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Thread: Hiring a second shooter

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    Member raptureimages's Avatar
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    Hiring a second shooter

    Hi all,

    I'm looking for some advice on hiring a second shooter for weddings. I have found someone who I believe would be absolutely perfect to shoot with, and I'm trying to work out how to go about paying her, what contracts I need to have in place, etc.

    I don't want to call her my "assistant" because I think we're on around the same level as far as skill and experience goes, so I'm not sure if I can hire her on a "sub contract" basis? Can she just invoice me for her time, at an agreed hourly rate? (I don't think a flat rate would be suitable because I'm not at the stage where I'm charging a great deal for weddings, and I'm worried I may end up ripping myself off).

    Is there any other advice anyone can give me regarding payment/contracts/the business side of things?

    Thanks in advance :-)

    Nadia

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    There are definitions and tests to determine whether a person is an employee or a sub-contractor as far as the ATO is concerned. From what I understand there is a certain amount of flexibility about it, but basically a contractor will tend to use their own tools and do the same kind of work for more than one person or organisation. If your colleague fits these criteria and your accountant agrees, then there is no doubt that having her invoice you is much simpler for you than employing her, because you don't have to worry about withholding PAYG or Superannuation if she is a contractor. She'll need an ABN to invoice you, but they're easy and free.

    I am not a fan of contracts and can't see any need for one here. Goodwill and generosity are much better business tools than contracts in my opinion.

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    I am a fan of contracts, at least a written agreement by email etc, and definately see a need for one here.

    Also, make sure you are covered if they screw up re liability insurance

    What the financial arrangement is up to you.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kiwi View Post
    ...definately see a need for one here...
    To what end? What would such a contract contain and what purpose would it serve? What could it protect the OP from that good sense wouldn't? Not having a go at you or anything. I just really don't see the value. I've been in business for over 15 years and never use them.

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    As a sole trader I invoice for my hours.........get paid the agreed amount per hour ( hopefully) and look after my own tax , insurance, travel etc.......

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    I'm pleased that you've dealt with nice people for 15 years

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    Quote Originally Posted by kiwi View Post
    I'm pleased that you've dealt with nice people for 15 years
    Aww, no need to be like that mate. I've had difficult clients and employees and contractors. I just don't think contracts would have protected me from the things I've had to deal with as a result.

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    I'm glad, really i am, but a written agreement, if doesn't have to be a huge legal document, I thinks a safety net

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    Account Closed Wayne's Avatar
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    Be aware, that unless your 2nd shooter invoices you as a company, ie; PTY LTD or LTD entity, then as a sole trader, if they derive 80%+ of their income from you, then as far as workcover is concerned, you are the employer, and they are an employee not a contractor. If they are trading as a legal entity other than as a sole trader, they are then an employee of their own entity eg-company and they then pay their own workers comp premiums.

    There are a number of tests to determine a worker from a contractor with regard to workcover, best to check their site for more info.

    I agree with Kiwi, a basic written agreement is essential even in simple business dealings. That way everyone knows what they will/won't get and what expectations/liabilities each party has.
    Last edited by Wayne; 14-10-2010 at 9:44pm.

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    soulman have you ever had a phone conversation discussing commercial terms with a customer, contractor or business partner? Then you have had a contract. Have you ever exchanged emails on a commercial arrangement? The you have had a written contract.

    As kiwi suggests above, at the very least, exchange emails hitting the major points.

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    Thanks for the advice guys.

    We both have full-time "day jobs" and this will just be a weekend gig, so I don't think it will be a problem with her making less than 80% of her income from me. That's definitely good to know though!

    I have a contract written up for an assistant/photographer arrangement, because that's what I was initially looking for. But I definitely want to have this girl on as a second shooter, so I guess it would just be a matter of shifting the wording around a bit, and her and I agreeing on a payment arrangements.

    Seems simple enough. Thanks again!

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by soulman View Post
    Aww, no need to be like that mate. I've had difficult clients and employees and contractors. I just don't think contracts would have protected me from the things I've had to deal with as a result.
    Huh? In your first post you say you have never needed a contract in 15 years, in this one you say you have had difficulty with contractors, which is it?

