How to Manage 1099 Contractors

What is your perspective of 1099 representatives vs. working with employees?

Just because you work with 1099 contractors does not mean that they do not need your attention, management, and leadership. In some ways 1099 contractors need more leadership, management, and attention.
I am a believer in the American dream of owning your own business. Let us not confuse ownership with irresponsibility. Just because you work with business owners does not mean that you cannot hold them accountable. In some ways I believe the certain contractor relationships require higher levels of accountability than employees. 
When I work with contractors I increase the level of required daily reporting. You read that right, daily reporting. I have had people tell me that daily reporting is too much. They would not work with a company that required daily reporting.
 I would say that this is a good sign that the contractor is not really working hard for you if they cannot provide daily reporting. “As a mechanism, accountability is a process in which a person has a potential obligation to explain his/her actions to another party who has the right to pass judgment on those actions and to administer potential positive or negative consequences in response to them” (Vance, Benjamin & Eggett 2015).
 There are two tools I find extremely important in daily accountability:
1.      Google Forms -One tool that I have found to effectively hold contractors accountable is google forms. I build the specific fields that I want to track and google converts all the responses to a google sheet. The form is emailed to the contractor as a link. Every day for the first 30 days I check the responses and ensure that the contractor is in the habit of reporting. One of the benefits of collecting this date in a google sheet is that at any time I can export it to an excel file and manipulate that data to draw conclusions for my business. “Just in case you’re wondering: Google Forms is a free and easy web-based application for collecting information through online surveys and forms. Responses are sent directly to a spreadsheet, which is set up for easy analysis, and automatically saved and stored on your Google drive” (Mallette & Barone 2013).
2.     Google Calendar –I have the contractor share their google calendar with my staff. Now before the complaints roll in about how contractors will never sync their calendar with you or your staff, let me say this…. If you intentions is to micro manage the contractor you may find this to be a difficult option for you. We utilize this tool as a way to support and maximize the contractor’s “Management is about systems and processes, while leadership is about influencing people” (Neufeldt, 2014). When your contractors know you are on their side in improving their profitability, they will be more understanding about access to their calendar.
Without access to the personal data of your contactor base it is hard to provide feedback and suggestions for improvement. This issue is not about micromanagement, the issue is about transparency. With a true partnership with your independent contractors you can help lead and improve their business. If you are like me you have a manager or a team of managers supervising your contractors. Some things you may want to offer in return for the transparency is as follows:
1.      Business building support
2.     Brand development support
3.     Technology support
4.     Software support
5.     Assistants or access to employees for support
6.     Additional compensation
7.     Great culture

It is your job to ensure productivity. I is your job to design the systems that produce the results you desire. When people first start with you is the best time to get them in the habit of utilizing your systems. You do not need to look at the data every day. You just need to make sure that you are getting the communication you need to make good business decisions.  
I often work with organizations to develop good reporting tools to gain insight into the effectiveness of their leadership among employees and independent contractors. 
Mallette, M., & Barone, D. (2013). On Using Google Forms. Reading Teacher, 66(8), 625-630. doi:10.1002/trtr.1169
Neufeldt, P. (2014). Lucrative Leadership. Leadership Excellence Essentials, 31(11), 44.

Nathan Bush, MBA, NALP is the Senior Property Manager for Affinity Property Group a Property management firm in St. Charles, Missouri.  He holds an MBA with an emphasis in accounting from Keller Graduate School of Management and a B.A in Nonprofit Management from Lindenwood University.  In addition to his degrees, he holds a Missouri real estate license. He is currently a member of SCORE which is a nonprofit organization that serves to mentor start-up and growing businesses. Lastly, Nathan wrote the book Leadership Coaching as a Strategy for Employee Development and has spoken at conferences on the topic of leadership. 

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