Freelancer Management

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How to Know It’s Time to Simplify Your Process For Onboarding Freelancers

How to Know It’s Time to Simplify Your Process For Onboarding Freelancers 6000 4000 Alicia East

If one or more of the following statements is true for you when it comes to onboarding freelancers, it might be time to reconsider your methods:

  1. We spent more time onboarding freelancers in 2021 than we did in 2020
  2. Our team has a basic understanding of the terms exempt, non-exempt, W-2, and 1099 but can’t define them in our sleep  
  3. The above terms give me a headache
  4. We have workers in multiple states

The Challenges With Onboarding  

One of the hardest (and most important) things about setting up your workforce is classifying workers correctly. That’s why we cover worker classification extensively here on our blog. On a day to day basis, it’s important to know who’s a strong worker, who might need a little bit of help, and who has potential to grow into other roles. On the front end, accurate worker classification is crucial to preventing issues later. With the Department of Labor’s ever-increasing focus on worker classification errors, it’s incredibly important to get it right up front. 

Another incredibly important aspect of bringing on new workers is making sure you’re paying them accurately and in a timely manner. This includes payroll taxes. Since each state has strict pay deadlines for specific types of employees it’s important (and hard!) to stay on top of the ever-changing wage laws at the federal, state, and local levels. Along with differing wage laws, some states and localities require a different taxation method than the federal government does. 

Enter PayReel

If offloading some of your onboarding paperwork would free up your time and energy for the creative parts of your projects, it might be time to consider bringing on a partner. PayReel is equipped to manage events, employees, and all the associated paperworkOur team stays well versed in local, state, and ever-changing federal tax methods and laws to make sure employees are happy, clients are covered, and the IRS is bored. 

Here’s where we stress (and the only time we stress), we got it.

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4 Skills That Increase Your Hireability

4 Skills That Increase Your Hireability 5760 3840 Alicia East

Freelancing is a balls to the wall, pride-swallowing siege. How do you make business yours when it seems every other freelancer is fighting for it, too? One way is to solve the problems clients have (the ones they called you about) and then go even further by solving the ones they haven’t even thought about yet. That’s when you become an advisor clients can’t live without rather than a freelancer they can replace tomorrow.

Every freelancer should seek to be as hireable as possible to the right people in today’s competitive marketplace.

Here Are Four Skills That Can Enhance What You Already Offer

Network and Information Security

With cybercriminals making headlines, it’s no surprise that people who can combat this threat increase their desirability. Whether you’re primarily a writer, video producer, website developer, or designer, being able to offer clients additional peace of mind is priceless. Especially for small businesses, who may not have a team dedicated specifically to security, your expertise adds value and makes you an essential team member.


With new sites being added daily, the Internet is basically one big WordPress matrix. Even if it’s not their core business, content creators who can build, update, or fix WordPress sites will keep businesses from having to hire additional people. Saving clients money is one surefire way to get in their good graces. Many free courses will absolutely give you a return on your time invested.


The only thing as constant as change is changing itself…and SEO. A clever behind-the-scenes glut of the right words doesn’t get results anymore. SEO has gotten much more sophisticated and tough to crack. The real key is increasing traffic organically. Having the tools to have an intelligent conversation on the subject and being able to point clients toward solutions makes you extra valuable.

Sales Funnels

Sales funnels are a key to converting all that organic traffic into action. If you already have some knowledge of landing page design and content strategy, ClickFunnels (or something similar) is a great way to take your skills to the next level.

Bottom Line  

If you want to have an edge in the marketplace, it’s time for you to learn some of the skills that make you more marketable. You can become an asset to your clients with education you can find for free on each of these topics. From there, if you want to become an expert in any of them, you can invest further in your education where you see interest in your clients and feel most interested yourself.  This is how to make all the dolla dolla bills, y’all.

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The Hidden Benefit to Paying Contractors in 30 Days

The Hidden Benefit to Paying Contractors in 30 Days 800 534 Alicia East

Internal processes, red tape, and backlogged accounting departments make it hard to get checks in the mail. We definitely understand. Even when a practice is common among other companies, a slow corporate freelance payment policy might prevent you from working with the best people.

Paying Contractors On Time Is Good For Companies

We know that keeping workers happy can be a pain the arse. Still, like many things, a different perspective makes all the difference. 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. The true pain is having to go through the entire process of finding someone who is a good fit and bringing them up to speed just because your tried and true contractors have prioritized other companies.

