Hourly Employee vs Independent Contractor

Which One Should You Choose?

Advertisements

By Jerry Lambert

Hello, and welcome back to The Brown Parachute Club.  This week I thought I would go into greater detail about the job classifications that are out there.  If you have been unemployed for a while, you may want to look into becoming an Independent Contractor as a way of bringing in some extra income.  Either on your own, or working WITH, but not FOR a company like Uber or Lyft.  I’ll illustrate the differences between being an Hourly Employee and an Independent Contractor.  Many of the Side Hustle and Work From Home jobs I have featured on this blog are Independent Contractor positions.

Saw cutting a hole around a piggy bank

First a little background.  As you already know, back in 2008 the country went through a major financial crisis.  Many banks, insurance companies, and brokerage houses either went out of business or were bailed out by the U. S. Taxpayer.  Losing millions of their client’s dollars in the process.  Names like Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, Goldman Sachs, and AIG were all over the news.  To learn more about this event, watch the film, The Big Short.  That movie scared the crap out of me!

In response to this financial crisis, many companies took advantage of an opportunity they had been waiting for.  “How do we decrease the size of our workforce, without appearing weak to our stockholders, or the business community at large?”  The Crash of 2008 was a gift to many companies who had been wanting to cut back their staff for years.  However, if they resorted to layoffs, it would make the company look financially unstable.

Mature man using a computer at home

I heard about this scheme from an article in the Huffington Post by James Altucher.  In his article, 10 Reasons You Have to Quit Your Job in 2014, he explained how this plot was hatched.  But more importantly, he explains why the old business model no longer works and why you should consider striking out on your own.  He was talking about becoming an Independent Contractor or starting up your own business.

There are definitely Pros and Cons for each classification.

Pay: If you were an Hourly Employee at your previous job, more than likely you were paid every two weeks.  Because of sick days and vacation days, many times you were paid for NOT working.  As an Independent Contractor, you are paid for the job or project you have agreed to perform for a company or individual.  Period.  Your pay is based on the quote you gave for the job.  Think about a plumber giving you an estimate to fix the leaky faucet in your tub.

Hours: A full-time Hourly Employee can expect to work a minimum of 40 hours per week.  If part-time, then those hours vary, but are usually 30 hours or less.  An Independent Contractor (IC) puts in as many hours as needed to finish the job.  Since his pay is not hourly, it behooves him to do the job right and finish as quickly as possible.  Then he can move onto the next job.

Benefits: Hourly Employees can expect to receive a host of benefits from their employer.  These range from health care to dental care and vision care, etc.  An IC must take care of these expenses on his or her own.  With the soaring cost of health care, this is a major consideration.  However, there may be group plans that ICs can join that will hopefully bring down this cost.

Retirement:  As an Hourly Employee, you may have a fully-funded, partially-funded, or employee-funded retirement plan provided by the company.  In addition to that, you pay into FICA (Social Security and Medicare), which is also a source of retirement funds.  As an IC, you are on your own for your retirement funding and you still have to pay into FICA.

Flexibility:  This is one area where an IC has it made over an Hourly Employee.  As an IC, you set your own hours and work when you want.  In the plumber example I gave earlier, if the plumber is an IC and not an employee for a plumbing company, he determines his own work hours.  As an Hourly Employee, your hours are set by the employer and you’d better be to work on time!

Tax Considerations:  As an Hourly Employee, all of your taxes and deductions are withheld by your company and forwarded onto the recipients for you.  When you’re an IC, you are on your own for taking care of your taxes and any other deductions.  On the bright side, when you get paid, you get a check for 100% of the job quote.  Not like the net income check that an Hourly Employee gets.  If you are working with a company like Uber or Lyft, they will provide you with a Form 1099 instead of a Form W-2.  That form will detail the income you earned with them for the previous tax year.

Freedom:  This is when being an IC really beats being an Hourly Employee.  The only problem is that your time off is unpaid.  However, when you need a day off, take it!  When you want to go on vacation, go!  When the weather is crappy, stay home!  The Hourly Employee doesn’t have that luxury.  Need a day off? Clear it with the boss.  Want to go on vacation?  Sure, if someone is there to cover for you.  Feel like crap and just can’t make it into the office?  No problem, if you have any sick days left.  You get the idea.

