Question for Florida LCO's with 1 or 2 employees

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by Cut-Rite2, Dec 11, 2005.

  1. Cut-Rite2

    Cut-Rite2 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 74

    I just started my lawn mowing service last April and so far have 25 regular customers. I had 30 but 2 moved, I got rid of 2 and the last one did not renew. My question is about hiring employees and workers comp. I can't really afford the $3500 or so to get workers comp., but I want to expand my business. To do that, I need a helper. Is anyone familiar with Florida law regarding employees for an LCO business? I heard somewhere an LCO doesn't need comp. for the 1st 2 employees.

    Would I be able to have an employee or 2 without having the comp. insurance?
    Would I be open to some kind of liability without it?
    Can I hire someone as an "Independant Contractor" and let them pay their own taxes?
    Is this arrangement advisable to someone in my position?
    If not here, where can I get more advice on this subject?

    Thanks in advance,

    Noel
     
  2. Fantasy Lawns

    Fantasy Lawns LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,913

    http://www.workerscompensation.com/florida/htdocs/index.php3?SCREEN=department&sid=&department=22

    Good Info Site

    You do not need WC in FL with less than 3 employees

    Does not mean that some or hopefully most commercial bids require WC for all contractors

    As an officer of my S corp I am "exempt"

    The 9102 Park NOC code is set by the state .....it's a standard .... with reductions in the rate ....given on past record .... experience mod fator (takes bout 5 years with out an "event") .... drug testing .... training programs

    In FL the WC cost is about $82 dollars on every $1000 of payroll (3 years ago it was almost $130)

    I use Professional Insurance Underwriters out of Orlando
     
  3. Cut-Rite2

    Cut-Rite2 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 74

    Thanks for the info, Fantasy Lawns. I am registered in Florida as an LLC. I read most of the statutes from the above website, and it was a little confusing at best, but I did understand that if you had less than 4 employees, you could elect to be exempt from workers comp., but that electing an exemption would not relieve you from financial responsibility in the event of an accident where the employee was hurt or killed, even if the employee was negligent and caused his/her own injury. Am I correct in that interpretation?

    Also, I didn't get what part of your answer was referring to: "The 9102 Park NOC code is set by the state .....it's a standard .... with reductions in the rate ....given on past record .... experience mod fator (takes bout 5 years with out an "event") .... drug testing .... training programs"

    How can I avoid the huge cost of W.C.? Would hiring "TEMPS" from an agency be advisable? I know hourly it would cost a little more, but they pay the Comp., and I wouldn't need to have them in the winter when business is slow, and I probably wouldn't need to guarantee 40 hours of work per week.
     
  4. The Ripper

    The Ripper LawnSite Member
    Posts: 132

    Out sourcing your labo is not a good idea. You will have irregular quality in performance, you will spend too much time training, and will have no loyalty. You can do way more than 25 - 30 lawns on your own. Just work smarter and get the right equipment. Then when you are actually big enough to need employees you can either hire some local college kids for the summer, or maybe get an h2b worker or two. You have not been in business long enough to know everything that you should yet. You should grow gradually through hard work. Do not expand too fast. The area you are in is expanding like crazy. Spend your money on advertising over and over again and the work will come your way.

    As for W/C if you start hiring employees and want to get commercial accounts or government work you have to have it. The will not accept a waiver. A company of your size does not need this insurance yet. It will kill your overhead.
     
  5. Fantasy Lawns

    Fantasy Lawns LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,913

    I'd have to agree with not needing WC at this point ..... not to say an injury does not cost $$

    I can say that fore me ..... avg $85-100K of yearly pay roll or an average of $7-10K fore WC .... I've had 1 claim in 1999 fore just over $1k claim ..... I almost wish I had that $7-10K to just stick in some account which I control .

    On the other side ... if I did have a sizable claim +$15k .... I'd be hurting ..... fore me WC is just another necessary expense .... which is wrapped into my cost ..... which flows back to the customer in my pricing or bidding process

    My reference to the Park Code is .... that is the Code # that FL uses .... they have a national organization which sets the codes ... the danger of the work .... related to surveys on past injury's ..... our code of work related to Lawn or Landscaping is Code 9102

    This code is standard .... you really can NOT "shop" WC .... the insurance industry as a whole is held to what the state say's they can charge .... the only thing that entitles one to a "discount" ....is if they have an active training program .... random drug test & experience ..... and the officer exempt .. which I have .... if not I'd be paying an extra 6-9% of my OWN salary in WC .... reality is that .... exempt is just that .... I don't work directly inthe field anymore ... if I was on a job n got hurt ....I'd be SOL .... as my personal medical insurance & WC would not cover me .... I am exempt
     
  6. vntgrcr

    vntgrcr LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 282

    Fantasy,
    "if I was on a job n got hurt ....I'd be SOL .... as my personal medical insurance & WC would not cover me .... I am exempt" Are you saying that your personal insurance woudln't cover you? I was under the assumption that if I was hurt at work(work for myself/excavation) that my Blue Cross would be fine. Let me know, maybe I am being naive and need to look into this. Thanks
     
  7. Cut-Rite2

    Cut-Rite2 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 74

    I realize 25-30 accounts doesn't seem like much, but I am anticipating at least doubling to tripling my business next year. There are new subdivisions going up near me like crazy, and my current marketing seems to be working well in my area. The reason I wanted to think about hiring an employee is because I have back problems and I am most comfortable with the mowing on my Hustler Mini-Z, but when it comes to the string trimming and edging, being on my feet a lot wears my back out....so I can do about 5-6 lawns a day by myself. If it were not for this problem, I could do a lot more lawns, as you say. I can handle about 15 more lawns a week, but after that, it's going to be a problem. I need to figure out a way to get help without the burden of WC. I'm open to all legal suggestions. Since summer in my area runs from early may to late October for the growing seaon, I'm not sure college students would be able to do it unless they were part-time, and what about WC for them?
    I appreciate all the input so far.
     
  8. ProMo

    ProMo LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,468

    You can look into employe leasing they take care of payroll and supply wc for a percentage of the payroll.
     
  9. Cut-Rite2

    Cut-Rite2 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 74

    Thanks, Promo....I was thinking of something like that, at least to start with. Is employee leasing the same thing as a Temp agency? If not, do you happen to know what type of, or the name of companies that do that?

    Thanks.
     
  10. Cut-Rite2

    Cut-Rite2 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 74

    I did a quick Google search of the web and found some information on employee leasing. Thanks for the suggestion.
     

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