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Episode 979

Hiring Employees vs. Partnering with Independent Contractors: Making the Right Decision: Episode 979


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Episode 979
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Episode 979 – Hiring Employees vs. Partnering with Independent Contractors: Making the Right Decision


In a recent GMCC coaching session, the discussion revolved around the decision of whether to hire employees or partner with independent contractors. A member of the Clean Profit Elite, Dante, sought guidance on this matter as his business projected an increase in new clients and he needed to make a choice promptly. Mike offered insights and advice based on his experience with both options. This blog post aims to summarize the key points discussed in the podcast, providing valuable information for entrepreneurs facing a similar decision.

Flexibility and Cost Savings: The Case for Contractors

Mike acknowledged that hiring independent contractors offers flexibility and potential savings in payroll taxes and workers’ compensation. However, he emphasized the importance of workers’ compensation insurance for contractors working on physical tasks to protect against potential liabilities and injuries. While contractors are technically responsible for their own workers’ compensation, it is often unlikely that lower-paid contractors will have adequate coverage. Therefore, the savings on payroll taxes might be offset by the need to provide workers’ compensation insurance, making this benefit less significant.

Liabilities and Insurance: The Importance of Employees

Mike highlighted the risks associated with relying heavily on contractors, particularly in the cleaning business. Residential clients, especially those with high-value properties, are more likely to require proof of insurance and workers’ compensation. In the event of accidents or injuries, liability could fall on both the contractor and the business owner. Employing W-2 employees ensures greater control over the quality of service, proper training, and compliance with regulations, reducing potential liabilities and legal complications.

Contractors as Partners: Clarifying the Relationship

To clarify the distinction, Mike explained that there are two types of contractors. One type, like himself, operates as a real company with multiple clients and provides services independently. The other type refers to partnering with other cleaning companies or contractors to handle additional work. While the latter arrangement might seem appealing, Mike cautioned against relying too heavily on it, as it could lead to a lack of control and potential complications in the future.

Understanding Contractors' Guidelines

Mike discussed the guidelines distinguishing contractors from employees. Contractors typically provide their own equipment and supplies, determine their work schedules, and possess a certain level of independence. However, if contractors are treated as employees and audited by the government, misclassification issues may arise, leading to back taxes and legal troubles. Compliance with guidelines is essential to avoid such risks.

Balancing Costs and Margins

Dante shared that he operates on a 60/40 split with his contractors, meaning they receive 60% of the revenue. While this arrangement may seem favorable, Mike pointed out that it might not be sustainable in the long run.

Considerations for Scaling and Future Goals

While Dante found the current contractor arrangement beneficial due to the convenience and reduced responsibilities, Mike advised against solely relying on this model for long-term growth. He emphasized the importance of building a business that can stand on its own, as over time, contractors might realize they can get a better deal elsewhere. To achieve his ultimate goals, Dante should carefully analyze customer profitability, seek a sustainable cost structure, and consider the potential challenges of relying heavily on contractors.


Deciding between hiring employees or partnering with independent contractors is a crucial consideration for business owners. The podcast discussion shed light on the benefits and risks associated with each option, ultimately guiding entrepreneurs toward informed decision-making. While contractors offer flexibility and potential cost savings, the importance of workers’ compensation and insurance cannot be overlooked. Building a reliable team of employees and ensuring compliance with guidelines often leads to better control.
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