Here's a few extra tips for starting an installed sales business using your existing deck builder customers as your outsourced workforce:
Remember that licensing laws for builders vary by state. In Minnesota, for instance, my lumberyard could sell a deck project without being licensed as a contractor, but we would have to have a licensed contractor perform the installation and be the contractor of record.
If you go this route, you also have to observe a number of different rules and regulations to make sure that you don't violate that distinction between employees and contractors.
For instance, with an employee, I can say you have to be at work on this deck by 8 a.m., and I expect you to work Monday through Friday. You can't do that with a contractor. If I were using subcontractors, the best I could do is say this is the end result I want. You have to determine the schedule and the best way to get there.
Do yourself a favor and consult with a good employment law attorney to help you draft a contract that keeps you from violating any of the laws regarding an independent contractor. And also be sure to consult with a good construction insurance specialist to make sure that you're covered from that standpoint, and to understand what insurance you need to require your deck builder customers carry.
- Bob "The Deck Guy" Heidenreich