Security:  The Hourly Employee has the satisfaction of knowing that every two weeks, like clockwork, he is going to be paid for his hours worked (or not worked if sick or on vacation).  The IC gets paid only for the work that was done.  No work, no pay!  After many years as an Hourly Employee, this is the toughest thing to get used to as an IC.

I guess for me, what it all comes down to is the old formula: Time vs Money.  If you don’t have a job at all, you have plenty of Time, but no Money.  If you are an Hourly Employee, you are giving up a substantial amount of Time for Money.  However, as an IC, if done correctly, you can have the perfect balance of Time AND Money!  That is the elusive Golden Ticket that all ICs are looking for.

I hope this article has helped to clear up any misconceptions about the difference between these two types of work classifications.  In preparing this blog, articles from Salary.com and BankRate were very helpful in explaining these differences.

DISCLAIMER:  As usual, before making any financial decisions based on the information I have detailed above, be sure to check with your tax professional and / or retirement planning specialist for more information.

If you like what you’re reading on TBPC, please leave a comment and share the website with your friends.  Also, if you would like to be notified of new posts to this blog, please click on the “Follow” button in the lower right corner.  Until next week, may your parachute fully deploy, and may you have a soft landing!

Disclaimer: Advertisements that appear on this website are posted by WordPress and not by the author of this website.

The Work From Home Chronicles: Episode 2

More Good Jobs To Check Out!

By Jerry Lambert

Hi, and welcome back to The Brown Parachute Club.  This week we are going to look at five more Work From Home (WFH) Jobs that you may be interested in.  There is a tutoring job, an audio transcription job, a blog content job, and two others that are hard to describe.

Woman holding stack of Euros

The last time I wrote a WFH article I listed four good jobs and one clunker, so you could recognize the good ones.  This brings me to some additional points.  You have to be very careful when it comes to signing up for WFH Jobs.  There are a number of jobs out there that are nothing more than scams to get you to cough up your personal info.

I believe I fell prey to one of these scams when I started looking into WFH Jobs.  I signed up with a company to take surveys to make some cash.  I never got around to taking any surveys, but I did get a deluge of telemarketing calls on my cell phone as well as junk emails filling up my email box.

Many of these companies may seem to be legit and even if they are, they still sell your personal info to other companies that will barrage you with “Special Offer” phone calls and emails.  That is the last thing you want when you are trying to make money.  Spending all your time blocking phone numbers and emails!

That said, let’s look at this weeks’ selections.  To appeal to as many readers as possible, I am trying to create some variety with these jobs.  I’ll try to continue doing that with my future articles as well.

Transcribe Team: This is an audio transcription job.  I had to transcribe an interview once for this blog and I determined that I do NOT have the patience for this type of work!  However, it may be for you.  It pays $.40 – $1.25 per audio minute and you are paid through PayPal.  From the company website: Are you looking to have a steady supply of transcription work, work at home, and take pride in being a great transcriptionist? Then we are the company for you! 

Easy Shift: This is one of two “Onsite Shopper” jobs.  It assigns you specific tasks that need to be done at a store.  It’s as easy as taking pictures of the store, checking product endcaps, checking pricing, etc.  It runs from an app on your smartphone and unless I am mistaken, you can do it from almost anywhere.  Wouldn’t it be great to earn some money while you’re grocery shopping on vacation? You are paid through PayPal but the pay scale is a little unclear.  The next job I review is similar and it pays between $3-$12 per task.  So, I assume Easy Shift pay is comparable.

Field Agent: This is the other Onsite Shopper job I mentioned.  From the company website: Our agents use their smartphones to collect photos, video, and information from stores and many other locations.  You are paid through PayPal and it pays between $3-$12 per task.  Like Easy Shift, you can do this from virtually anwhere.

InstaEdu: This is an Online Tutor job that earn you up to $20/hr., paid via PayPal.  Not a bad gig if you have an education background.  They must have been bought out because when you click on the link it comes up as the popular Chegg Tutors.  Still, nice pay if you can get it!

