W-2 Versus 1099

Jim Snyder
May 12, 2015
THE TALK... | Management

 The construction industry as a whole largely contracts and subcontracts, especially where many trades are required to deliver a project. But what about dealers: is it best to contract or employ installers? 

On smaller scale projects, such as window replacement, and when the primary job skill is the same, employing your installers can become a practical option. In either circumstance, there’s a lot to consider. 

In a nutshell, the primary distinguishing factor is how much control you have with your installer. An employed installer works on your schedule as the only obligation. Plus, you can train and direct installation procedures. An employed installer typically means a deeper commitment to your company that tends to last for many more years. This may also lead to advancement to other roles in the future.

Conversely, a contracted installer will likely have other commitments, which can disrupt your scheduling. But contracted installers also take more of the burden of taxes and insurance liabilities, tools, equipment and transportation. This simplifies many elements for the dealer. No payroll commitment also is a big plus for a dealer during the slow season. This arm’s-length connection can be advantageous for both parties under some circumstances.

Employing or contracting an installer is not always an optional decision. You always have the option to employ, but you may not have the option to contract. Based on your working relationship, the decision may be made for you (in the eyes of the IRS). 

Most dealers and installers who work on a contract-basis probably like the independence and want to keep it that way. So I encourage you to read IRS 20 Factor Test – Independent Contract or or Employee. It helps you evaluate your connection to your installer. You’ve probably read it before, yet it might be a good time to review.

It is referred to as the ‘right to control test’ because “each factor is designed to evaluate who controls how work is performed.” Many of the questions are subjective, and that’s probably a good thing.

This brings us to this week’s poll. Take the survey and share your view in the comment section, and/or contact me jim@windowjim.com if you want to chat.

Survey Results for 05/13/2015 :

Do you, as a dealer, employ or contract your installers?











Some of each




Jim Snyder is an AAMA-certified FenestrationMaster and InstallationMaster who shares his years of installation field experience as an industry writer, speaker, trainer and project/product consultant for dealers and manufacturers. A member of various industry organizations, Snyder also is involved in instructional document creation and revision. Contact him at jim@windowjim.com.


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