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Ten Things You Need To Know About Being A Pet Sitting Employees VS. IC

Good help is hard to find, as any business owner knows. With the variety of web-based services which offer Independent Contractor (IC) opportunities for aspiring pet sitters and dog walkers, why would a pet lover choose to work for a traditional business as a pet sitting employee rather than working independently and possibly bringing home more cash?  

Becoming an employee of an established company offers lots benefits for folks who are interested in caring for pets. When considering how to proceed, it’s important that an individual consider several things. Below are the top 10 differences in working for an employer versus working for one’s self.

Ten Things You Need to Know About Being A Pet Sitting Employee VS. IC

pet sitting employee

1. Instant income

Possibly the most obvious benefit of working for someone else is the instant stream of work! Rather than posting a profile all over the internet, handing out business cards and hoping to meet people at the dog park, an established company already has visits lined up and ready to go for employees. There’s no need to hustle.

2. Overhead

All of the marketing and client retention is completed by the company, which takes time (and money!). If a client is unhappy, employees are still paid. If tools or supplies are needed, it’s covered. An IC is financially responsible for all things related to the care they provide during visits they are contracted to complete.

3. Insurance

Beyond covering overhead costs, a professional business will be insured and bonded by a reliable insurance company. Although some of the web-based services offer insurance, there have been several questionable situations where insurance refused to pay out – it can leave an IC open to liability.

4. Personal liability

When working under the umbrella of insurance and bonding provided by a corporation, employees are generally insulated from lawsuits claiming negligence or other civil suits; this is not the case when working as an IC.

5. Workers comp

Did you know many health insurance policies will not cover workplace injuries? Most professional pet care companies carry workers compensation insurance; this means, if an employee is injured while caring for a pet, there isn’t a reliance on private health insurance — or the employee’s personal bank account! Self-insurance for workers comp as an IC is available, but it can be very, very pricey.

6. Safety

With a professional company, clients are screened ahead of time for pet temperament, neighborhood safety and accuracy of information provided in advance of the first visit. Employees won’t go into a job blindly and just hope for the best.

7. Taxes

An employer covers roughly half of taxes owed by an individual, plus they file the employee’s portion automatically each quarter. An IC must pay the full amount of taxes on all monies earned at the end of the year – and that bill can be unexpectedly large.

8. Protocols

Most established companies have specific rules for how to handle uncomfortable and emergency situations. No need to make up a solution on the fly!

9. Education

Beyond having established protocols, many companies teach technical skills on how to best care for pets including body language, avoiding bites, etc.

10. There’s Always A Back-Up

Feeling sick? Have an emergency? By being employed by a company, there will be someone who can pick up the slack when you’re unable to perform your visits.  As an IC, you and your clients may be out of luck.

 

Ultimately, both approaches have their perks. It comes down to what’s most important to an individual when deciding how they would like to pursue a career with pets! By properly presenting the information above, an IC for an internet company may be persuaded to instead join a professional team.

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Robin Brown is the owner and founder of Manhattan Mutt Company, LLC in Manhattan, Kansas. She is a Yankee-born, Southern-bred, Midwestern transplant. Her life revolves around her husband’s Army career, a sassy toddler and the dogs who inspired her to launch MMCo.

 

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pet sitting independent contractors

The Problems With Pet Sitting Independent Contractors

I have to admit that I am not a huge fan of hiring pet sitting independent contractors for your business. Personally, I think investing in employees is a much better decision.  If you have IC’s or are thinking about hiring IC’s, we’re going to draw some attention to some of the challenges there are with hiring pet sitting independent contractors.

The Problems With Hiring Pet Sitting Independent Contractorspet sitting independent contractors

Lack Of Control

To be quite honest, I have yet to meet a business owner who is not a control freak (myself included!). This is easily one of the biggest downfalls of hiring IC’s because you really can’t control what they do.

Seems weird right?

But it’s true.

With IC’s, training is only allowed by the client themselves, not by you or a manager. Yes you can offer suggestions, but you can’t train them on the important aspects of HOW to do pet sits. This could be detrimental in developing your company’s brand, because 10 different IC’s may do pet sits 10 different ways and they should! They are all representing their own business.

Check out this quote from the IRS website that gives a great summation as to what limits IC’s have:

“The general rule is that an individual is an independent contractor if the payer has the right to control or direct only the result of the work and not what will be done and how it will be done.” – IRS.gov

Strict Rules & Regulations

Many times I’ve seen businesses go through more headache and hassle with different government agencies by having IC’s! This goes hand in hand with my previous point that you as the business owner cannot control or manage what the IC does. This makes it very easy for you to inadvertently overstep your bounds, creating a potential problem. I have heard of a lot of business owners emailing instructions to their IC in writing, which is a big no-no!

I’ve found that business owners that have IC’s are frequently “on the defense” so to speak. They’re having to constantly look over their shoulder and avoid putting any communication with the IC in writing to cover themselves. I’ve actually spoken to business owners that have gotten a knock on their door for something they’ve done a year ago.

To me, no matter what benefits IC’s bring, it’s not worth the fear of getting in trouble. None of us, myself included, are legal experts or auditors, making it very easy for us to slip up and get ourselves in trouble or audited.

Insurance Complications

When you have employees, they are covered under your pet sitting insurance policy – plain and simple. This is not the case with IC’s. Sure, an insurance agency will allow them to be covered under your master policy, but then who is absorbing the cost? You are. Therefore, they would be classified as employees!

There is insurance for liability, if you are negligent on the job… but there is also workman’s compensation for if a worker is hurt on a job. Independent Contractors, by definition should have these insurance policies. Most do not.

In your client’s eyes, your IC’s represent your company. It’s really not a good look when a representative of your company is suing your client for an injury. Plus, there is the possibility they could go after you as well. Overall, it’s just a giant headache, and one that can be totally avoided by hiring employees rather than IC’s

While there are still pet sitting business owners that use IC’s, it’s not something I would recommend in today’s business world. If you’re looking to make “the switch,” from ICs to employees be sure to follow these crucial 6 steps and check out my Employee Quickstart Program.