If the benefits to you aren’t enough, think about it from the workers’ perspective. Freelancers single-handedly juggle creative work, billing, marketing, and more. That means the person who sees your invoice in their red column is often 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

Just because many large companies have made it a practice to hoard cash and squeeze small businesses to increase their own bottom lines doesn’t mean you have to follow suit. 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 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.”

How To Improve Client Relations (An Uncomfortable Take)

How To Improve Client Relations (An Uncomfortable Take) 150 150 Alicia East

Olympian Abby Wambach said the thing that concerns athletes the most is when the coach ignores you. If the coach didn’t give feedback, it meant they’d given up on her. On the other hand, if she was getting coaching–even difficult or rough-around-the-edges coaching–she knew she was relevant and they believed in her. It’s time to view feedback the same way in business.

Sure, compliments feel better than complaints or even comments on where you can improve. Can you honestly say that you always appreciate this type of feedback? Maybe not. But the best thing any business 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 every complaint as the gift that it is. In customer oriented organizations, complaints should be embraced with the same anticipation and curiosity as those in wrapped in silver paper and a big red bow. 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? Executive relationships are vital. Giving your clients the ability to pick up the phone and share concerns directly with upper management is the business equivalent of being one of Santa’s LinkedIn connections. Direct line to the source.
  3. Respond quickly. Clients know you’re busy. Sometimes simply making their concern a top priority is enough to smooth rough waters. Sometimes being heard does as much to fix the problem as an actual fix does.
  4. Thank the gift giver. When someone gives you a gift, you express gratitude, right? 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. That’s an even better gift!


How (And Why) to Give Workers What They Want Most in The COVID World

How (And Why) to Give Workers What They Want Most in The COVID World 150 150 Alicia East

What’s most important to workers in the COVID world?

To no one’s surprise, COVID-19 has impacted people’s career choices and preferences. A recent poll shows 53% are currently looking for a new job that would allow them to avoid offices altogether.

The poll shows most respondents are doubtful that office jobs will return even after the COVID-19 pandemic and that people are looking for new experiences. Not surprisingly, workers are looking for a career that makes them feel valued. While respondents are eager for change, it still takes around 6 months to make major career decisions.

Why Many Workers Are Embracing Contract Work

COVID-19 has accelerated an already-increasing trend. Both contractors and traditionally-employed folks are working more from home. Contract work seems to be especially appealing to young workers who have spent a lifetime consuming quick-moving digital content and don’t want to be bored. Employers have their work cut out for them to keep these expressive, gifted, and demanding people engaged.

Those who love contract work value being able to choose when, how, and where they work. They can pick the jobs that appeal to them. They can decide whether to accept a job or hit the slopes. It has (at least in theory) restored the work / life balance that younger generations feel their parents’ generation lost.

Drawbacks of Contract Work

Brick and mortar offices were already scaling down before COVID-19 and while their prominence in the workforce is decreasing, they still exist. Time will tell whether we still need them. Contract work still has its drawbacks, including less stability and fewer built-in benefits such as 401K matching, paid sick days, paid holidays, and healthcare. Having fewer workers on-site can also pose challenges for businesses because the office environment encourages team morale and facilitates communication, which in turn supports a unified brand identity. Being in one location also allows for in-person meetings. I don’t know anyone who would say Zoom meetings are an adequate substitute for that.

Why Does it Matter?

An evolving workforce means evolving workplaces. Fewer full-time positions and more project-oriented, “we’ll call you when we need you” jobs may fit what young, culturally diverse people coming into the workforce are looking for. Being able to work remotely and without being anchored to a single employer is a major draw for some, especially in the middle of a pandemic. Work that allows workers to explore and thrive is more valuable than ever.

Whether you’re looking for workers or looking for work, the landscape is evolving. Do your part to be ready for it.

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How to make paying contractors the easiest part of your job

How to make paying contractors the easiest part of your job 2560 1707 Alicia East

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

Make your life easy and your workers happy

1. Make events of any size a breeze

Whether you’re payrolling thousands of workers, sending a crew to an NBA game, or something in between it’s nice to know all the details are handled. 

2.  Humans when you want them. Automation when you don’t.

Things 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. And our online system allows you to take care of just about anything…at any hour…with a few taps or clicks. 

3. No trees were harmed in the making of this paperwork 

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. Paperwork without the paper? Yes, please! 

4. Speedy payment

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.

