Scheduling a business to come clean your windows is a no-brainer, right? How hard can it be? All you have to do is to go online, read a couple of reviews, and schedule an appointment. However, savvy customers don’t stop there. They put on their “detective hats” and pursue additional information to several very important decision criteria before finalizing their vendor choice.
What is an Independent Contractor?
This blog will define what an “independent contractor” is and will explain why local window cleaning businesses owners are staffing their companies with an increasingly larger number of “independent contractors” INSTEAD of hiring company employees. We will explain how the use of “independent contractors” can increase the risk of an unsatisfactory window cleaning service as well as possible financial loss for the customer. Finally, we will pass along some tips that will help you spot “independent contractors” posing as company employees.
A legitimate “independent contractor must pass the IRS Independent Contractor Test consisting of 11 main tests and organized into three main groups: behavioral control, financial control, and the type of relationship of the parties. In reality, very few if any of the window cleaner folks claiming to be “independent contractors” even begin to come close to passing all 11 tests.
Why are an increasingly growing number of window cleaning business owners choosing to use these “independent contractors” instead of hiring employees? The following is a list of some of the reasons:
- There is a growing shortage of people in the workforce willing to performing manual labor jobs. This shortage has reduced the number of experienced window cleaners in the labor pool available to be hired and has driven up wages substantially.
- “Independent contractors” are responsible to pay their own employment taxes saving the employer about 8% of total labor costs. In reality, many of these independent contractors are paid “cash on the side” and never receive Form 1099-NEC’s.
- “Independent contractors” are expected to carry workers compensation insurance and general liability insurance saving the window cleaning business owner another 10 to 15% of total labor costs. However, ”Independent contractors” almost never carry these insurance policies because: A) Arizona law does not require that business owners carry worker’s comp insurance on themselves and; B) Many of these independent contractors are not charging enough for the services they provide to be to afford these required insurance policies.
- Some business owners can’t afford to keep an employee on payroll year-round because of the extreme seasonality of the window cleaning business.
- Some business owners can’t afford the cash outlay to add additional vehicles and their associated operating costs.” Independent contractors” are responsible for providing their own vehicles.
Reasons why consumers should very carefully consider whether or not to retain a window cleaning company that use “independent contractors”
- “Independent contractors” are almost never covered by workers compensation insurance. Should one of these individuals be hurt on your property, you could easily find yourself defending an expensive lawsuit.
- ‘’Independent contractors” almost never carry general liability insurance. Should one of these individuals damage your property, you will likely find yourself responsible to pay for their damage,
- By definition, “independent contractors” do not have an employee employer relationship. Therefore, the business owner may not tell them how to do their job or when to do their job nor may the owner provide training.
A few tips to help you spot “independent contractors” posing as company employees
- Have a general conversation with the business owner covering general business practices such as the use of “independent contractors”.
- Ask the window cleaning company to provide proof of Worker’s Compensation insurance coverage and general liability coverage before allowing its workers on your property,
- Does the window cleaner arrive at your property driving a company truck with signage on it?
- Is the window cleaner wearing a company uniform?
Hopefully, you now know the what a window cleaning subcontractor is. You understand why more and more window cleaning companies are using subcontractors. You have become aware of the potential liabilities of allowing subcontractors on your property. Lastly, you have gained some insight as to the types of questions to ask window cleaning business owners before hiring them to service your property.