You’d like to go into business for yourself but have no capital to in pest. . and you- don 7 want to be tied down by a full-time enterprise, since you need one or two weeks off every month.
If your thoughts have been running along the above lines, you might consider becoming a self-employed temporary worker.
A little over a year ago I started a job as typist for a temporary help agency. I liked the freedom of more or less coming and going as I pleased hut found it hard to get ahead on the low wages my employer paid.
Then, while I was toying with the idea of taking a full-time job, a friend mentioned that a temporary who had once worked in her office now contacted companies on her own. I had seen copies of agency bills and realized that by pocketing the service’s fee as well as my own I could make more as a substitute than as a regular employee. So, that afternoon I made my first phone calls. . . and the next day I was earning $5.00 an hour instead of the $100 I had received from the temporary employment bureau.
People with clerical skills who live in or near big cities are in the best position to get temporary jobs. However, almost anyone living anywhere can find work. All businesses—stores, farms, small manufacturing plants—have busy periods and times when the regular staff is away. More and more, employers are turning to stand-in workers to fill these needs.
How do you get your own temporary employment business started? If you’ve had special experience as a legal secretary or medical technologist, look under “Attorneys” or “Hospitals” in the Yellow Pages of the phone book to find your list of potential clients. If you have no specialty, turn to “Travel Agencies”, ‘1-lardware Stores”, “Feed Dealers”, or any field that interests you and start calling.
The responses you get will vary. Some companies never use temporary workers, and a few big ones have exclusive contracts with agencies. But most office managers will be interested in the idea of a self-employed person and will ask you to send them a résumé.
If a company sounds like a good prospect, it’s a good idea to offer to go in for an interview. Most people will take your word that you can type 60 wpm or have driven a forklift, but they’re often a little reluctant to hire a total stranger over the telephone. Don’t be surprised, however, if—after a five-minute meeting with an office manager—he or she asks if you can start work immediately.
In densely populated areas you can pick and choose, selecting jobs which pay particularly well or offer a chance to learn something. If the closest town is a settlement of 754 people, on the other hand, your approach will be different. You might want to make some business cards and visit every place of possible employment in the region. Try to arrive at a slack time of day when the person in charge will have time to talk with you.
Keep records of all your contacts with organizations. Operating in the city as I do, I’ve found that a simple way to do this is to cross off in the phone book the names of companies that don’t seem interested and to prepare index cards on places that look promising. A typical entry from my file reads:
XYZ Designers, 851-9000. Personnel Director. Jane Doe. Phoned June 15, 2011, went in for interview June 16 resume submitted. No openings now, but Three secretaries going on vacation in August. Call back last week in July.
After you finish a job, write down any information you want to remember. For example, you could add to the above card:
Worked as secretary for Bob Green August 1 to August 15. Pay, $5.50 an hour. John Blue’s secretary leaves for a month starting October 10.
To decide what to charge for your work, phone temporary agencies in your town and ask about their rates for a person with your skills. You can then set your fee 504 lower. Be wilting to negotiate – . – when you first start out you may have to accept less than you would like in order to get jobs. Later, after you’ve worked for a company a few times, you’ll be in a position to raise your charges substantially. Most organizations will pay a premium rate for a worker they know to be reliable, efficient, and familiar with their business procedure.
If you want short-term jobs, contact small companies… but if you prefer working for months at a time in one outfit, call only large organizations (where as soon as one job ends another will probably open up). If you’re not familiar with the businesses in a city, by the way, you can learn a lot about them from their phone numbers. Large companies usually have easily remembered numbers like 863-1200, while small ones have irregular numbers such as 863-9247. Yellow Pages ads also can give you a clue to a firm’s size.
There’s a certain amount of bookkeeping associated with having any business of your own, and this one is no exception. Companies do not put temporary workers on their pay rolls. . – they will expect you to bill them for your services, as agencies do. This is a simple matter: On a sheet of white paper type your name, your address, the date, the company’s name and address, the hours worked, your rate of pay, and the total amount due. Some companies will ask for weekly bills, while others will give you a check the day you leave.
As your own boss, you are also responsible for making your own income tax and social security payments. If you expect to earn more than $500 a year from your temporary help business, ask the local IRS office for Form 1040-ES, “Declaration of Estimated Tax for individuals”. This is essentially an income tax withholding method for self-employed people and must be filed quarterly. The federal government doesn’t expect you to be very exact in your calculations on these preliminary forms, but you’ll be charged 6% interest if you underpay by more than 20%. Schedule SE, “Computation of Social Security Self-Employment Tax”, must be filed with your yearly return, and state income taxes may apply to your business too.
On the bright side, business expenses such as upkeep of your office at home, stationery and mailing costs, and part of the telephone bill may be deductible from your taxable income. Consult, if you like, an accountant Or IRS office for specific information on your particular case.
After you’ve been working for a while and have a number of satisfied customers, companies will begin to contact you. Your friends will probably be calling you too, asking if you have any extra jobs to hand on to them. At this point you’ll be in a position to do one of two things: You can start your own temporary agency, charging commissions on work you find for other people – . – or, if friends with similar skills are interested in working with you, you can form a cooperative.
Temporary employment is easy to handle on a cooperative basis because you’ll often be offered two jobs at the same time, and you’re sure to hear of extra positions in the larger companies at which you work. As a member of a collective you can give any of these jobs you don’t want to your friends, and they can return the favor, If you want to get really organized, you can share the costs of an answering service to keep track of calls from firms, or you can send out a mailing advertising your services. A smoothly running co-op will provide a pool of jobs you can dip into as you need money. And, if your group is large enough, you can arrange benefits for yourselves. . . for example, by applying for a low group rate on health insurance.
The temporary employment business is very adaptable. You might start out working steadily in the city to save enough money to buy land. Then, after moving to the country, you could supplement your income by taking over as manager of the local general store whenever the owner’s gout started acting up. However you decide to run things, being a self-employed temporary is a satisfying job that offers good pay, the liberty of taking off when you want, and the satisfaction of being your own boss.