Small Business Corner
Whether you’re a new business owner, a contractor thinking of becoming an employee, or an employee thinking of becoming a contractor it’s good to know what you’re getting yourself in for. The difference between an employee and independent contractor is based on many different factors, such as degree of control over work performed, hours of work, expectations, risk, and benefits, and can have massive legal implications if unclear or dealt with wrongly.
An employee is employed by a company in a part-time or full-time capacity under a contract agreed upon before commencing work. Some common indicators of someone being an employee are:
Comparatively, a subcontractor is a firm or person that has a contract with a contractor to provide some portion of the work or services on a project which the contractor has agreed to perform. Some common indicators of someone being a subcontractor are:
Learn more about contractors & their rights and responsibilities here.
What's the difference and why does it matter? We asked our expert, Gillian Bristow, to explain things from an employer's perspective and some legal considerations to keep in mind! Gillian is a lawyer with 25 years practice in the transport sector, helping transport clients in relation to all aspects of their businesses, including negotiating contracts with clients, agents, suppliers and subcontractors and assisting with tender submissions. Here’s some things she thinks you need to know.
Whether you’re running your own subcontracting business, or are a business using subcontractors, it pays to know where you stand. Contract laws in Australia changed recently. Whether you’re a business owner, employee, or contractor, learn more about contract terms and what’s considered unfair if you’re involved in transport.
How confident are you with the differences between employees and sub-contractors? Still not sure? Drop us a line in the Truck Assist Club forums, or comment below, if you've got any more questions we can put to Gillian!
Truck Assist | Know Your Truck
To start, here is a list of 10 things your truck needs so that you can run a successful business out of it.
A Mobile Phone
You need your phone to keep in touch with clients, take photos of jobs, handle invoicing or as a GPS. Therefore, it is wise to have a secure dock and in-car charger on-hand for when you’re on the road.
Also, please don’t cop a fine for using a mobile while operating a vehicle! Make sure the dock securely attaches to your dash board and if your vehicle doesn’t already have Bluetooth capabilities, invest in a radio system that does. It will allow you to take calls whilst driving and play any of your favourite Spotify music as well.
Whether it’s fuel consumption, kilometres or hours, having a record of what you’ve done in your vehicle is good for future planning and claiming expenses for tax purposes. Keeping a log of this information and knowing when things like services are due or when parts are likely to wear out will save you time and money in the long run.
Oil and Water
Know what kind of oil your vehicle always uses and keep some distilled water on hand. Perform a regular check on your levels while the engine is cool and make a note of when and how much oil and water goes in (perhaps in your logbook). This should prevent your vehicle from overheating and costing you thousands in repairs.
A Secure Place for your Tools
They are expensive to buy, and you can bet they’ll be expensive to replace. Don’t trust the kindness of strangers abd make sure you have a secure place to put your tools. Invest in a sturdy lock box with good hinges and a heavy-duty lock. In any case, try to make a habit out of bringing your tools home with you at the end of the day.
A Spare Set of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
It may seem excessive to some, but it’s an investment in your safety and will save you time in the future. If a piece of PPE gets lost or destroyed, you can keep doing the job without having to be unsafe or waste time on sourcing a replacement.
A First Aid Kit
For all your basic first aid needs, make sure you have a well-stocked kit in your vehicle. You can tend to medical issues like cuts and burns, or - when the wheels really do fall off - make use of an Amputated Parts Module.
Did you know that any vehicle or combination with a GVM greater than 12 tonne must be equipped with at least 3 portable wanting triangles? Well now you do! Even if you only operate with a light vehicle, having warning triangles with you is important in the event of a breakdown and will keep yourself and other motorists safe.
A List of Important Phone Numbers
Maybe your phone dies or you’re somewhere without mobile service. Do you want to just sit around? Or would you rather fill the pockets and gain some more billable hours? Then it’s best to have a directory of clients, staff, suppliers, fellow tradies or safety numbers on a piece of paper or two. Print them out, laminate them and keep them in your vehicle.
Australia is a hot and dry continent. If you’re working in the heat with all that PPE on, you’re going to work up a thirst. Humans need around two to three litres a day, but that amount increases when you’re physically exerting yourself.
Try to keep away from energy drinks as the caffeine will make you dehydrated. Instead, grab something like Hydralyte and put it in your first aid kit as an extra precaution. They will replace the salts that flow out of your body through urine and sweat with electrolytes and fluids.
Make it easy for you to get help if your battery dies and make yourself the hero to whoever you may find yourself helping. We know battery failure is most common in the cold, so be prepared. You might even make a new client this winter!
For more industry news, insights, events, and tips like these, join us at the Truck Assist Club.
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