Re: Indepenent Contractor questions

Subject: Re: Indepenent Contractor questions
From: "Jeanne A. E. DeVoto" <jaed -at- jaedworks -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Sat, 11 Mar 2000 18:40:50 -0800

At 4:42 PM -0800 3/11/2000, Tim Lewis wrote:
>I am currently working as a TW for a company through a temporary services
>agency. My boss and I have agreed to discontinue the relationship with the
>temp agency soon. Then the client will hire me as an independent contractor
>through my business.

Make sure neither your contract nor your client's requires payment of a fee
to the agency. (Many agencies collect a finder's fee from the client if the
client hires you fulltime or indy.) You probably cannot be legally
prevented from working for the client, or sued for doing so, but it's
possible your client could be sued and you could be dragged into
unpleasantness, so check your contract and make sure you have a clear
understanding of what it says about this situation.

>I expect I will be working 40 to 45 hours per week during their normal
>working hours like I do now. I know they cannot tell me when to work or how
>many hours. I will clearly state in the contract that I am an independent
>contractor and not an employee who expects employee benefits. I know I
>should limit the duration of the contract such as one month, renewable by
>mutual agreement. Should I put a limit on the number of hours I will work
>per week?

No need, unless the client prefers it. Some clients want such a limit to
avoid being blindsided by huge overtime bills; in this sort of case, you
can write into the contract that you will not bill for more than XXX hours
in any given week without written authorization from your client contact.
This leaves you and them some flexibility in case of crunches.

And as someone else mentioned, one month is overly conservative. It sounds
like you're concerned about possible IRS trouble, being declared an
"employee" after the fact, losing your business deductibles, and having
your client fined. My feeling is that a better approach would be to
contract with your client on a per-project basis. You can either go flat
rate on a project, or bill them by the hour (the latter method has fewer
minefields). When a new project comes up, you can sign a new contract for
that project.

>I know I will need to see other clients from time to time. Should I write
>into the contract that I am free to take time for other business and that I
>am not working for them exclusively?

It's not necessary. That's assumed - since you are not an employee, they
have no right to control who you do and don't work for. But you may want to
bring this up with your contact at the client, because of the potential
impact on the number of hours you can devote to them during crunch times.
You can mention, for example, that over the next month you're going to have
only 30 hours/week available for them. Giving a heads-up about limits on
your time is responsible and reasonable, without giving any implication
that they have a right to control your work time.

>When you work on-site, how do you usually report the number of hours you
>work for a client?

However long I'm at the client site. Travel time is billed only if the
client is so far away that travel is onerous (and if that's a factor, it's
discussed up front and mentioned in the contract). If I'm there and working
or ready to work, it gets billed.

jeanne a. e. devoto ~ jaed -at- jaedworks -dot- com

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