5. Happy workers

Speaking of keeping workers happy, 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 for a month, we make sure workers get paid quickly and accurately so if you want to hire them again, they’ll be ready to pick up the call.

As Michael, one of the freelancers PayReel pays, said, “[My Customer Experience Manager] has been superb in addressing whatever problems I have had.”

6. Event payroll as easy as 1, 2, 3, w-4

By managing all the payment details, including the mountains of W-4s, payroll becomes 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. Or contact us at 303-526-4900.


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Employer of Record: what it is and who needs it most

Employer of Record: what it is and who needs it most 2560 1920 Alicia East

Employer of record (noun):

a) a company or organization that is legally responsible for paying employees, including dealing with employee taxes, benefits, insurance, etc.

b) your secret weapon for eliminating red tape for hiring and keeping you out of court

While you’re not going to find that second definition in the dictionary, it’s certainly one of the top benefits of partnering with an Employer of Record (EOR). Let’s take a look at the reasons some companies outsource this important part of their business.

What are some of the top benefits of having an EOR?

An EOR serves as the employer and takes on all related responsibilities and liabilities while employees work for another company. An EOR does some or all of the following:

  • Makes hiring new workers enormously easier and faster
  • Covers payroll management for freelancers
  • Maintains current headcount
  • Guarantees on-time payment
  • Handles all compliance issues
  • Provides workers’ comp and all necessary insurance for contractors
  • Conducts background checks and drug screenings
  • Turns a mountain of hiring paperwork (certificates of insurance, I-9s, E-verify forms, and so on) into a mole hill
  • Terminates employees, administers benefits, and handles some worker issues

Who needs an EOR?

We find that clients with a lot of freelance hiring needs on tight deadlines benefit greatly from partnering with an EOR because it makes onboarding–often one of the most painful parts of the process–a nonissue. They also love that outsourcing many of these services helps eliminate or at least reduce the need for an internal HR department. Since we specialize in these services, we have systems in place to make everything as efficient and smooth as possible. Sometimes, it’s the difference between staffing and finishing projects on time and tanking a project before it really even gets off the ground.

Bottom line

Not every company needs an EOR, but for those who do, it’s a game changer. If you think your might be in the latter category, reach out to us and we’ll talk through solutions for your unique situation. Your life is about to get a whole lot easier.

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How to Maintain Company Culture with a Remote Workforce

How to Maintain Company Culture with a Remote Workforce 2281 1456 Alicia East

Pixar’s cereal bar is the stuff of legend. The famous first stop for anyone who tours the studio isn’t what the company culture is built on, but it is a noteworthy expression of a company culture that cultivates creative expression, communication, and a feeling of purpose among workers.

You don’t need a cereal bar, but that feeling? That’s worth emulating. After all, the experience your workers have working with and for your company affects not just their quality of lives but your business overall, too.

Don’t misunderstand: A positive company culture is more than ping pong in the break room, nap pods, or free bagels day. In fact, you don’t need a break room, or even a workplace at all, to have a company culture.

You already work hard to foster the culture within your physical space. Here’s how you can maintain that company culture with a remote workforce.

Integrate culture into interviews and on-boarding

One way to maintain and strengthen your company’s culture when working with a variable, contract, or remote workforce is to start from day one. Provide a culture orientation that introduces new team members to the culture. Whatever form the message takes it should do the following:

Explain what your culture is
Define your mission statement and core values
Give examples of the culture in action

Share this information with new team members as part of the on-boarding process. Make it available for all employees to reference. Train your hiring managers and staffing or crewing agency to make sure potential workers are a good fit for both the role and the culture. You could also create a peer mentoring program where teammates on-board each other and train new members on the brand.

By integrating your culture from the very first touchpoint, you can set it up for success — no matter how many miles separate teammates.

Foster communication

In co-located offices, important information often gets exchanged in break rooms, hallways, impromptu meetings, and at after-work drinks. With a remote team, you have to go out of your way to overcome the “watercooler gap.” Create digital opportunities for teammates to connect and collaborate.

Tools such as video conferencing, instant messaging, and online collaboration methods like Zoom, Slack, and Google Hangouts can help shrink the miles. Detailed meeting notes and recorded discussions can help make sure the right people are in the loop, even if they’re in different time zones.

Use tools that reflect and support your culture

Just like connections, the personality and culture of co-located offices develop through the interactions they’re home to. It evolves through the proverbial watercooler talks, whiteboard sessions, inside jokes, and shared experiences. Your remote team (or team of short-term contractors) can develop something similar through the tools you use every day.

