Employees or Sub Contractors

My husband has been an owner/operator for 10 years. We bought the business with 3 employees in place, but eventually lost them and didn’t replace due to problems they caused. My husband is nearing 60 and we need to change how he runs it but can’t figure out how to effectively manage employees without causing ourselves more headaches than it’s worth. My husband prides himself on the work he does and people love how detailed he is. How do you keep your quality up when employees do the work? Can workers be sub contractors or do they have to be employees?

welcome to the forum.
this is a big topic with no real right or wrong answer. you will likely get a lot of suggestions but in the mean time if you use the magnifying glass in the top right you search for various terms or phrases


ps they can be either. there are pros and cons to each setup. subcontractors are subject to very specific government definitions for insurance and taxes so you really need to research that.
i will soon be 61 and relatively new to window cleaning working solo mostly.


You can hire and classify however you want, but just be aware that each category has certain entitlements that the other does not.

Many businesses in my area try to be clever by classifying their workers as subcontractors to avoid paying benefits and insurance. These subcontractors carry their own workman’s comp exemptions and withold their own taxes from the paychecks, thus saving the parent company a ton of money.
The federal government is now cracking down on businesses that hire “subcontractors” but treat them like employees- mandating company uniforms, driving them to and from jobs in a company vehicle, etc.


its a fact you go thru 10 before finding that 1 golden employee . i scoffed at this at first,but its true [tho you might strike lucky at number9 ! You might crap out and its number 12 but at least youv found one and from then on youre cruisin. bleve me

you need to get employing as soon as, wait too long and then youll bust a shoulder or the knee goes crunch and then yer in deep sh/t


Hello and welcome to the forum!

Lots of posts on the forum detailing successes and frustrations dealing with employees and subs. I recommend checking with the Dept of Labor for your state/province/territory to find out what the criteria is for utilizing subs correctly.

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Financially, if possible hire employees

Train someone from the ground up, give them your habits and expectations of the job.

When I was working for another company cleaning windows I had to train all the new hires, even if they claimed they had “experience”. That so called experience more often than not came with bad habits, skills not up to par with company standards, and overall bad attitudes because they “know how to clean windows”.

We lost more “experienced” cleaners than we did cleaners with zero experience because they didn’t like to change their ways.


Thank you so much for the response and the info. I’ll check out the link as

With the cost of payroll taxes, insurance, and insane health insurance
costs, etc., plus the unreliability that plagues this industry, it almost
doesn’t seem worth the headache to hire employees.


Local guy has been running his business for over 37 years. All he does is sub out the work. He has done well for himself and has a nice comfy office. Considered doing this myself.

Lots of “rules” with subbing, most probably break the rules; not saying that is correct, wise, my advice.

Hiring: accountant confirmed it last time she was here.

2016: Hired 31 individuals to find 3 solid people.
4 I hired never made it to day one = 35

I’ll stop with the stats on hiring but its “funny”.


Hi -
Yikes - those are sobering stats, but can’t say I’m too surprised. Most
small bus owners I know - employees and good help is the #1 complaint.

Thank you.

at the same time do you expect to find someone who will cover those costs themselves, have all that hassle no benifits or security and pay them the same??? no you’re going to have to pay a sub more unless they live under the bridge in a cardboard box.
good help is hard to find, good help deserves to be paid!
i was just taliking to friend recently who pays his employee 16 per hour, in minutes we were able to calculate that a sub would be the same cost if he received 20 per hour and that’s just a straight wage comparison.


It seems a shame to lose 10 years of brand development and customer base due to lack of employees/subs. Perhaps a SBA counselor could help you find some viable options.
Maybe you could raise your rates to be able to afford better labor?

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