Q: Who is an independent contractor, or an employee? (If you're an owner-operator, see WHO CAN CLAIM IOWA BENEFITS.)

A: It depends. (This might hurt less if you think along the lines of Jeff Foxworthy's "you might be a redneck if..." http://www.countryhumor.com/redneck/mightbe.htm. [Yes, I've been tempted to do #300.])

You might be an independent contractor if:

1. You look like you have your own business, have phone book ad, signs, on your shed, barn, garage..., or have cards, a company, employees, truck (With your name & number on it, especially, if it says what you do!), tools, supplies, materials...you get the idea.

2. You set your price, or at least haggle for it.

3. It's by the job, so it doesn't pay to work slow.

4. You signed a piece of paper that looks like a contract.

5. You have your own pieces of paper that look like a contract.

6. They only say what is supposed to be done.

7. You figure out how.

8. You do this kind of work for others.

9. You tell your own employees, if you have any, what to do, and how.

10. You can fire them, if you have them, and if they don't.

11. You pay them out of that price you got.

12. You could have employees.

13. You control the progress of the job, and how it's done.

14. You could control, even if you don't bother.

15. You only get to work until the job is done.

16. You do whatever it is you do, for someone who isn't in the business of doing whatever it is you're doing.

17. You have no supervisor.

18. Only others get benefits.

19. You are on your own when you get sick, go to the doctor, retire, get hurt, take vacation, figure out what you owe IRS...

20. You think you are.

21. Others believe you are.

22. You don't want to be.

23. You tell anyone you are.

24. The Agency says you are.

25. The Courts agree.*

*Note, no one factor controls, except the last one. (top)

On the other hand, you might be an employee if:

1. The guy who hired you has most of this stuff. (See, 1 above.)

2. He tells you how much you're going to get per hour, day, week, month, year, or whatever.

3. It pays to work slow, so long as you don't get fired.

4. Your piece of paper looks like an employment contract.

5. You didn't bring your own piece of paper that looks like a contract with you.

6. They tell you what's supposed to be done when, and where to do it.

7. They tell you how, too.

8. When you get home, you're too tired to do this for anyone else.

9. Other employees tell you what to do and how.

10. They can get you fired if you don't.

11. You don't get enough to pay anyone else, at least until you get home.

12. You have your dog. (See, 12 above.)

13. The line speed controls the progress of the job, and how many mistakes you make.

14. You can't control anything.

15. You get to work until you can't, or they send you home.

16. This is their business, not yours. Especially, if they have other employees doing it too.

17. You have a supervisor.

18. You might get some benefits.

19. You have sick days, you pay only part of your doctor's bill, you (maybe) get a pension when you retire, you may get work comp if you have an injury connected with your work, you get vacation days, time & a half for overtime, IRS gets theirs up front...

20. You think you are. (But, see above.)

21. Others believe you are.

22. You want to be.

23. The right people tell you, you are.

24. The Agency says you are.

25. The Courts agree.*

*Note, again, no one factor controls, except the last one.

It boils down to one old legal concept, "master or servant." Which are you?

And, one word, "control." Who has it? (top)


Q: Why should anyone care?

A: Independent contractors don't get Workers' Compensation, even if they are hurt on the job. Unless, they have bought their own workers' compensation insurance, and not opted out to save money. See, WHO CAN CLAIM IOWA BENEFITS. (top)

Do not guess, if you have questions regarding which you, or the person doing your work, may be, you should consult an attorney. Remember, this is one question there will be two sides to.

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