power to determine some of its own rules.  

As we know, claiming ignorance is not an adequate defense strategy. Misclassifying workers can lead to fines, liability for unpaid wages and overtime, liquidated damages equal to the amount owed in unpaid wages, treble damages, attorney’s fees, tax and benefits liabilities, and more.


Even if you come out on the other side of an audit clean, it will be incredibly inconvenient and will divert resources and attention away from your business. Employers can quickly get themselves on the government’s radar by misclassifying workers. Having airtight processes–from the up-front paperwork all the way through payroll–is a good way to ensure workers are correctly classified and that they receive the corresponding benefits and accurate pay. 

Additional Training Requirements

In some states, workers are required to have additional training, which can be part of what contributes to their status as high-risk states. For example, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, and Maine all require Sexual Harassment Training at various intervals and job levels. While these are among the states that require such training, other federal regulations and court decisions make it clear that best practice is for all employers to provide anti-harassment training. Legal decisions at the federal level have demonstrated that failing to provide harassment prevention training makes companies extra vulnerable when issues come up. Precedent shows that employers without training may lose their ability to raise an affirmative defense in a harassment lawsuit. 

Would Engaging a Partner Benefit Your Business?

Engaging a partner whose core business addresses compliance concerns related to engaging workers in high-risk states has many advantages. If you think your company would benefit from having access to workers who are outside of your nexus, eliminating headcount changes, and mitigating risks, it’s time to consider engaging a partner like PayReel. Our system has defined processes for worker classification, payroll, and more. The system takes into account federal, state, and agency rules and includes a checks and balances process to ensure a solid precedent. Bottom line: We take compliance seriously! Contact us to talk about how this might benefit your business. 

Which Independent Contractors Should You Require to Have General Liability Insurance?

Which Independent Contractors Should You Require to Have General Liability Insurance? 2560 1707 Alicia East

We’re like anyone else: if there’s not a good reason for red tape, we’ll happily skip it. Sometimes, though, it seems there’s no work without a mountain of paperwork. Still, there’s one thing we know is important enough to require our independent contractors to carry: general liability insurance. We are so serious about it because we want clients to be as successful as possible. It may seem to slow things down up front, but we know it helps our clients pull off the best projects, productions, and events as possible.

Priceless Protection

Like all insurance, it can seem like overkill to carry insurance for just about everything under the sun. That is, until you need it. Once you’re in that position, the benefits are priceless. Keeping certificates of insurance on file positions you for stress-free, penalty-free audits. When an independent contractor doesn’t have coverage, it puts everyone involved at risk of costly audits and potential lawsuits. When you’re tied up in a legal battle or struggling to pay fines, it’s really hard to pull off flawless events, projects, or productions. Insurance protects clients in the event of property damage, audits, and more.

The Bottom Line

Sometimes clients don’t see the value in requiring insurance for what they perceive as low-risk roles, but let’s answer that first question right now and bust a myth while we’re at it: Requiring insurance for every independent contractor protects all parties. There’s no such thing as a low-risk role.

money and clock - PayReel

The Closest Thing to an Easy Button For Contingent Workforce Management

The Closest Thing to an Easy Button For Contingent Workforce Management 800 534 Alicia East

Ask anyone who manages a contingent workforce and the answer will be swift: an easy button to make it simple, convenient, and organized would be worth an awful. Any system or company that handles contractor payroll should include certain features (like online timecards, approvals, benefits-tracking, and more) to get as close to an easy button as possible.

Features of Headache-Free Contingent Workforce Management

Online Everything

Paper-free paperwork. It’s enough to make even the busiest folks sleep well at night. Being able to do everything from engaging/onboarding a worker to receiving timecards and submitting approvals online just makes sense.

Custom Reporting

Custom reports can serve to increase productivity or provide valuable insight into what is working well as well as where there’s room for improvement. It’s one feature that can make a huge difference in the way a system/payroll partner meets a company’s needs.

Consolidated Invoicing

When you have a bunch of invoices to pay to multiple vendors, it can get a little complicated. The vendors might be contractors themselves or the vendors that provide the contractors. Being able to bundle all invoices (according to the job, event, or in whatever way makes the most sense) and pay them as a single invoice can be a game changer for budget tracking and just plain simplicity. Having a payroll partner that offers this option can be invaluable, especially for companies managing many events or projects.

