Employee or Independent Contractor?

Make sure you know the differences when you arrange for on-the-job help.

In an effort to curb the high costs associated with keeping employees, many business people in the equine industry simply label their workers “independent contractors” instead of “employees.” 

Be careful. This could be trouble waiting to happen, and those who make a mistake can learn this the hard way after the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or another government agency brings a challenge. Even worse is if the worker is hurt on the job and expects you, as the so-called “employer,” to pay his medical bills.

Because of the cost savings that independent contractors offer, many businesses in the equine industry fall prey to the temptation to simply call their workers independent contractors instead of employees. This article explains the differences and shows how you can protect yourself when hiring help for your shoeing business.

Definitions Are Critical

Employees and independent contractors are not the same. An independent contractor is one who carries on an independent business and contracts to do some work for another person according to his or her own methods. He or she is not subject to the control of the other in getting the work done, but only in regards to the work itself.

With this in mind, busy farriers are classic examples of independent contractors. They supply their own materials, serve several different customers (usually at different locations), set their own schedules and have the “know-how” to do the work on their own.

An “employee” by comparison, is a person hired to serve another person under…

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