As Nick Francis said, “A culture’s effectiveness revolves around how information flows.” That means you need to adopt tools and processes that will foster communication and that will also serve as an extension and vehicle of the culture.

Engage workers

Another way you can help maintain company culture across your remote workforce is by creating opportunities for social interaction and employee engagement. While a weekly happy hour wouldn’t be realistic, something like a virtual book club could be. Or if you’re aiming to build camaraderie or foster teamwork, you could host a monthly game night where workers team up for an online video game tournament.

It doesn’t have to be all fun and games. You could host monthly lunch-and-learns over Zoom or Google Hangouts, or you could create a Slack channel where workers can recognize and give each other kudos. You might also consider implementing weekly video updates where you share company-wide news, birthday announcements, or whatever’s culturally relevant to your organization. There are countless ways you can engage remote workers. Find what works for your team and make it a habit.

The bottom line

It’s worth investing your remote workforce’s culture. Companies with strong cultures tend to see higher rates of productivity, be more profitable, and retain top talent. Thankfully, you don’t need a headquarters to reap the benefits of positive company culture.

Learn how partnering with PayReel to manage your contingent workforce can free up your resources to focus on strengthening your culture and bottom line.


At PayReel, we minimize the time and effort it takes to get you ready for your project. Rely on PayReel to assume all of the risk associated with worker classification and get back to the business at hand. We make sure everyone gets paid quickly and easily and have Client Relationship Managers on call around the clock to answer your questions. All you have to do is call 303-526-4900 or email us. The PayReel team makes video production, live events, media, and entertainment payroll easier, faster, and seamless.

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A Dynamex Decision newsflash: It’s about to get real with Assembly Bill 5

A Dynamex Decision newsflash: It’s about to get real with Assembly Bill 5 6000 4000 Heidi McLean

If you’re paying attention to the world of independent contractors (ICs), you’re already familiar with the Dynamex Decision (which we covered here). So what makes the recent Assembly Bill 5 news flashy? It’s that this bill approves codifying the ruling. That means the decision is one step closer to being iron-clad law (along with all the usual associated legalese and fines, of course).  

What are the arguments?

Reclassifying many ICs as employees protects workers

Supporters of the bill, such as San Diego Assembly member Lorena González said, “Big businesses shouldn’t be able to pass their costs on to taxpayers while depriving workers of the labor law protections they are rightfully entitled to.”

While it certainly affects many more industries than the ride-hailing apps Lyft and Uber, those companies do often end up at the center of the debate. Multiple class action lawsuits prove that plenty of drivers are fighting for the labor protections that come with being employees.

It’s not really about the workers

California frequently passes laws claiming to support the workers, but company representatives for the ride-hailing apps are quick to say workers like the freedom to create their own schedules. You’ll find many independent contractors (drivers as well as those in other industries) who agree. They like being able to choose compatible clients and projects and build a business for themselves instead of feeling like a cog in a corporate wheel.

Some workers could end up making less as employees. Employers don’t pay ICs the same taxes and benefits as they do employees and may start negotiating lower hourly rates for workers in order to keep their profits strong. That means newly-minted employees may make less even as they get access to benefits such as unemployment insurance, health care subsidies, paid parental leave, overtime pay, workers’ compensation, and a guaranteed $12 minimum hourly wage.

What is it most certainly about?

Money, cash, and dollar dollar bills

This goes for all parties. This New York Times article says companies like Uber and Lyft would have to raise their labor costs by 20 to 30 percent if they reclassify drivers as employees.

Big-time tax dollars (as in billions with a B)

According to the court’s ruling on the Dynamex decision, “the misclassification of workers as independent contractors rather than employees is a very serious problem, depriving federal and state governments of billions of dollars in tax revenue.”

Small businesses can avoid certain taxes with fewer employees and independent contractors can write off business expenses and may also underreport their income. Hence the resulting “deprivation.”

What about exemptions?  

Not all ICs want to be employees

Many hairstylists, for example, benefit from the “booth rental” model. As part of the salon, they get the benefit of the establishment’s marketing as well as possible walk-in clients. Still, they set their own schedule, manage their own business, and keep any earnings beyond their rent.

The bill seeks to accommodate such industries, hairstylists included, by exempting them from the ruling. There are plenty of other exemptions (such as doctors, dentists, lawyers, architects, insurance agents, accountants, engineers, financial advisers, and real estate agents) in the bill for professionals deemed true independent contractors who negotiate their own contracts.