Ability to Manage Multiple Projects at Once

Speaking of multiple projects, being able to manage all of your events or productions at one time and in one place is a huge benefit. When you’re handling a multiple budgets and staff members, being able to do it all in one place is more than just convenient. An online system where you can just log in and see all of the projects you’re working on simplifies something that has the potential to be incredibly complicated. For one thing, it means you can skip some of the impeccable record-keeping previously required to manage the paperwork on concurrent projects. Online systems that allow you to pick any project/event and quickly identify the people working on them, the time cards that have been submitted, what has been approved and what still needs approvals, all broken out according to project and billing code is a huge time saver.

The Bottom Line

We know managing a contingent workforce can be challenging, but we’ve been working to make it as easy as it can be. If anything you see above might make your life better, contact us and tell us about your situation. You just might be able to hang up and say, “That was easy!” Seriously. This is our jam.

Employer record - Payreel

How to Make Hiring And Paying Workers For Events The Easiest Part of Your Day

How to Make Hiring And Paying Workers For Events The Easiest Part of Your Day 2560 2560 Alicia East

It’s always a good idea to treat your workers right. Aside from just being the right thing to do, it also makes business sense to make onboarding easy and payment quick and accurate. The current labor shortage just makes it extra important because workers have options and you want to be sure that your project is the one that gets priority and they answer the call when you need them. Whether you’re hiring temporary workers for a massive event or a one-camera shoot, having a partner equipped to onboard and pay temporary workers quickly and accurately makes both clients’ and workers’ lives easier.

How to Make Onboarding and Paying Event Workers The Easiest Part of Your Job

It’s simple: Partner with an Employer of Record (EOR). Here are some of the benefits:

  • EORs are in position to onboard and pay workers–even thousands of workers– to staff events. They can handle all the details for big and small events alike. 
  • They have the systems in place! Here at PayReel, much of the system is automated so you can take care of just about anything…at any hour…with a few taps or clicks. You don’t have to talk to anyone if you don’t want to but humans are available when you do need them. Our Client Relationship Managers are not limited to a nine-to-five schedule either. We have an after-hours phone line so we can be sure to provide speedy answers. 
  • Paper-free paperwork. Not having to sift through piles of identical paperwork cluttering up your desk and your headspace makes the process quicker and easier for clients and workers. Paperwork without the paper? Yes, please! 
  • EORs are in position to process payments in a speedy manner. In our case, workers submit timecards on Mondays and we pay them on Fridays. When they’re paid quickly, they don’t need to call 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.
  • Keeping workers happy means the people you’ve hired once stay loyal. Whether they’re working for one day or for a month, quick and accurate payment ensures that when you’re ready to hire them again, they’ll be ready to pick up the call.
  • Not only does an EOR manage event payroll and payroll taxes; as the employer of record, they even take on all risk associated with a variable workforce.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that, by managing all the payment details, including the mountains of W-4s, an established EOR makes payroll a non-event. Here at PayReel, we’re devoted to making every single client and worker interaction a good one. Clients who put on events say they work with us because we make their lives easier. Think you might benefit from hiring a payroll service? Here’s a handy guide to find out more. Or contact us at 303-526-4900.


Sunset - Payreel

What Record-Breaking Heat Waves Mean For Your Business

What Record-Breaking Heat Waves Mean For Your Business 2560 1707 Alicia East

Yesterday, I drove by a young man directing construction traffic from the side of a freshly-tarred road. We are in the middle of a heat wave in my area and even by 9 AM, we were well into the 90’s. If it had been a cartoon, I would’ve been able to see the heat waves rising beneath him. I wanted to drop some gatorade off for the guy! Don’t be mistaken: Heat stroke is not just dangerous to the most vulnerable among us. It can land even a young man like this worker in the hospital with very little warning.

We aren’t the only ones experiencing record-breaking highs this summer: Many regions are facing increasingly wild weather. So what does this mean for individuals or companies whose work requires them to be outdoors? I’ll tell you what it doesn’t mean: waiting until someone has a heat stroke to think about worker safety.

As we head into another record-breaking summer, it’s a good time to talk about workplace safety. Protecting workers—especially those who spend extended time outdoors—requires a little extra forethought and attention. While your workers’ health is a good enough reason to take extra measures, addressing safety risks can also prevent fines and lawsuits.

Worker Safety in Extreme Heat

Staying compliant with OSHA’s guidelines on Occupational Heat Exposure prevents workers from getting heat related illnesses. It also prevents them from missing work and you from getting fined. Keep everyone safe so neither you nor your employees end up paying the price.

