Lawn care employees and workmans comp.

Are you a sole owner / operator of a lawn care business and finding yourself at the point where you want to hire an employee? You may be quite amazed at all the extra hoops you have to jump through in order to do this legally. Let’s have a look at one lawn care business owner’s investigation into the process of hiring his first lawn care employee from his discussion on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum.

He wrote “It is high time I put someone on the books. I am in Florida and need help with what to expect from the good old government. I would like to hear about  employee issues from the people that are doing it. I got a quote a couple of years ago on workmans comp ins. just for me and they wanted $4,000 per year (yes that is 3 zeros). I simply can’t afford or justify that kind of money when I only pay $480 per year on my $1 million liability insurance policy. As the owner / operator of my own business I don’t need to have workmans comp insurance and that’s why I was shocked at the cost.

Also does anyone know what unemployment taxes cost per employee?”

One lawn care business owner wrote “you are right,  it’s insane to get your own worker’s comp policy for 1 or 2 employees. As the owner, you are exempt from having to provide workers comp insurance for yourself, at least in my state you are. You need to check with the laws that apply to your specific state though. In my state, you can have an employee be exempt if they are a 10% or more owner of the company. So one trick I have seen around here is having your employees essentially buy in & make them a minority partner. I really don’t reccommend doing this though. Another option you can choose is something along the lines of what I did.

Check out employee leasing companies in your area.When I first started doing this, they basically had a day labor service handling my payroll and workmans comp coverage. Then I found that many of the employee leasing places had dropped alot of the minimum requirements that they had when I got started with them. They used to require 2-3 employees on the books or a minimum of say $600-1000 / wk in payroll. Since that wasn’t going to happen, I had to go with the day labor thing. I never hired day labor guys as employees. Instead, I’d hire my guys separate, have them fill out the application for the day labor service & they were then technically employeed by the service which is good because if you fire them, they need to report to the day labor place the next day for work or they ‘quit’ their job & so… no need for unemployment insurance.

Now I use an employee leasing company. All taxes, workmans comp, unemployment insurance is included. At the end of each day, I fill out a form online with each employee’s hours and they email an invoice to me. I write 1 check & pick up checks for the employees. They handle w-2’s & all that. It makes my life a lot easier. Anything I can do to minimize my paper work, the better.”

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