The bottom line

It’s hard to overstate the potential impact of this subject. These headlines (from this week) demonstrate that this isn’t the last we’ve heard on the subject:

California bill advances, could shape battle in other states

This bill could make Uber drivers employees in California

Just can’t get enough of Dynamex?! We promise to cover everything you’d ever want to know about it and maybe a few things you wish you didn’t need to know.  

About PayReel:

At PayReel, we minimize the time and effort it takes to get you ready for your project. Rely on PayReel to assume all of the risk associated with contingent workforce management and get back to the business at hand. We make sure everyone gets paid quickly and easily and have Client Relationship Managers on call around the clock to answer your questions. All you have to do is call 303-526-4900 or email us. The PayReel team makes live event, corporate media, and brand management payroll easier, faster, and seamless.


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The biggest myth about the gig economy just got busted

The biggest myth about the gig economy just got busted 4000 2764 Heidi McLean

The internet and all its digital descendents (apps, mobile workspaces, etc.) have made it logistically easier than ever to both be and to hire a creative, freelancer, and side hustler. That much is true. Beyond that, there are a whole bunch of splashy headlines and semi-educated guesses about the gig economy’s reach and impact.

Due in part to two Ivy league economists’ predictions, 2015’s descriptions of the gig economy conjured images of companies dismantling their corporate offices while employees flee to the beaches with their sunscreen and laptops. Now, the question is up for debate again. Is the gig economy the wave of the future? Did it ever happen at all?

Either way, it’s time to revisit one of the biggest misconceptions about the gig economy.

The biggest myth about the gig economy just got busted by the same economists who predicted it

Myth: The gig economy is taking over the world!!!  

The 2015 study that launched a thousand predictions said that from 2005 to 2015, the proportion of American workers engaged in “alternative work” jumped from 10.7% to 15.8%accounting for nearly all of the job growth during that period. This led many to believe the gig economy would supplant the traditional workforce in grand, irreversible ways. As always though, the truth tends to be a little more complicated than surface numbers can tell us.

Estimates indicate that the contingent workforce makes up somewhere between 10.1% and 35% of the economy. It’s none other than the Bureau of Labor Statistics that reported the higher number in 2017saying 55 million people were gig workers. They went so far as to project the number would increase to around 43% by 2020. That seems like a whole lot, but one important note is that its estimates include everyone from the freelance writer with steady retainer contracts to the weekend Uber driver supplementing her income with an occasional shift. As is always the case with estimates, every differencefrom definitions to the source of informationinfluences the results and leads to large gaps in the findings. 

One common cause for confusion is the fact that contingent workforce and gig economy are often used interchangeably. In reality, the contingent workforce pie consists of many different types of work arrangements (only one of which truly constitutes the gig economy). The first two slices of pie include staffing arrangements and independent contractor projects that are defined by an SOW and milestone based contracts. True gig workers make up the third piece and include those in micro-burst jobs and hourly gigs. They typically find work and get paid through a platform (such as Uber).

Additionally, the same economists who wrote that influential 2015 study now say it was flawedbased on inaccurate data inflated by the recession. This article indicates that, with the benefit of hindsight, the labor economists who wrote the study have revised their findings. Rather than accounting for nearly all of the job growth between 2005 and 2015, they say the gig economy grew modestlymore like one or 2 points.

Rather than an “explosion,” the gig economy seems to be in the decidedly less sexy category of a steady progression.

What we know

Things are changing just like they always do. For workers looking to freelance as a career or thinking of it as a stepping stone to a dream job, it’s never been easier to take the leap. We’ll be keeping an eye on how things continue to shift, including how legislation such as the Dynamex Ruling changes the way we do business.

Whether the predictions that led to a hyped narrative around the gig economy were entirely accurate or not, the government is still paying extra close attention to accurate worker classification. No matter where this evolution leads, it behooves employers to stay on top of accurate worker classification. The consequences of misclassification don’t change with the headlines.

About PayReel:

At PayReel, we minimize the time and effort it takes to get you ready for your project. Rely on PayReel to assume all of the risk associated with worker classification and get back to the business at hand. We make sure everyone gets paid quickly and easily and have Client Relationship Managers on call around the clock to answer your questions. All you have to do is call 303-526-4900 or email us. The PayReel team makes live event, corporate media, and brand management payroll easier, faster, and seamless.