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Independent Contractors

Independent contractors are individuals or businesses that offer services to other companies or clients on a contractual basis. The relationship between the hiring company and the independent contractor is based on a written contract that outlines the scope of work, payment terms and other details.

What is an independent contractor?

An independent contractor is an individual or an organization’s entity that provides services to another party under a contract. Independent contractors work solo and are not considered employees of the hiring company. They work as separate entities, often as freelancers.

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Are independent contractors self-employed?

Yes, independent contractors are self-employed individuals. They work for themselves and are not employees of the companies or customers they offer services to. Rather, they work as separate entities, solely as freelancers or sole proprietors.

Can independent contractors unionize?

No, the ability of independent contractors to unionize is a complex and debated issue, and it varies depending on the laws and regulations of different countries and regions. The primary reason why independent contractors typically face challenges in unionization is related to their legal classification and employment status. Labour laws and regulations generally differentiate between employees and independent contractors based on factors like control, independence, and the nature of the working relationship.

Who hires independent contractors?

Some of the common entities that hire independent contractors include:

  1. Businesses and corporations
  2. Nonprofit organizations
  3. Startups and small businesses
  4. Government agencies
  5. Creative industries
  1. Businesses and corporations: Companies may hire independent contractors to work on specific tasks that require temporary support. This could include projects related to software development, graphic design and more.
  2. Nonprofit organizations: Nonprofits may engage independent contractors to help with fundraising efforts, event planning, grant writing and various other projects.
  3. Startups and small businesses: Startups and small businesses often use independent contractors to fill skill gaps or tasks outside their core expertise. Hiring independent contractors can be a cost-effective way for small businesses to access specialized talent without the commitment of hiring employees.
  4. Government agencies: Government entities may hire independent contractors for various tasks involving consulting, research data analysis, etc.
  5. Creative industries: Independent contractors are largely utilized in creative industries such as film and television production, music recording, and art; specialized talent is often required on a project basis.

When do independent contractors pay taxes?

Independent contractors are responsible for paying taxes on their income, and the timing of their tax payments depends on the country's tax regulations. In general, independent contractors are required to make estimated tax payments throughout the year to cover their tax liability.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of independent contractors?

The advantages of independent contractors:

  1. Flexibility
  2. Cost saving
  3. No payroll obligations
  1. Flexibility: Independent contractors allow flexibility in terms of availability and work arrangements. Companies can engage them on a project basis or for a defined period.
  2. Cost saving: Hiring independent contractors can be cost-effective for organizations. They are not entitled to employee benefits like insurance, paid holidays or reduced overhead costs.
  3. No payroll obligations: Hiring independent contractors means hiring a person who is not responsible for payroll taxes, unemployment insurance or compensations.

The disadvantages of independent contractors:

  1. Limited company integrations
  2. Confidentiality concerns
  3. Less control
  1. Limited company integrations: Independent contractors may not fully integrate into the company’s culture and may not have the same level of dedication or loyalty as regular employees.
  2. Confidentiality concerns: Sharing sensitive information with independent contractors may raise confidentiality and data security concerns.
  3. Less control: Organizations have less control over independent contractors' performance than traditional employees.

Employee pulse surveys:

These are short surveys that can be sent frequently to check what your employees think about an issue quickly. The survey comprises fewer questions (not more than 10) to get the information quickly. These can be administered at regular intervals (monthly/weekly/quarterly).

One-on-one meetings:

Having periodic, hour-long meetings for an informal chat with every team member is an excellent way to get a true sense of what’s happening with them. Since it is a safe and private conversation, it helps you get better details about an issue.


eNPS (employee Net Promoter score) is one of the simplest yet effective ways to assess your employee's opinion of your company. It includes one intriguing question that gauges loyalty. An example of eNPS questions include: How likely are you to recommend our company to others? Employees respond to the eNPS survey on a scale of 1-10, where 10 denotes they are ‘highly likely’ to recommend the company and 1 signifies they are ‘highly unlikely’ to recommend it.

Based on the responses, employees can be placed in three different categories:

  • Promoters
    Employees who have responded positively or agreed.
  • Detractors
    Employees who have reacted negatively or disagreed.
  • Passives
    Employees who have stayed neutral with their responses.

What are examples of independent contractors?

A few examples of independent contractors are as follows:

  1. Graphic designers
  2. Freelance writers
  3. Software developers
  4. IT consultants
  5. Marketing specialists
  6. Virtual assistance
  7. Web developer
  1. Graphic designers: Designers who offer graphic design services for branding, marketing materials, web design and various visual projects.
  2. Freelance writers: Writers who work independently and provide content creation services for websites, businesses and publications.
  3. Software developers: Independent developers who build and personalize software applications for businesses.
  4. IT consultants: Independent IT consultants who offer technical expertise and support to businesses for various IT-related projects.
  5. Marketing specialists: Specialists in digital marketing, content marketing, SEO and other marketing disciplines who work on a contract basis.
  6. Virtual assistance: Administrative professionals who offer businesses remote administrative and support services.
  7. Web developer: Independent web developers who create and maintain websites for clients, including front and back-end development.

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