It's with great pride and a renewed faith in the future of this company that we introduce our new Crew Operations Manager, Missy Salatto. Although she's new to life as a crewing company, she's not new to crewing. She brings with her a roster of talented and experienced stagehands and technicians across the country.
"Her first week on the job and [Missy] successfully staffed 5 shows in various cities across three states. It was impressive how quickly and effectively she worked and I'm eager to see what kind of changes she plans to implement." says outgoing Director of Crew Operations, Brandon Cruz.
Missy realizes she has challenges to face. There is increasing concern how legislation will continue to impact the labor market. It's no surprise that the Gig Economy is strong in California, consider the cost of living. So it's also not a surprise that California continues to corral and sheppard over its population of freelance contractors. Certainly, their rights and protections are top of mind, but we can be assured the State will continue enforcement of statutes and regulations concerning tax revenue, unemployment benefits, workers comp coverage and indemnity.
But she seems to take things in stride, and while we migrate our freelance community to part-time seasonal employees, she's already looking forward to the advantages of reclassification. The most impactful is our ability to train and manage. Among her goals, including a complete overhaul to payroll processing, is to return to the dynamic and scalable workforce we were in the early days, when we were only a handful of techs.
"We're really excited to have her onboard. He energy and enthusiasm is infectious and you can't help but be excited around her. Our clients like her, our techs respect her and she's immediately adapted in our office culture. It's awesome to see here just jump right in." says Jake Evans, Crew Operations Manager, LA/OC Region.
So please join us in welcoming Missy. We wish you the best of luck and prosperity. ✌🏼
why producers are so persistent?
I'm sure there's not one among us that hasn't been a few days late turning in an invoice. I get it. We live the Spartan life or long work days, late night load-outs, dead cellphone batteries, napping in cars, changing in bathrooms and scavenging kraft services for the last snickers bar. After all, we have to bring this rig in before midnight, load the truck, power nap on the bus and do this all over again 100 miles down the road.
And maybe you just want to get home early to wash your hair... whatever.
Regardless of why you're too busy to turn in your invoices on time, that procrastination has a real effect on the business people surrounding you - and ultimately that effect will cascade back on you. When you jeopardize someone's ability to run their own business effectively and efficiently, then they will simply elect not to work with you. And if enough people drop you, well then, you get the picture.
how do late invoices impact your clients
First, let's remind our freelance community that the guys cutting them the checks... that is the producers, gear houses, production companies, what have you... they are your clients. How some freelancers offer such horrible service, yet the labor coordinators receive so much grief, it's amazing. But back to the point, if you are like me, once upon a time I would think, "Damn, why are they so mad I haven't invoiced them yet - why are they so impatient about paying me. You'd think they'd be grateful, since they get to hold onto the money longer."
Well, actually that's not how it works. Fact is, until producers get all their invoices in, they can't prepare their final bill to the end-client. And the end-client will start their payment clocks upon receipt of that final invoice. So if we hold up final billing for a couple of weeks, it could be 2 months before the producer receives final payment and is able to pay out his vendors.
But that's not the only negative effect. Frankly, a producer will only wait so long for your invoice, because you're not the only vendor he has to pay. When we don't send him an invoice, thereby forcing him to invoice based on his best guess or estimation of what your final fee is, then if he's wrong and the client pays based on the wrong amount, you have less chance to getting paid the correct amount because the producer has less chance to modifying his number once it's started through the corporate accounts payable maze.
some useful tips
But again, I understand the challenges, because I live the life as well. But living the life alongside you, I also know, we're not ALWAYS that busy. There are plenty of times throughout your schedule when we're in Stand by moments. Here are some best practices to help you, help them, help you.
prepare in advance
Instead of waiting until the following morning or the end of the night, prepare the invoice during the last day of the call, perhaps during show or during lunch. That way, at the end of the night, all you really need to do is plug in the time out and you're ready to submit. It should only take you a couple minutes, so if you can't finish your invoice template during a working lunch, then you need a better invoice format.
send it out early
I know a tech that always sends his invoice on the morning of the load-out. His rationale is, we always know roughly how long the out is going to be, and if you're working against a mini, then you know the number of hours you'll get paid, regardless of the end time. So he prepares his invoice in the morning and sends it off long before the load-out starts. On the rare occasion that the times are longer than what he invoiced for, he makes the easy call to the producer or labor coordinators and simply say's "Disregard my last." The invoice is already formatted, so he updates and resubmits.
use accounting software
Using a simple, but powerful accounting package can dramatically improve your accuracy, efficiency and even your profitability and revenue opportunities. Some popular ones are Quickbooks and Fresh Books. But you can use most any package your familiar with. Just be consistent.
keep them simple
I've seen some crazy complex invoices that calculates all the variables, cross references against other records, collects, reinvests, looses... it can be a mess. One of the best things you can do for yourself is keep your invoice simple. For the most part, all the client needs is:
hire a service
If it's still too hard for you to get your invoices out on time, consider hiring a bookkeepiing business. They aren't that cheap, but I susect you're more than make up for the mean of his words. But better to pick up the guys without guns facing off with the guys with guns.
Long and short of it, if your clients have you set up as Net 5, Net 15 or even Net 30. That clock starts running the day you submit your invoice and it's accepted. It is really unfair to call 3 days after the show, having not even sent or confirmed your hours worked and start demanding pay. I really hope this helps you understand the issues behind invoicing - and look forward to seeing you on the campus soon.
Determining Independent Contractor Compliance
It's alarming how few freelancers are aware that there is a mandate for employers to comply with strict, but loosely defined, rules when hiring freelance stagehands - identified as independent contractors. It's not surprising however, since even those employers, HR specialists, labor specialists and even the independent contractors themselves argue over their interpretation of the rules. The guidelines, applicable state and federal laws and regulatory and legal requirements are a constant topic among our team, and we want to open the conversation up to our entire community and ensure all our colleagues and clients are aware of the current guidelines.
There 20 factors used by the IRS to determine whether an employer has enough control over a worker for that worker to be classified as an employee, rather than a contractor. Though these rules are intended only as a guide - the IRS says the importance of each factor depends on the individual circumstances - they are helpful in determining whether our relationships demonstrates an employer-employee relationship. When the answer is “Yes” to the first four questions, you can typically satisfy compliance as an independent contractor; “Yes” to any of questions 5 through 20 means we will need to classify you as an employee, subject to backup withholding, among other requirements.
1. Profit or loss. Can the worker make a profit or suffer a loss as a result of the work, aside from the money earned from the project? (This should involve real economic risk-not just the risk of not getting paid.)
2. Investment. Does the worker have an investment in the equipment and facilities used to do the work? (The greater the investment, the more likely independent contractor status.)
3. Works for more than one firm. Does the person work for more than one company at a time? (This tends to indicate independent contractor status, but isn’t conclusive since employees can also work for more than one employer.)
4. Services offered to the general public. Does the worker offer services to the general public.
5. Instructions. Do you have the right to give the worker instructions about when, where, and how to work? (This shows control over the worker.)
6. Training. Do you train the worker to do the job in a particular way? (Independent contractors are already trained.)