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Do freelancers really want to be full-time employees?

There is a huge debate fueled by all of the on-demand economy startups and their popularity that 1099 (independent contractors) should be full-time employees and get the benefits etc. But every time I jump into an uber or lyft the driver tells me they love it because of the flexibility and being able to work whenever they want (or not work). It strikes me that these folks don't want the "bad" stuff that comes with being a full time employee?

13 Replies

Peter Kestenbaum
1
1
Peter Kestenbaum Entrepreneur
Advisor, Investor, Mentor to Emerging firms
uber/lyft while very visible are not a good yardstick to use.. the answer is simply it depends..

- 10,000 folks become babyboomers each day... Many do not want a full time job and have ( or have access to ) benefits.. but they have no need financially, nor interest in a full time gig..

- it might not be a function of working when you want but when you need to.. Might be family situation, or other commitments such as school, childcare

- there use to be a 1099 "stigma". meaning you were a 1099er because you were "between" jobs.. thats not true anymore..

- its a different economy... 20 or 30 years ago your objective was to go work for citibank or ibm for 20 years and have the company take care of you.. Also economic models for many roles dictate 1099 employment... that is I only want to compensate the employee when the employee is generating revenue for me. Think the Geek squad.. I only want to pay the employee when he is working.. If I have no computers to work on in a specific day why should he/she be on my payroll

Aleksandra Czajka
11
0
Aleksandra Czajka Entrepreneur
Freelance Senior Software Engineer, Developer, Web Developer, Programmer - Full Stack
I've been a consultant for 5 years now. After my first job out of college working for Intel, after I learned what it meant, I never found a good reason to have a salary position. Here are my reasons why

With salary position
I don't control my income.
I don't talk directly to clients, having a middle man taking a cut on my work.
I don't control what projects I work on and what parts.
I don't control the languages I learn or improving my technology stack.
I get stuck with long projects that can last miserable, un-challenging years.
I don't get compensated for every hour I work. (you're going to take care of that in the bonus... please don't insult my intelligence)
I don't get credited for my work, the company I work for does.
I don't have the ability to work from home whenever I want to.
I don't have the ability to take off whenever I need to. I need to tell may boss? Why?
I don't get to call it a day when my work is done. I have to sit with my but in the chair till 5p..nay! 8p to keep the boss happy pretending to work. Such is business politics that makes no sense to me.
And, probably most importantly, I do not get to be a full, independent human being. Meaning, I do not get to be my own representation of myself. I do not stand with my accomplishments. I am a cog within the company's machine.


Being a consultant
I do


Michael Barnathan
1
0
Michael Barnathan Entrepreneur • Advisor
Co-Founder of The Mountaintop Program, Google Alum
But you have to directly deal with all of the annoying clients who don't know what they want and often need "reminders" to pay you for the work you completed :)

I love where the on-demand economy is going. I think it will eventually drive some change into healthcare, of all places. Why? Because when everyone's 1099ed, the racket of charging $1000 for routine bloodwork that mysteriously drops to $5 when you pull your insurance card out will have to stop. Or an organization like the Freelancer's Union will suddenly have a very viable business model aggregating and selling group insurance plans to on-demand workers.

Which you could probably do today for Uber/Lyft drivers, actually...
Aleksandra Czajka
0
0
Aleksandra Czajka Entrepreneur
Freelance Senior Software Engineer, Developer, Web Developer, Programmer - Full Stack
Michael,

You need to hone your business model if you have trouble getting your invoices paid. I put it in every one of my contracts that invoices get paid weekly otherwise I have no way of gauging whether to continue doing the work. Let me know if you need more advice on that.

Best,
Aleks
Michael Barnathan
0
0
Michael Barnathan Entrepreneur • Advisor
Co-Founder of The Mountaintop Program, Google Alum
I don't have that trouble anymore (though I'm not in that business anymore - my only freelance activity at this point is the odd request from past clients whom I've enjoyed working with). I eventually ended up instituting a system of milestones similar to what you're describing. That way any loss due to client cashflow issues (usually the cause) was limited to two weeks of work.
Chirag Rana
1
0
Chirag Rana Entrepreneur
Design Strategist, Entrepreneur
I'm consulting in UX during most career because I LOVE my freedom. I can be full-time employee IF I get my freedom.
Totally agree with Aleksandra. I'd like to work in my own creative environment which is my home office or sometime a park in my town (yes it's fun to work under the tree). This way I'm more productive working 10 to 12 hours a day without getting tired.
Ben Winters
2
0
Ben Winters Entrepreneur
Independent iOS Developer
I love the self-determination that freelancing enables/requires. One thing that I am missing is the feeling of building something bigger than myself that I *might* find through long-term team collaboration in a global company. That doesn't mean Fortune 500, but a venture-backed company that you believe in could be a good fit for some people.
Judi Wunderlich
0
1
Judi Wunderlich Advisor
★ Co-Founder/VP at WunderLand ★ (judi@wunderlandgroup.com)
So far in this discussion, I've heard about what the freelancers want. But there's a bit of a problem happening:

The IRS doesn't care one whit what you, the worker, wants. They (and the country) want the taxes paid by employers and employees alike. They have a mandate from our government to collect them, therefore they have rules about when someone must be classified as an Employee or as an Independent Contractor (freelancer), and what the worker wants is not considered in the least.

Plus, if you didn't know it, the IRS is on a campaign right now to catch and stop the misclassification of workers, and they are getting the cooperation of many State governments too. So you're going to continue to hear about companies getting 'caught' misclassifying workers. Those companies are going to get hit with heavy back taxes and penalties by the IRS, plus they open themselves up to class-action lawsuits by the workers, who if successful can then collect money equal to the value of the 'employee benefits' that they did not get but should have gotten. So there's an incentive for misclassified freelancers to snitch on their employers and to sue.

It seems that a big chunk of society welcomes not having benefits or a regular paycheck in lieu of freedom to work their own hours and in their own place, but there are probably just as many who are getting screwed over by their employers' purposefully misclassifying them so they don't have to pay overtime, don't have to give benefits or paid time off, and don't have to pay state and federal employer taxes. I mean, come on, I've seen companies post help wanted ads for a freelance receptionist. I guess next it will be freelance cashiers. Many companies, especially start-ups who don't get employment-law experienced legal counsel, think they can pay a worker any way they want. But I think the majority just figure they won't get caught.

It's going to be interesting to see how this pans out! Will the people be able to change our government and it's entrenched policies on employee/employer?

Aleksandra Czajka
0
0
Aleksandra Czajka Entrepreneur
Freelance Senior Software Engineer, Developer, Web Developer, Programmer - Full Stack
Judi,

well...the topic of conversation is... "Do freelancers really want to be full-time employees?" That's why we're talking about what freelancers want :-)

I am an LLC and am a consultant on purpose, not because a work space has classified me that way to save money. So, I don't really understand how the troubles you describe affect me. I get my own insurance and don't need to worry about any employers taking advantage of me.

A
Judi Wunderlich
0
0
Judi Wunderlich Advisor
★ Co-Founder/VP at WunderLand ★ (judi@wunderlandgroup.com)
Aleksandra-

Yes, you're doing it the smart way. You set about to build your own business, for that is what being a 1099 contractor really is - a self-employed business owner. You have to file a business tax return, report all the freelance income you had, and then pay taxes on it every April 15th.

But look at Uber, just one of the affected on-demand service that calls its workers 'freelancers.' An estimated 11,000 are expected in the class-action lawsuit, and clearly they do not want to be independent - they WANT to be employees and feel they were treated like employees. That's why I brought it up.
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