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hiring a receptionist/secretary


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At this time I am looking at hiring a receptionist/secretary. I have a resume that came in that sound exactly what I’m looking for.

I think I have everything in place but for those few that have already hired an outside person to do the receptionist/secretary thing, is there anything you can advise me on?

I will be giving her a 1099MIS so she will be a sub-contractor. She will be working from her home. Working 8 to 12 and 1 to 5 Monday through Friday. I have been paying attention and noticed I get very few phone calls from clients looking at getting a home inspection between 5pm and 6pm.. Her job will be to answer phone calls, set up jobs, email contracts (I send them out electronically), make sure contracts get signed and after contracts are signed, email a presentation about the home inspection report. We will be sending information back and forth through Outlook when it comes to when to scheduling things (I only do home inspections Monday thru Saturday 9am or 2pm and 12 noon on Sunday).

Again, if you have any do's and dont's, I would like to hear them.

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There's the issue of the 1099, because she's not really a subcontractor.

Yes, I know that most folks operate that way, and there's only a small likelihood that you will be "caught", but if you read the rules, there is almost no instance where someone working in the capacity you have her working is actually a subcontractor.

There's a list of requirements; you have to meet all of them. I don't see how you could be meeting all the requirements.

Other than that, sounds like you have it organized reasonably well.

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  • When she's on the phone and another call comes in, will it go to voice mail, give a busy signal or ring unanswered?
  • Working from home- is there anyone else there during the day? Screaming kids, barking dogs, hot UPS guy?
  • Take her on a few inspections so she can better answer some potential clients questions.
  • Call up and pretend to book an inspection. Be real nasty, so you can find her tolerance level for a**hole agents.
  • Very important - be sure she can read a map and understand that some inspections will take much longer than others.
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Ditto Kurt's comment about the subcontractor and all of Bill's comments.

This person will become the voice and, to a large degree, the public persona of your business. You've got to go beyond a resume to get someone to fill that bill and do it well. Interview her carefully. If she works out, you'll start to really rely heavily on her and she'll become a critical part of your business. Pay her well.

We have four partners/inspectors in our business and our office manager is our chief asset. She's an employee, not a sub contractor, but she does work out of her home. She takes all of our business calls during normal hours, maintains our schedules, sends out pre-inspection agreements and most of our other business communications, puts together our newsletter, and does some light bookkeeping.

She also manages the office computer, which is the server for our scheduling software and to which we email all of our reports. That way our customer database and our reports are stored on our individual machines as well as on the office machine.

With the right person, it's a sweet setup.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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There's the issue of the 1099, because she's not really a subcontractor.

That is one of the things I was questioning. I have an appointment with my accountant on Wednesday.

Originally posted by inspecthistoric

* When she's on the phone and another call comes in, will it go to voice mail, give a busy signal or ring unanswered?

Voice Mail through vonage as done now. That way I can get the messages if something happens and she is not able to send them to me.

* Working from home- is there anyone else there during the day? Screaming kids, barking dogs, hot UPS guy?

No kids, husband works during the day and gets off work at 5pm

* Take her on a few inspections so she can better answer some potential clients questions.

A must

* Call up and pretend to book an inspection. Be real nasty, so you can find her tolerance level for a**hole agents.

I might have somebody else do that. I already talked to her on the phone and we just received her resume so we're still at the beginning stages of knowing her and her true skills.

* Very important - be sure she can read a map and understand that some inspections will take much longer than others.
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I agree. At this time, the most I can do is 9 inspection a week without burning myself out. If she works out, I plan on her scheduling only 1 a day for a while. By next spring, she should be a pro at this.

So it really sounds like the first question I need to answer is the employee and sub-contractor thing. I hope my accountant knows something that goes in my favor.

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Is she going to be working only for you, or does she do a similar job for others? If she has her own business you may be able to set her up as a vendor, like a payroll company or your accountant would be, rather than a sub or employee. Speaking from experience, if she is taking direction from you, and getting a substantial amount of her work from you, then she is an employee and not a sub.

One more thing to consider; If the fit seems good but you're still not sure, take advantage of the fact that she can earn up to $600 with out the requirement for a 1099, and give it a dry run before you sign her up for real. When I owned my remodeling biz I would routinely work with every new subcontractor, if they worked out we did the tax paperwork, if not they got a check for what they did and were cut loose.

Tom

Tom

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