Owner Operators – The Dock: Tips For The Owner Operator

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Last time we left off with the general IRS definition, “The general rule is that an individual is an independent contractor if you, the person for whom the services are performed, have the right to control or direct only the result of the work and not the means and methods of accomplishing the result”.  This time let’s look at some specifics from IRS Publication 15-A and how they apply to a Co-Driver or driver working for you.

If, as the employer you tell your driver or co-driver:

When and where to work.

Co-driver: unless the co-driver is picking the loads and setting the work schedule you are definitely telling them when and where to work.

Driver: this may be a little grayer area with a driver, but unless you gave the driver the truck and turned him loose to find his own company to lease on with or find his own loads, he is probably an employee. If you have your truck(s) leased on to a company, then you have definitely told him “where to work”.

What tools or equipment to use.

            Co-driver: again you are providing the tools and equipment – your truck.

            Driver: the same answer applies

What workers to hire or to assist with the work.

Co-driver: this test is a little grayer, but could be applied to the use of lumpers. Do you tell your co-driver whether they may or may not use lumpers? If you do then they meet this requirement for consideration as an employee.

Driver: if the driver is free to hire lumpers when he/she chooses then they would not be considered employees under this test. If on the other hand you tell the driver when you will and will not pay for lumpers then you are treating them as an employee.

Starting to get the idea? If you’re still not convinced that you need to be treating your driver or co-driver as an employee we’ll check a couple more qualifiers next time.

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