  1. Provide water, rest, and shade: It’s easy to get into a project and forget about the time. Sometimes proactive measures like mandatory breaks with plenty of hydration will remind people to take care of themselves in the heat.  Make plenty of water and gatorade easily accessible.
  2. Recognize the signs: Managers should be on high alert for symptoms of heat exhaustion. According to the Occupational Safety and Hazard Administration (OSHA), “Persons suffering from heat exhaustion might have cool, moist skin; sweat heavily; or complain of headache, nausea or lightheadedness.”
  3. Watch the weather: At different temperatures and conditions, different measures are appropriate. Monitor the heat index as well as the associated risks. Schedule reminders and water breaks ahead of time and stick to them, regardless of your schedule.

General Emergency Preparedness

Heat isn’t the only hazard workers may face. OSHA’s website provides resources for winter weather and just about every situation here. Preventative measures for all inclement weather issues is a worthwhile investment. OSHA offers free on-site consultations to help diligent employers eliminate any problems up front. Contact them at 1-800-321-OSHA for more information.

Bottom Line

Watching out for your workers’ safety is not just about staying compliant with the letter of the law, but about understanding and staying true to the spirit behind it. Even if you can push workers a little further to get the job done faster, it’s worth going above and beyond to provide a safe environment. Watching out for people makes workers more loyal and you’ll ultimately be more productive, too.

Agreement - Payreel

How to be a Hero to Your Freelancers and Employees

How to be a Hero to Your Freelancers and Employees 2560 1696 Alicia East

According to this report, more than half of freelancers have over 50K in unpaid/late invoices. If you’re one of the clients whose invoice is showing up in the red, you are going to lose favor with your workers. To a big company, that amount may seem like small potatoes, but to smaller businesses, it can be the difference between thriving and staying in business. If you’re quick to pay, you solve one of your workers’ most consistent challenges: cash flow.

No matter what, being a freelancer is hard. Especially at the beginning, when many freelancers operate like a one-man band. They pound the pavement to get work, they do the work, and then sometimes, they have to pound the pavement to actually get paid.

Among the other discouraging statistics, survey respondents reported the following:

  • 74% are not getting paid on time
  • 72% have outstanding, unpaid invoices
  • 59% are owed $50,000+

Here’s How You Can be a Hero to Your Workers

1. Pay a Down Payment

When it makes sense for the type of work, a down payment goes a long way for workers.

2. Guarantee Prompt Payment

Guaranteeing payment in 30 days max can be a game changer. Partnering with PayReel means your employees will be paid on time every single time. Not having to worry about whether your employees are taken care of means you remain in good favor and also that you don’t have to have a whole team to make sure it’s getting done. You already know it is! Make sure you are not the company contributing to someone’s $50K of lost or late payment and by extension, that people are ready to answer your call when you need them.

Independent Contractor Agreement - Payreel

Hiring Independent Contractors The Right Way

Hiring Independent Contractors The Right Way 2560 1920 Alicia East

Hiring independent contractors has many benefits. Companies appreciate the ability to engage only when needed and end engagement whenever it makes sense, outsourcing tasks not related to your core business, have less onboarding hassle, and not having to pay for benefits. It makes sense why engaging independent contractors is often to a company’s advantage, but only when it’s done in accordance with IRS guidelines. Here’s what you need to know to stay out of trouble. 

Let’s Start at the Very Beginning

The very best place to start whenever you’re engaging a worker is to classify correctly from the outset. Whether a worker is classified as an employee or an independent contractor guides what benefits they’re entitled to by law. Legal disputes over worker classification have plagued everyone from Uber to FedEx. Following the rules and classifying correctly from the beginning saves time and the potential for legal troubles. 

Be Ready to Adapt

From workers to legislators, people are thinking about how to manage the evolving employment 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. 

We can only guess how things will change, but we do expect them to change. Businesses that stay in tune with these kinds of conversations and legal considerations are in position to adapt as those changes come. When that’s not something a company can accommodate, engaging a third party to handle those details makes sense. 

Protect Yourself

There are some basic ways to protect yourself should the IRS ever come knocking. It’s always good business to create a contract with an independent contractor. This is beneficial for the business as well as for the worker as it makes sure everyone knows the expectations. From there, you must keep track of your payments to independent contractors and report them. Finally, while it’s usually unnecessary to withhold income taxes, you may receive a backup withholding notice from the IRS. In that case, you must withhold income taxes as indicated by the notice.

The Bottom Line

The world of independent contractors 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.

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 navigate it legally and ethically. If you can’t (or just don’t want to) keep up with the rules and developments, PayReel can keep up for you. Check out this handy guide to see if you might benefit from having a third party handle these details for you. Our team manages worker classification, payroll, and payroll taxes. In addition, as the employer of record, we even take on all risks 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.