Triple Curve: This is a Freelance Writer gig that pays between $8-$15 per article.  The main focus of the company is the creation of quality content instead of lengthy articles.  Explains the low pay.  This appears to be for experienced, professional writers, but hey give it a shot!  You never know!  Like InstaEdu, when you click on the link for Triple Curve, it comes up with Zen Content, so they must have been bought out as well.  It appears that Zen Content has medium and longer length documents as well, so it’s possible that this has expanded into more of a full-service content job.

That’s the list of jobs for this week.  I think they all look pretty good, especially the Onsite Shopper jobs that appear to be very simple and you can do them anywhere!

This will be the part of each article where I detail my results with trying some of these jobs from previous weeks.  I chose to try out 2 jobs from the last time I wrote this article.  The first one was Content Gather, a website where you can post articles for purchase by their clients.  The second one was User Testing, where you test websites and apps and record your feedback.  I wrote one article for CG and posted it.  I have not had any nibbles yet.  I tried to do the “Test Recording” for User Testing.  However, it wasn’t accepted because I narrated the instructions during the recording, which is apparently a no-no.

Woman shouting through megaphone

Now for my warning.  Be VERY CAREFUL of any software that you install on your PC or Phone!  Make sure you do some research online to see if other people have had problems with the software!  After installing the User Testing software, it triggered a Boot Scan from my antivirus software.  That can be very scary, since the PC won’t boot up until the Scan finishes successfully.  Ironically, the only malware it found was from a competing antivirus program.  Funny how that works.  The point is to be careful, as always, whenever installing any software to your PC or Phone.

Well that’s it for this week.  Hopefully, you have found a job or two that have piqued your interest.  Remember, none of these jobs are meant to be income replacement by themselves.  You’ll have to do two or more if you hope to replace a chunk of your previous income.  I know that’s not a very comforting thought, but what are you gonna do?

DisclaimerI am not affiliated with, or compensated by, any of these companies I have mentioned.  They just looked promising to me and I thought I would pass them along.  That’s all.

If you like what you’re reading on TBPC, please leave a comment and share the website with your friends.  Also, if you would like to be notified of new posts to this blog, please click on the “Follow” button in the lower right corner.  Until next week, may your parachute fully deploy, and may you have a soft landing!

Disclaimer: Advertisements that appear on this website are posted by WordPress and not by the author of this website.

 

The Work From Home Chronicles: Episode 1

Can You Earn Decent Money From Home?

By Jerry Lambert

Hello again, and welcome back to The Brown Parachute Club.  Well, here it is, as promised.  My first list of WFH Jobs that don’t suck.  Hopefully.  I have decided to turn this into a featured part of my website, hence “The Work from Home Chronicles” title.  I’ll probably turn this into a page of its own, depending on how it goes.

Female sitting outside with laptop

Anyway, I have researched several WFH opportunities for you to have a look at.  I admit that I haven’t signed up for any of them yet, but I am leaning towards a couple of them pretty hard and I’ll let you know which ones they are.

Most of these jobs I found reviewed on the Dream Home Based Work website.  This is a terrific website run by Lashay H.  She has done much of the hard work for you, by researching and recommending companies that she trusts.

I don’t know if I mentioned this before, but if I have, it bears repeating.  You have to be extremely careful when signing up with a work from home company.  Since you will be working for them, they will more than likely want some of your personal information.  I can only imagine the number of scams that are out there, trying to collect your information so they can suck your savings account dry and run up huge credit card charges in your name!

I signed up for LifeLock a few years ago and I don’t regret it.  It gives you peace of mind, and that is hard to come by these days.  Plus, if you are signing up for WFH Jobs, this gives you a layer of protection you wouldn’t have otherwise.  If you sign up for LifeLock, use the promo code 10Now to save 10%.  If this code has expired, just click on this link for current LifeLock promo codes.

is09an5qdJust one more thing.  All of the jobs that I will be listing will be using PayPal to pay you.  That means that many of these jobs will pay you almost instantly, which is a very nice perk.  Some of the jobs I looked at take up to 4-6 weeks to pay you.  The heck with that!  There are plenty of jobs that payout using PayPal within 24-48 hours.  You can’t beat that!  Click here to get your own Personal PayPal account!  The only drawback is that PayPal will take a small cut out of each payment you get.  That is the price you pay for safety since you probably don’t want to give these companies your bank account number, even if it’s just for deposits.

