Work At Home: Employee vs Contractor
Just as society had created main chick and side chick categories, there are main and side hustles too. For me, YouTube, blogging, rating ads, filling out surveys and more have been my side hustles. We'll discuss those some other day. Today I'm shining a light on the main hustles that actually get rent and car notes paid.
There are companies that will hire you as an employee and some as a contractor. I will be focussing my posts on customer service jobs as I have experience in this field now. In a nutshell, for employees, schedules are set by the company, you may get full or unlimited benefits and the responsibility of taking taxes out of your paycheck lies with the company. Contractors manage their own taxes, have no benefits and have control over their schedules. This is the most basic description and comparison so let's go into more detail.
When you get on the company's sites you will navigate to job postings. You fill out an application as expected with each job application and await a response. You receive an email requesting an interview, you schedule your interview and either get hired or no. Now most of these customer service companies are contracted by other major companies (that we will refer to as the client), to handle their customer service needs be it phone, chat or email support. So you will be working for the company you applied to, but assigned to a specific project. Look at it this way, Company A and B hire company C to handle their customer service. So to company C, company A and B are the client. Though you are working for company C, you may be working under the company A project so when you pick up the phone, your greeting will sound like this, "Hello, thank you for calling company A, my name is XX; how may I be of service." Get it?
- Employee: Usually the job post or in the interview, you are told the hours of operation and told whether your position will be part time or full time. They may ask you to fill out times of availability that you may prefer for example from 6am-3pm, 7am-4pm, 5pm-1am and so on. These are 8 hour blocks and it may differ depending on the company. Within the timeslot you would have chosen, your hours will be scheduled for you.You could be scheduled for the complete block or some hours. They do and are required by law to give breaks so you my get breaks and lunchtime off depending on how many hours you are scheduled for that day.
- Contractor: As an independent contractor you have more control over your schedule. They simply tell you the minimum amount of hours required per week in order to stay contracted and you pick the times you want to work each week. In some cases you may be given a maximum/limited amount of hours like maybe 40 and at times you will have unlimited pick meaning you can pick up to 100 hours if they are available. Remember other agents are picking hours too when the schedule is posted so grab the hours as quickly as you can.
If hired as an employee chances are the background checks are paid for by the company. Some contracting jobs will require you to fund your own background checks and in some cases you receive a refund when you have worked a certain number of hours, in some cases, it's it's non-refundable so just consider it as an investment or a deductible when tax season comes around. In a future post I will detail exactly how the checks were processed by all companies I have worked for.
As an employee hire, training will in most if not all cases, paid. The rate for some companies might change depending on the stage of training but it is in most cases paid. You may get paid less during training than when you actually start production. As an contractor, many companies are not paying you for training. You may be fortunate to land a job with a company that will pay for training or offer a fixed stipend but many companies now are not paying you for training. In some cases I have heard of some charging you for the training and then maybe or not refunding it or a portion of it once a certain amount of production hours are reached.
Your operating software has to be up to date. The companies will run tests to gauge your internet speeds and computer efficiency. You will be required to have an active anti-virus / firewall. If offering phone support you will need a working USB headset (during and after training). You may need an actual landline phone (many companies are drifting from that now and everything is run through your computer). Companies that hire you as an employee might send tech and gadgets your way once you have graduated from training but as a contractor you are pretty much required to provide all required equipment.
These are some of the major differences between customer service jobs as an employee or a contractor.
If you are interested in working from home. The company I work for has open positions. Just go to https://jobs.workingsolutions.com/ . When applying, be sure to select “Referral – Working Solutions Agent” in the How Did You Hear About Us field. The next field will be where you place my Agent ID which is 047393473.