When it comes to your staff, do you have everything in order?
As in paperwork. Tax filing. Your hiring process.
There’s a lot to think about when it comes to employees – or independent contractors – at your gym. Following the law and making sure everyone is treated fairly are both key. But what things do you need to keep in mind?
Ryan Vaughn of Incite Tax sat down with Box Pro to discuss what he’s seen in terms of the hiring process, employee paperwork and tax issues. Read what he has to say and make a checklist, ensuring you have everything in order:
BP: Where should a Box owner begin when they are looking at hiring a Coach?
RV: The general consensus in the Affiliate community is that you should look from within your existing members first, with the reason being because they know your culture and you know their personality. We feel that finding a Coach within your existing community has the same success rate as finding a Coach from outside your existing community. You may have a culture you are trying to improve, so that member/potential-Coach might be able to take you where you want to go. There are also strong arguments that just because you’ve seen someone work out doesn’t necessarily mean you have seen all their skill sets in what is needed in a Coach. The reason I bring this up is because I feel like Box owners feel when they hire a Coach from within their community that the Coach is automatically going to be perfect and less work will be needed to train the Coach on your culture and expectations. It is a great option, but not a shoo-in for perfection.
I think the first place people go is from within the community; then they should go from within their own network. Box owners know other Box owners and maybe those friends are aware of someone looking for a coaching position.
Then you need to go the traditional route after that: Craigslist posting, Indeed, Handshake. Some job posting sites can get expensive fast, so you always want to watch out.
BP: What are common mistakes you see in the hiring process?
RV: I think I hit on some already. Hiring a Coach from within doesn’t mean the Coach will be perfect. Each Box should have an onboarding system for new Coaches, whether they be employees or contractors. All Coaches need to go through that. The job postings themselves are also usually garbage. They start with how much the position pays, then list responsibilities and then requirements. So at the end of the day, your posting looks just like everyone elses. Boring and blah. The job posting should be a marketing piece. Sell them on why they should work with you. Who cares if the world thinks all job postings need to be in the same boring format. Be different. Your job posting should reflect your culture.
Also, how many get really crappy applicants that seem to be applying just so they can keep unemployment? When we hire at Incite Tax, for some reason we get a lot of mechanics and nurses applying for a job that requires an accounting degree. Box owners see the same thing. So have your job-posting filter out the crap. You’ll get less responses, but the ones you get will be more likely worth talking to. Throw a phrase in your job posting and require they use it in the subject line when emailing their resume. Ask them to do a video no longer than three minutes on their phone demonstrating some sort of movement or pretend like they are coaching a class. This will make sorting through applicants much faster because 85 percent of them won’t use the right subject line or won’t send a video.
BP: Why is getting the hiring process right important for the business?
RV: The No. 1 reason is cost. It takes a lot of time to find a good option and then takes more time and sometimes money to get that Coach to what you really want. There are lots of hidden costs to a bad hire too. Other Coaches or employees might decrease their productivity if they see a team member getting away with less than 100 percent effort. Obviously your lost time in the recruiting and hiring process is gone forever. It can also be a negative impact on morale, negative impact on athlete experience and mean lost memberships, to name a few negatives.
BP: What paperwork do they need to have in order when hiring a Coach?
RV: This depends on if they are employees or contractors. Employees fill out a W-4 and an I-9, and the owner should follow the instructions on the I-9 and keep a copy of the documents provided to them.
Contractors fill out a W-9. It is strongly recommended they create, at minimum, a single member LLC with a business name that isn’t their own name. So I wouldn’t call my business John Briggs, LLC. I’d probably call it “You’re stupid if you don’t do CrossFit, LLC.” Although you can’t have the actual word CrossFit in your business name as just a Coach.
But as a rule, an owner should not pay the first check to a contractor until they have a copy of the W-9.
BP: What does the owner need to know about employees and taxes and how this affects their business?
RV: The owner should know they have options when they hire a Coach. No statement should ever be made that either, “CrossFit Coaches are employees ALWAYS” or “CrossFit Coaches are contractors ALWAYS.” The tax law doesn’t support such claims. This matters to the Box owner because employees cost payroll tax. And that payroll tax is money they will never see again for both the Coach and the owner. It’s gone. It disappears into the black hole of the government to be spent on things like trying to make real life Iron Man suits — no joke, that really happened.
Coaches as contractors will end up paying less taxes overall and the business will end up paying less taxes over all, too. But the owner has to give up some control if they want the Coach to be a contractor. The IRS has 24 factors they look at. Some factors have a higher importance. The owner needs to make sure they follow the rules if they want the Coach to be a contractor. So the right independent contractor agreement should reflect the aspects of the relationship between Coach and owner that shows the Coach is truly independent. If the owner takes away just one thing from this: Never take advice from someone that is saying Coaches are always employees or always contractors. Just follow the IRS rules — double check with an attorney familiar with your state, too. Coaches can be either employees or contractors. It truly does depend.