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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2017

    Default Using Independent Contractors for a Cleaning Business

    Hey guys,
    My question involves using independent contractors in the state of California.
    I started a cleaning business a couple of months ago, and now I'm working hard on the legal aspects.

    Basically what my company does is market and get paying residential/commercial customers. Then we send out work orders to Independent contractors we hired to do the job.
    But I know there are alot of huge grey areas in using Independent contractors.

    Here are my questions:

    1. Is a non solicitation agreement to your contractors so they won't steal your customers behind your back enforceable in the state of California? (Been hearing alot of mixed debate on this)

    2. Can you deduct or charge your Independent contractors money/fees if they cost your company money? For example if they showed up late/ cancelled last minute, did a horrible job,etc... Can we enforce a policy where we charge them a certain amount of fees from their debit card/deduct money from their pay?

    3. Can you pay your Independent contractors hourly? We charge our customers hourly so I really have no choice but to pay our ICs hourly as well.

    4.I know giving uniforms is suppoused to be illegal to ICs. BUT, I've read in a multiple places that there are ways to enforce this procedure. I don't want them wearing our logos or anything. I just want all of them to wear a certain type of scrubs when cleaning so they don't look so unprofessional while cleaning in regular normal clothes.
    Can we require them to wear scrubs? Better yet, charge them a "small marketing fee" to buy the scrubs from you so technically I'm not supplying them their "supplies"?

    5.In case an Independent contractor breaks or damages something in a person's home. Who is responsible? The worker or us? Especially if the worker doesn't carry their own general liability insurance?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2016

    Default Re: Using Independent Contractors for a Cleaning Business

    Before I try to answer any of your questions I'm going to say that from what I know about your industry I doubt that the IC status of these employees would stand up to USDOL, IRS or California labor law scrutiny.

    One of the main things that allow a person to be considered an IC is the ability for them to lose or make money on a job. If you are paying them only for the hours worked you take that away to a certain extent. On the other hand if you pay them Y to clean clean a location and they are good enough to do it in less time than you thought they would they should make more per hour worked.

    Now let's assume you can get them through as ICs.

    1. Probably yes but it would have to be very limited.

    2. If they are IC this will be a contract issue.

    3. See my original statement.

    4. You can set a dress code.

    5. You are the person/entity with the agreement with the customer. You will have to pay for damage. You may then go after the IC. How you do that will depend on the agreement you have with the IC.

    All that said I still doubt, if and when it comes under scrutiny, they will be considered employees and along with the other issues all of the above is going to come back to bite you in the butt.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Lake Chapala

    Default Re: Using Independent Contractors for a Cleaning Business

    I agree. I think it's unlikely in the extreme that these people are ICs as defined by labour and tax laws. (And I have major and lengthy professional experience in this area.) You need to get determinations from the DOL and the IRS on this before you can even think about the other stuff.

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