Enough of that, you say, what about the jobs?  I have looked at a wide variety of jobs.  Two of them are phone-related.  Since I spent the last 3 years on my previous job fielding calls in Technical Support, that is the LAST thing I want to do.  However, these jobs seem like a good way to earn some extra income, without having to sell anyone anything.  That’s hard to beat.  Here are the jobs.

Intelichek: This phone job is what is considered a “Mystery Shopper”.  What the job entails is providing quality assurance checks for automotive suppliers.  You call a company and ask for a price on a specific part or parts.  That’s it.  It pays .90 per call.  That doesn’t seem like much, but when the average call takes no more than 5 minutes, that translates to $10.80 per hour.  Not bad.  However, this job has a 10 hour per week work minimum, so keep that in mind.  You can set your own hours between 8 am and 7 pm.  You get paid bi-weekly by check, as opposed to the PayPal option.  It’s worth checking out if you don’t mind being on the phone for a few hours each day.

Call Center QA:  Another phone job in the “Mystery Shopper” category.  This looks like a good opportunity to make some decent money.  You get paid $5 per call.  If each call and survey take about 15 minutes, that’s $20/hour!!!  Plus, you get paid via PayPal within 7 business days, so that’s cool!  There is no minimum number of hours, but you do have to make your calls during business hours.

Humanatic:  This is a Call Reviewer job.  You know, when you hear the message, “This call is being recorded for quality assurance”?  You’re the one reviewing the call!  This seemed interesting.  You listen to recorded quality calls and answer some questions based on the call.  Plus, they have a link to PayPal to sign up for an account!!!  However, I just checked and it looks like this only pays between $1 and $4.50 per hour!  You probably want to skip this one!  I included it here so you have an example of doing your homework before signing up with one of these companies!

UserTesting:  I know what you’re thinking, “What gives?  Where are the good jobs?”  This might be a good one!  This is a quote from their website.  “How it works.  Get $10 via PayPal for every 20-minute video you complete.  UserTesting pays you to visit websites or apps, complete a set of tasks, and speak your thoughts aloud.”  I’m no math whiz, but I think that translates to $30/hour!  Now there may be downtime in between, but this seems promising and appeals to my IT background.  I am definitely going to check this one out!

Clickworker:  For those of you with an office / clerical background, Clickworker might be for you. They help companies by breaking down large projects into bite-sized pieces.  How much you get paid varies on the job being done and how quickly and accurately you get it done.  You are paid via PayPal, though the time period seems a little fuzzy.  It starts at 7 days but can go up to 21 days.  However, if this is the sort of work you are used to doing, it might be right up your alley.

Well, I think that’s enough for this week.  Hopefully, I’ve given you one or two jobs you will want to check out!  I plan on making this a regular feature.  I will continue to write articles on Side Hustles (not necessarily Working from Home), Productivity, and Lifestyle.

DisclaimerI am not affiliated with, or compensated by, any of the companies I have mentioned.  They just looked promising to me and I thought I would pass them along.  That’s all.

If you like what you’re reading on TBPC, please leave a comment and share the website with your friends.  Also, if you would like to be notified of new posts to this blog, please click on the “Follow” button in the lower right corner.  Until next week, may your parachute fully deploy, and may you have a soft landing!

Disclaimer: Advertisements that appear on this website are posted by WordPress and not by the author of this website.

Active vs Passive Income

What’s The Difference?

By Jerry Lambert

During your search for ways to earn extra (any) income, you may have come across the terms Active and Passive Income.  I will try to explain the difference between the two in this article and why it’s important to know the difference.

Man sleepingI have to admit, I went down many paths that turned into nothing, pursuing the elusive “Passive Income Stream”.  Otherwise known as, “Make Money While You Sleep!”  The pitch sounds great, “Earn $5000 per week from home, doing nothing!”  This definitely appealed to my lazy streak.  However, the promise and the reality don’t really cross paths.

From personal experience, many of these “opportunities” turn out to be a way to suck what little money you have into their “System”.  I also fell for “This one sucks, but maybe the next one will be better”.  Nope.

The one overriding pitch seems to be, “Make Money Online!”  What this comes down to more often than not is what is known as “Affiliate Marketing”.  This is an industry that has sprung up as a way to run ads on websites.  The theory is that if your website is popular enough, you will be able to make money from it by running ads.