    With all due respect, in today's business world if you don't have written contracts, you are opening yourself up for a world of trouble. But your choice!
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    For the life of me I cannot see why anyone would suggest or ague for not putting something in writing ? A nod a wink, and differently recalled phone conversation is the source of every single dispute I've ever been a mediator to.

    Putting your agreement in writing is the sensible thing to do. I'd suggest making sure you cover who owns or has use of the images for their own promotional reasons. As well as covering the issue of Public Liability - ie who is responsible for what (and make sure that you check with your insurer). And finally ensure that your insurance covers you for commercial use of your equipment. Those are the details. The main part will probably be what you're paying the 2nd shooter, how long it covers, and what they should produce for that fee, and in what time frame.
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    I agree with kiwi that I would get something in writing just in case something goes belly up.
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    Quote Originally Posted by soulman View Post
    To what end? What would such a contract contain and what purpose would it serve? What could it protect the OP from that good sense wouldn't? Not having a go at you or anything. I just really don't see the value. I've been in business for over 15 years and never use them.
    Soulman, you're really leaving yourself wide open by not putting something in writing. All aspects from potential insurance issues, to the ability to sell your work are dangling by a fine thread. I'd suggest that the fact you've had no legal issues in the past 15yrs has not been a result of good management, but rather good luck.
    Last edited by jasevk; 15-10-2010 at 11:35am.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ricktas View Post
    Huh? In your first post you say you have never needed a contract in 15 years, in this one you say you have had difficulty with contractors, which is it?
    Contractors are firms or individuals we engage to perform a particular task. We do this without contracts.

    With all due respect, in today's business world if you don't have written contracts, you are opening yourself up for a world of trouble. But your choice!
    People tend to overestimate the value of contracts and underestimate the value of clear communication and goodwill in my experience. Being good to people doesn't protect against all possible outcomes but neither does having a contract.

    Quote Originally Posted by jasevk View Post
    I'd suggest that the fact you've had no legal issues in the past 15yrs has not been a result of good management, but rather good luck.
    We have a multi million dollar annual turnover, employ 7 people and grow year by year. I am pretty comfortable with our management strategies. If you think that contracts will protect you from legal issues then you may be in for a bit of a surprise at some point.

    As previously noted, we have had issues over the years. I'm still yet to be convinced that formal contracts would have improved any of those situations. I have a number of mates who are in business, in various industries, and some of them are very contract oriented. They don't seem to have any less trouble than we do, but they do seem to spend more time and money resolving things than us. We actively pursue positive outcomes at all times and we very often achieve them.

    In the OP's situation, I think a quick & clear verbal agreement would be appropriate to the scale of the endeavour, but sledgehammers work fine for cracking walnuts too and I have no problem with people suggesting other options.

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    Member jasevk's Avatar
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    If you think that drawing up a written agreement to protect your key interests and reduce potential risks in any sort if business dealing is not a worthwhile exercise, then all I can say is good luck to you mate, when it comes to a financial dispute, your trust and good will means squat. I'd be interested to see your insurers thoughts on this lack of fundamental risk management.

    In the OPs specific case, a contract to clearly define who owns the images, who edits, who gets how much etc, is something I would certainly want to have in black and white.
    Last edited by jasevk; 15-10-2010 at 1:10pm.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jasevk View Post
    ..when it comes to a financial dispute, your trust and good will means squat. I'd be interested to see your insurers thoughts on this lack of fundamental risk management.
    Again, you make a lot of assumptions with very little information - you have no idea about our risk management strategies nor how valuable our trust and goodwill have been to us over the years.

    I have no trouble with how you want to run your business or what assistance you wish to offer to others. I get that you don't agree with how we do things and that's fine, but I'm not the one seeking advice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by soulman View Post
    Again, you make a lot of assumptions with very little information - you have no idea about our risk management strategies nor how valuable our trust and goodwill have been to us over the years.

    I have no trouble with how you want to run your business or what assistance you wish to offer to others. I get that you don't agree with how we do things and that's fine, but I'm not the one seeking advice.
    If you're comfortable with how you operate then that's great, but I believe your response to the OP is reckless and potentially damaging. But hey, that's just me....

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    Most disputes that would be averted if things were in writing are in my experience at this low level of business.

    Certainly in my very large Company if we can avoid contractual disputes, we do.

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