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#1992866 - 11/30/12 02:40 PM Should I become an independent contractor for music studio?  
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 104
pianogirl1978 Offline
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pianogirl1978  Offline
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Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 104
Nebraska
I am very confused on what to do. There is a guitar studio that is expanding and wants to hire me as an independent contractor to teach piano. I am now finding out that they want to me to have worker's comp and general liability insurance which would be an added expense for me. Just curious if anyone else teaches out of a studio as an independent contractor and how much all this is going to be. I haven't researched it or called around yet. But I am only going to be teaching at this studio one or two nights a week and at the most will pry have 5-8 students and I will be taking home $18 per 30 minute lesson. I guess I am just not sure if it would be worth it to make more money, but then to have to pay the extra insurance. Also, if I dont' have any employees under me, I am confused as to why I need to have workers comp? If I am an I.C., then I am not considered their employee, correct? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

Last edited by pianogirl1978; 11/30/12 02:43 PM.

Private Piano Teacher in Lincoln, Nebraska
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#1992887 - 11/30/12 03:30 PM Re: Should I become an independent contractor for music studio? [Re: pianogirl1978]  
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jotur Offline
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Santa Fe, NM
I don't know what it's like in other states, but in NM if you're an independent contractor you can specifically waive workers comp if you are a sole proprietor and absolutely have no one else working for you.

But - the practicality seems to be that if someone is injured on the job they may well go after whoever has the deepest pockets, and if someone has no insurance of their own they may be more likely to go after the WC of whomever they were contracted with.

And, since independent contractor status can so easily be disputed - especially if you are working in their space, and for *their* students - that is even a bigger possibility.

So requiring you to have WC is one way of attempting to cover their behinds, so to speak. If you do not in fact have WC, it may well be that their own WC will increase regardless of whether you are truly an independent contractor.

Whether they can *legally* require you to have WC rather than a waiver for sole propietor, if that's available in NE, I don't know.

Cathy


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#1992894 - 11/30/12 03:48 PM Re: Should I become an independent contractor for music studio? [Re: pianogirl1978]  
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Last edited by Ann in Kentucky; 11/30/12 05:36 PM.
#1992905 - 11/30/12 04:24 PM Re: Should I become an independent contractor for music studio? [Re: pianogirl1978]  
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dumdumdiddle Offline
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California
I thought workers' comp is if YOU have employees. Or, if the store hired you as an employee (not independent contractor), they'd have to have it for you.


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#1992931 - 11/30/12 05:22 PM Re: Should I become an independent contractor for music studio? [Re: pianogirl1978]  
Joined: Apr 2012
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BrainCramp Offline
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USA
Pianogirl, here's my understanding of the law in Massachusetts, where I live:

An independent contractor (someone who expects to receive a Form 1099 from each employer) must carry Worker's Comp. insurance or have a waiver on file with the state.

You can file a waiver if you're your business' only employee, or if all the employees are listed with the state as officers of the business and file waivers as well.

An employer is required to carry Worker's Comp. insurance unless he's able to waive it in the way stated above. If he has any employees who aren't legally officers of the business, they must be covered by a WC policy.

An employer who hires an independent contractor, that is, someone he expects to provide with a Form 1099 in January, is supposed to make his best effort to ensure that the contractor has his own WC insurance. (Sounds like what the studio is trying to do with you.)

You can probably find out your state's regulations on its .gov web site.

In MA if you go to an insurance agent to buy WC insurance and you're a very small business, you'll be assigned to a state pool. The pool is split up among the different insurance companies that offer WC insurance; one of those companies will simply issue you a policy. The price will depend on the type of work you do and perhaps the physical work environment, e.g. do you work in a building that's falling down, etc.

I would estimate about $200 per year for WC insurance for a 1-person business, but it may be very different where you are.

Hope this helps.

#1993023 - 11/30/12 11:40 PM Re: Should I become an independent contractor for music studio? [Re: pianogirl1978]  
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DanS Offline
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DanS  Offline
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I've worked as an I.C. at several stores over the years but I've never heard of a store requiring it's teachers to carry insurance. Seems very odd to me, but laws do vary state to state as some of the previous posters stated.

#1993791 - 12/02/12 05:32 PM Re: Should I become an independent contractor for music studio? [Re: pianogirl1978]  
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pianogirl1978 Offline
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pianogirl1978  Offline
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Posts: 104
Nebraska
The owner is very flexible and if I don't wish to be an I.C. then we may work out another arrangement of me just paying a rental fee each month to teach there. I am not sure what I am going to do yet. Thanks for all the replies.


Private Piano Teacher in Lincoln, Nebraska
#1996598 - 12/08/12 09:05 PM Re: Should I become an independent contractor for music studio? [Re: pianogirl1978]  
Joined: Jul 2012
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Michael_99 Offline
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Michael_99  Offline
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Canada Alberta
One of the considerations is how much you will earn as an employee teaching at other studios in the area. You may make less but you will have no unknown liability amounting to unknown amounts.