If you are reading this article on a tablet or phone, you may be seeing one of these ads.  Let’s face it, they’re everywhere.  They are counting on the age-old sales formula that 1%-3% of visitors to your website will click on these ads and earn you some money.

Businesswoman sitting on chair with digital tablet and blackboardThe problem with that theory is that you need a website, like TBPC.  However, if you don’t have a website, you may have to pay to “rent space” on somebody else’s website to run your ads.  I looked into this whole process and it gets very confusing, not to mention expensive.  And let’s face it, you want to make money, not spend more money you don’t have.  However, the old business adage is true, “You have to spend money to make money!”  Not too encouraging if you don’t have any money in the first place.

I did sign up for a couple of programs that promised all sorts of passive income if I would only cough up a small amount of money.  What they don’t tell you is that once you sign up, you will be approached by someone offering to “coach” you in your new online business venture.  When you finally nail them down to the costs, you’ll find out that this “coaching” will cost you over $1000!  Thanks, but no thanks.

Based on my experience, people are out there selling “air”.  They approach you with a solid sounding “System” that will enable you to make money online running ads.  However, the only money that is being made is by the people selling you the “System”.

Now don’t get me wrong, all you have to do is visit any website and you will see tons of ads for everything under the sun.  So SOMEBODY is making money doing this.  I’m sure there are people pumping hundreds of dollars or more into ads.  Not a lot of people have that kind of money lying around to blow on advertising.

Saw cutting a hole around a piggy bankOk”, you say, “I just have to make sure it’s not a scam”.  The “Scam” come-on is the oldest trick in the book.  Say you want to learn about ABC-123-XYZ-LMNOP Online Marketing* and you do a search to find out if it’s legit, or a scam.  You will see a bunch of results that say something like, “Is ABC-123-XYZ-LMNOP Online Marketing a Scam?”  If you’re lucky, you’ll click on a link that will be a genuine review of the system.  However, more than likely, it’s just a ruse to take you to their website, where they can sell you their own system!!!  It goes around and around and around!  *(There are so many of these companies that I had to come up with that ridiculous company name just to make sure I didn’t accidentally mention a real one!)

If you do feel compelled to try out one of these systems, don’t accept the offer right away.  More than likely there will be a video telling you about all the money you can expect to earn by using their system.  Once the video finishes playing, be sure to scroll to the bottom of the window for more information about how much the system costs.  Then hit the “X” to close the window.  Attempting to close the window will launch a barrage of, “Wait, there’s more!” windows that will gradually reduce the price down to almost nothing.  I was going to sign up for a system once that started at around $50 and it eventually went down to $7!  I guess they figure $7 is better than nothing.

Young woman carrying stack of jeans in clothes storeI have talked a lot about Passive Income in this article because I want you to be careful when you look into buying a system that may cost you a lot of time, money, and energy.  The flip side of Passive Income is Active Income.  Active Income is, “get off your butt and earn some money”, income.  Admittedly, this income is a lot less sexy than supposedly logging into your checking account every day and seeing money being deposited, but that’s not reality.

As I mentioned in my last article, now that my full-time Uber & Lyft career is over, I am really focusing on Work from Home income.  I have come across some very promising income streams that I will be covering in the upcoming weeks.  As I mentioned in last week’s article, my goal is to get 2 or 3 of these WFH jobs to replace, and hopefully exceed, my driving income.  I hope to do just that with some of the jobs I have found.  I am going to evaluate them over the next couple of weeks and I’ll report back with what I find out.

None of these jobs are going to pay you $5000 per week for sitting on the couch binge-watching “Scandal”!  However, they are jobs that companies need done, and they are willing to hire you to work from home to do them!  If these jobs pan out, all I can think about is how much my buddies down at the oil change shop are going to miss me!  Please come back next week and I’ll have some WFH jobs for you to check out!

If you like what you’re reading on TBPC, please leave a comment and share the website with your friends.  Also, if you would like to be notified of new posts to this blog, please click on the “Follow” button in the lower right corner.  Until next week, may your parachute fully deploy, and may you have a soft landing!

Disclaimer: Advertisements that appear on this website are posted by WordPress and not by the author of this website.