Anyone starting a business has the chance of becoming a millionaire, but the reality is that the risks are huge not knowing the number of clients that will come in the door and the clients that leave, or leave without paying and the costs of staying in business while you built up your clients/students.

So the question is: Can I afford to be teach month after month without any guaranteed income - by the studio - to feed me?

#1996797 - 12/09/12 08:26 AM Re: Should I become an independent contractor for music studio? [Re: pianogirl1978]  
Joined: Apr 2007
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Morodiene Offline
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Boynton Beach, FL
I just would be very careful about signing with a school. Read the fine print, and talk to the other teachers there to see if they are happy and if they would recommend you coming on board. I have just heard many horror stories about these music school owners who try to take advantage of young/inexperienced teachers and pay them a pittance while charging quite a bit for lessons, among other things.

You are right to question why you need worker's comp insurance. This makes no sense. Worker's comp insurance is usually required by law when you have employees, and not when you are self-employed. The purpose of WC is to pay a portion of the employees wages if they are injured on the job. It does not benefit the employer at all, but it is regulated by state law. A sole proprietor/independent contractor who has no employees would have no purpose for such a thing, nor do I see any reason why this studio owner would require something like that. Why should he care if you get "injured on the job" and need to have your wages covered since you wouldn't be able to work? Perhaps you misunderstand what they are asking.

As for general liability, if you are truly self-employed and not receiving a paycheck from them (google for information regarding employee vs. independent contractor status according to the IRS), then this makes sense. General liability covers you in case someone falls down the stairs or slips on the sidewalk in front of the building on the way to lessons. However, since you do not own the building, I think that this sort of policy would be more his responsibility to have and not yours. General liability does not usually cover against lawsuits concerning someone dissatisfied with your teaching - say if they get injured by a particular technique you teach.

This all seems a bit fishy to me. Is there any reason you can't teach out of your home instead and cut out the middle man?


private piano/voice teacher FT

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#1997867 - 12/11/12 12:30 PM Re: Should I become an independent contractor for music studio? [Re: pianogirl1978]  
Joined: Jun 2009
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pianomommy1 Offline
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pianomommy1  Offline
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Posts: 54
Florida
I would like to answer this question since I "am" the owner of a music/performing arts school which "hires" independent contractors.

As the owner of the school, I/school MUST have liability insurance which includes a rider for sexual/molestation coverage. As the owner of the school, I bear all the risk/burden/advertising, etc for the school. If one of my teachers were to sexually molest one of the students, "I" would be bearing the responsibility (however, I would come after the teacher at that point -- however, to start with "I" am the party that the family will come after).

Workers comp IS a bit weird to require -- I would DEFINITELY check into that (I am in Florida so it "might" be different where you are). Because "I" am the sole proprietor of the company, I am exempt from WC and since I do NOT employ teachers/staff, I do not have to carry it.

General Liability IS a good thing to have regardless of "where" you teach. Even if you were to teach out of your house, you would want that General Liab Insurance to PROTECT you and your home/assets. If you are wanting to teach other places in addition to the music school, I would get general liability. It will cover you regardless (and actually it is not "that" expensive).

Any other questions? PM me = I will help you the best I can --
ETA == if you go the route of RENTING space, then YES, you will need the Gen Liab "for sure"

Last edited by pianomommy1; 12/11/12 12:32 PM.

Piano Teacher


#1998614 - 12/12/12 09:59 PM Re: Should I become an independent contractor for music studio? [Re: pianomommy1]  
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 16,210
Morodiene Offline
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Morodiene  Offline
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Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 16,210
Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted by pianomommy1
I would like to answer this question since I "am" the owner of a music/performing arts school which "hires" independent contractors.

As the owner of the school, I/school MUST have liability insurance which includes a rider for sexual/molestation coverage. As the owner of the school, I bear all the risk/burden/advertising, etc for the school. If one of my teachers were to sexually molest one of the students, "I" would be bearing the responsibility (however, I would come after the teacher at that point -- however, to start with "I" am the party that the family will come after).

Workers comp IS a bit weird to require -- I would DEFINITELY check into that (I am in Florida so it "might" be different where you are). Because "I" am the sole proprietor of the company, I am exempt from WC and since I do NOT employ teachers/staff, I do not have to carry it.

General Liability IS a good thing to have regardless of "where" you teach. Even if you were to teach out of your house, you would want that General Liab Insurance to PROTECT you and your home/assets. If you are wanting to teach other places in addition to the music school, I would get general liability. It will cover you regardless (and actually it is not "that" expensive).

Any other questions? PM me = I will help you the best I can --
ETA == if you go the route of RENTING space, then YES, you will need the Gen Liab "for sure"


And general liability is not that expensive either. I think we pay $30/month here (also in FL :D). I agree it's good to have to protect yourself, but unnecessary if you are a subcontractor in this instance.


private piano/voice teacher FT

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